On the third and final day of the LIBER Book Fair in Madrid, during which Poland acted as Guest of Honour, four meetings were held. These included discussions on bookstart programmes as important measures to promote reading, as well as the growing popularity of Polish children's books.
According to the organisers, attendance at the LIBER International Book Fair was staggering this year, with 9,235 visitors from more than fifty countries, an increase of 10% compared to 2021 (which was the last time the event was held in Madrid). The number is particularly impressive when one remembers that LIBER is an event aimed not at readers, but exclusively at professionals working in the publishing industry. The next edition of the LIBER Fair will take place in Barcelona in the first week of October 2024.
The Book Institute, in cooperation with the Polish Institute in Madrid, organised a stand and presentation of Poland as this year's Guest of Honour at the LIBER International Book Fair in Madrid. Over the three days of the fair, there were a number of meetings related to, for example, the development of children's literature, reading programmes, and new technologies in the book market. Thanks to the cooperation with the Polish Institute, there were also accompanying events, through which participants could also learn about the non-literary cultural offer of our country.
The programme for the third day of the Polish presentation included the following:
10:00 - Meeting entitled "E-reading in Spain and Poland. Similarities and differences"
Two experts who deal with e-book sales on a daily basis - Matías Chimirri from Libranda and Mariusz Sobczak from inkBOOK - talked about the e-book market in Poland and Spain.
11:00 - Meeting on bookstart programmes in Poland and Spain
Bookstart programmes to promote reading among the youngest children were discussed by Dariusz Jaworski, director of the Book Institute, and Ana Molina, coordinator of the Bookstart España programme run by the Mestiza Association.
12:00 - Meeting entitled "Polish children's literature: a growing global phenomenon".
José Díaz from the Spanish publishing house Thule Ediciones and Karolina Jaszecka, a translator and literary agent who specialises precisely in children's literature, talked about Polish literature for the youngest readers, which is of great and constantly growing interest all over the world.
19:00 - Presentation of the Spanish edition of the book Życie Chopina ("The Life and Death of Chopin") by Kazimierz Wierzyński
The presentation of the Spanish edition of Kazimierz Wierzyński's The Life and Death of Chopin, translated by Elżbieta Bortkiewicz, was attended by Javier Jiménez, publisher (Fórcola Editorial), Rafael Ortega, author of the epilogue to the Spanish edition, and Fernando Presa, who wrote the prologue to the book.
Polish stand at the LIBER International Book Fair
A Polish stand awaited visitors to the fair throughout the event, where they could meet representatives of the Polish publishing market - establish contacts and learn more about the offer. A stand with a total area of 120 m2 showcased 21 Polish exhibitors from the industry, including publishing houses, literary agencies, printing houses, cultural institutions, and other entities related to the Polish publishing market. Present in Madrid are: Adamada, ArtRage, BZGraf, the Centre for Contemporary Art "Znaki Czasu" in Toruń, Domirea, DTAgency, Grupa Wydawnicza Foksal, Fundacja Historia.pl, inkBOOK, the International Cultural Centre, Agencja KaBooks, Mamania / Grupa Wydawnicza Relacja, OZGraf, Papierowy Motyl, PKB GROT, Rosikon Press, Topo Sármata, Title, Wydawnictwo Kobiece, Wydawnictwo Literackie, and Wydawnictwo Poznańskie.
New Books from Poland catalogue
The LIBER International Book Fair in Madrid also unveiled the Spanish version of this year's “New Books from Poland” catalogue. The catalogue features 28 Polish books that were published within the last year. We were keen to have as much variety as possible in the titles we present, so the catalogue features novels, short story collections, non-fiction, and also comics. Among the authors whose works are presented in this year's catalogue are such names as Wiesław Myśliwski, Zyta Rudzka, Maciej Hen, Anna Goc, Rafał Kosik, Anna Piwkowska, and Andrzej Nowak. In view of the fact that Spanish publishers have also been interested in Polish literature for the youngest readers for a long time, a separate catalogue was also available at the Polish stand, which presents the most interesting achievements in the field of recent Polish children's books.
The main objective of Poland's presence as Guest of Honour at the LIBER Book Fair was to strengthen the presence of Polish literature in Spain. It was also an excellent opportunity to make new contacts in the Latin American market. It is worth noting that it is usually Latin American countries that are the guest of honour at LIBER, so the choice of Poland was a great recognition.
Participation as a Guest of Honour at LIBER is part of a strategy to strengthen the presence in foreign markets as part of a three-year cycle. Last year, the Book Institute took an active part in the Barcelona Fair, while further initiatives to consolidate the presence of Polish literature in Spain are planned for 2024.
The project was co-financed by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage.