FILBO 2018: more than just a book fair

FILBOWhen it comes to cultural events, no Colombian city offers a more eclectic, colorful range of concerts, festivals, and shows than Bogota. It is overflowing with the fusion of Colombian artistic expression and international influence, making it the ideal place to explore music, art, and, most importantly this past week: literature.

FILBO ColombiaFILBO (Feria Internacional del Libro de Bogotá, Bogotá’s International Book Fair) is wrapping up two weeks of its annual display of the best that Latino authors have to offer in 2018. The fair is hosted in Bogota’s largest conference center, Corferias, with 23 pavilions ranging in displays of academic texts, international stands, comics, children’s pop-up books, independent authors, graphic design, and more. The fair carries a unique theme each year, and 2018’s was a regional focus on Argentina. This meant that both Jorge Luis Borges and Julio Cortázar, Argentina’s most revered authors, were commonly heard names. The Argentine influence went beyond the books to a selection of food (choripan and alfajores galore) at the concession stands. The spacious seating areas set a social ambiance for groups of friends to enjoy food and drinks after scanning the endless offerings of books, magazines, and pamphlets, and varied panels of speakers.

FILBO BogotaThe presentations by national and international authors gave attendees a view into the creative processes behind works published in the last year. A poetry panel explored five Colombian poets’ latest publications, discussing topics from their personal evolution as writers to what they perceived as the greatest obstacles to poetry becoming an accessible art to the masses. In another pavilion, Japanese illustrator, Akihiro Nishino, explained his facilitation of the public’s ownership of art through his project inviting 40 illustrators to contribute to one piece without establishing copywriting rights. He raised $100,000 via a Crowdfunding page to pay the illustrators, thus making every aspect of its creation, from its financing to the production process, an entirely shared, communal experience. Through these fascinating presentations, attendees could touch a variety of topics connected to literature with poetry and illustration just being two examples.

The grand take away from FILBO 2018 is that FILBO is not just a book fair- it is an academic, social, cultural space perfectly built to inspire the exploration of literature as a layered art form and the slightly less complex joy of eating empanadas with friends in the concession area. From food to books to panels, Bogota’s International Book Fair is an excellent example of what this incredible city has in store for curious minds looking to learn.


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