Another Mexico

feria-del-libro1The Chronicle of Higher Education, 1/15/2009

A Mexican saying holds that Como Mexico no hay dos — There is only one Mexico. American media these days interpret that notion with a vengeance. Story after story depicts a country overrun by out-of-control drug wars and murder, where corrupt police officers trip over beheaded victims more often than they nab perpetrators.

And then, somewhere below the radar, is Feria Internacional del Libro de Guadalajara, the foremost book fair in the Spanish-speaking world. It drew an astonishing 600,000 visitors over nine days in late November and early December. Over the years, a fabulous parade of internationally acclaimed writers from inside and outside the Spanish-speaking world — Margaret Atwood, William Golding, Martin Amis, André Brink, Salman Rushdie, Toni Morrison — have come. FIL’s aim, according to Raúl Padilla López, its chairman, is “to broaden the horizons of the book in Spanish,” to “aid in its continuing to be modern society’s primary cultural and educational vehicle.”

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