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Entrance to Expo Guadalajara | © vladimix/Flickr
Entrance to Expo Guadalajara | © vladimix/Flickr
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A Brief Guide To The Feria Internacional del Libro de Guadalajara

Picture of Lauren Cocking
Northern England Writer
Updated: 18 November 2016
The Feria Internacional del Libro de Guadalajara, known alternatively as either the FIL or Guadalajara International Book Fair, is an enormous annual event that pulls together publishers and vendors from across the world in Mexico’s second biggest city. Lasting for more than a week and including film, visual arts and musical events in its program, it can be more than overwhelming for a newbie — here’s your brief guide to this year’s FIL Guadalajara.

The FIL is the Spanish-speaking world’s most important event of its kind, which brings together publishing houses, authors, translators and the general public for a nine-day period in late November and early December each year. This year, the book fair will run from November 26th to December 4th and host over 1,900 editorial houses from 44 countries. While exhibiting at the FIL, editorial houses promote their publications, sell some of their big-name titles and hopefully some of their lesser-known tomes, too. The sheer scale of the FIL is impressive and it’s not hard to see why it’s the world’s second biggest book fair, just pipped to the post by the Frankfurt equivalent. However, despite being smaller, Argentina’s Buenos Aires Book Fair attracts more visitors.

Inside the FIL | © vladimix/Flickr
Inside the FIL | © vladimix/Flickr

Each year the FIL is held at Expo Guadalajara and always features an invitee of honor (with the exception of the first eight years of the FIL). Last year made way for the British invasion in the form of the United Kingdom, whereas this year is honoring the entirety of Latin America in one fell swoop. Official literature for the event claim this is to mark the 30th anniversary of the FIL in the grandiose manner it deserves, and it’s hard to knock logic like that. The annual invitee of honor has the chance to promote their literature and culture in Guadalajara over the course of the book fair, not just through literature, but through art, theatre and music, too. This year, you can see film screenings at the Foro FIL of Neruda, Allende, mi abuelo Allende and the recently released Me Estás Matando, Susana. Alternatively, you can listen to a range of speeches on various topics at the Expo Guadalajara.

The FIL isn’t just about literature | © Ministerio de Cultura de la Nación Argentina
The FIL isn’t just about literature | © Ministerio de Cultura de la Nación Argentina

The FIL originally started out as the brainchild of the Universidad de Guadalajara and was and still is a trade fair, but one at which the general public is also welcome. This is why, alongside hundreds of stalls from big name publishers and smaller independent ventures, there are also prize giveaways and special talks given throughout each day of the book fair. While some are accessible to all, such as the nightly free concerts held outside the venue, others require the purchase of tickets. For a full rundown of this year’s events, you can check out the official FIL website.

FIL, 2011 | © vladimix/Flickr
FIL, 2011 | © vladimix/Flickr

For anyone interested in attending this year’s FIL, apart from highly recommending you take along enough money to buy all the books you’re inevitably going to want, we also remind you that access for the general public is all day November 26th and 27th, 5 p.m.- 9 p.m. on November 28th, 29th and 3oth, and 9 a.m. – 9 p.m. on December 1st, 3rd and 4th. For late night shoppers, on December 2nd you can attend from 9 a.m. – 11 p.m.

Centro de Exposiciones, Expo Guadalajara, Av. Mariano Otero 1499, Colonia Verde Valle, Guadalajara, Jalisco, México +52 33 3343 3000