Arts & Entertainment

Miami Book Fair kicks off with music, autobiography from Juanes

Miami, Nov 13 (EFE).- The 39th edition of the Miami Book Fair, the most important such event in Spanish in the United States, kicks off on Sunday with a combination of literature and music from Colombian singer Juanes, who is presenting a new book about his life, and with Cuban poet Carlos Pintado, who will read some of his haiku poems accompanied by singer-songwriter Francisco Cespedes.

Juanes will discuss his autobiographical book “Juanes,” published in September by the Aguilar publishing house to coincide with his 50th birthday, with journalist and writer Diego Londoño on Sunday afternoon.

The book, according to the book fair program, gives insight into the singer’s career but also into his understanding of life, love and music, along with his views on family.

Meanwhile, Pintado will inaugurate the Ibero-American Authors Program with “El arbol rojo” (by Ediciones Furtivas), a collection of 200 haiku poems in the Japanese style that he will present with his countryman Cespedes “in a poetic-musical dialogue.”

“They are capsules, they’re like pinpricks, a drop of honey,” Pintado told EFE about his haikus, a poetic style that, in his judgment, “has not been worked with with much luck” over the course of time.

He said that a haiku – a brief three-line poem of 17 syllables – “is just the tip of the iceberg; the entire body of the haiku is below the water.”

The event, which will run until Nov. 20, includes a tribute to Portuguese writer Jose Saramago (1922-2010), who won the 1988 Nobel Literature Prize, to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the birth of the author of such important works as “Memorial do convento” (published in English as “Baltasar and Blimunda”), “Todos os nomes” (All the Names) and “O homem duplicado” (The Double).

Some of the invited guests at the fair include Pilar del Rio, who was Saramago’s wife and the translator for a good portion of his work, Spanish publisher Pilar Reyes and Colombian writer Laura Restrepo.

This year, the fair has scheduled 10 virtual presentations with well-known authors such as Nicaragua’s Sergio Ramirez (“Tongolele no sabia bailar”), a dark novel about Nicaragua and the end of the revolutionary dream.

“We’re continuing to combine the virtual (with the book fair) because you have to squeeze out the juice. That makes the fair more international,” Mariela Gal, the director of the Ibero-American program, told EFE.

The featured events include recorded presentations “like a fake live broadcast, like a chat over coffee” for those who can access the online platform of the fair, which is being organized by Miami Dade College.

Among the virtual presentations, Gal emphasized the “For a Prosperous Latin America” session – being headed by Colombian diplomat and journalist Luis Alberto Moreno, the former head of the Inter-American Development Bank, and Venezuelan writer and columnist Moises Naim – which will occur on Monday.

Moreno will present his book “Vamos!” (Let’s Go!), in which he proposes seven ideas for achieving a prosperous and fair Latin America, according to the fair’s schedule, while Naim will present “The Revenge of the Powerful: How Autocrats Are Reinventing Politics in the 21st Century.”

Other “new things” included in this year’s fair include, for the first time, the well-known literary works of Carmen Mola, and of Spanish writers Antonio Mercero, Jorge Diaz and Agustin Martinez.

In a conversation with Maria Fasce, the literary director for Alfaguara, the three authors will speak about her novel “La novia gitana” and, in general, about the series staring inspector Elena Blanco.

This year’s fair will feature “new things,” according to Gal.

“When we say ‘new things’ I’m referring to new books or trends,” she said, going on to mention a panel discussion being offered by the Catedra Mario Vargas Llosa, which is also a first for the fair.

That event will be a discussion forum for media and cultural agents on the “drift in freedom of speech today.”

Participating in the panel discussion will be Spanish journalist Ines Martin Rodrigo; Argentine politician, cultural promoter and journalist Dario Loperfido; Peruvian journalist and storyteller Raul Tola; and Catedra Vargas Llosa director Ramiro Villapadierna.

This event, Gal said, will be broadcast live “for everyone” via the Infobar digital platform “so that certain things can be discussed and put on the table,” she said.

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