Just you wait: Porto Book Fair 2020 kicks off on 28th August

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Filipa Brito

Porto Book Fair is back to the Gardens of Palácio de Cristal, from 28th August to 13th September. This year, the motto is "Alegria para o fim do mundo" ["Joy to the End of the World", free translation], transliterated from the work by Andreia C. Faria. 

The programming will focus mainly on the valorisation of the Portuguese language and poets, writers and artists, especially those working in Porto or who are based in the Invicta.

The Fair registered 68 applications of interest, which means that over 80 publishing entities, namely publishers, booksellers, distributors and used bookstores will participate in the fair, totalling 120 stands.

The venue will comply with all the preventive control measures under the ongoing pandemic scenario. Porto Book Fair ensures that all the mandatory preventive rules regarding the novel coronavirus prevention are in place, namely sanitation and social distancing measures. Entry and exit to Porto Book Fair will be monitored, up to a limit of 3.500 people simultaneously.

Porto Book Fair will also be an opportunity to examine what we have learned from this pandemic in the past months.

Another highlight of Porto Book Fair agenda is the enhancement of writings authored by women.

A vast team of the Municipal Company Ágora will help organize and develop the Book Fair's programme, jointly with invited curators Anabela Mota Ribeiro and José Eduardo Agualusa.

Also relevant is the participation of Maus Hábitos, which has designed a programme themed "Concertos de Bolso" ["Pocket Concerts", free translation]. This is one of the novelties of this year's edition, where sound will play an important role.

"Pocket Concerts" draft the picture of the city's musical scene, while supporting bands and musicians of different music genres and generations, who are vulnerable during this forced lockdown amid the Covid-19 pandemic, with cancelled shows and tours.

Porto Book Fair honours Leonor de Almeida and Maria de Sousa

Women's literature is the trade mark of this year's Porto Book Fair, whose motto is "Alegria para o fim do mundo" ["Joy to the end of the world", free translation], borrowed from the book by Andreia C. Faria.

This year, amid a pandemic, Porto Book Fair 7th edition readjusted and features several novelties; so, for the first time, the physical space extends to Casa do Roseiral, with concerts by the sunset, and with Super Bock Arena - Pavilhão Rosa Mota hosting a Cycle of Debates and a special session by Quintas de Leitura.

This edition is about literature written by women and thus the tribute is to poet Leonor de Almeida, who remains somewhat a mystery to the larger audience, and who will have her name inscribed in the Avenida das Tílias (aka Linden Avenue), and also the immunologist and poet, as well, Maria de Sousa, who recently passed away due to Covid-19.

Leonor de Almeida is the honoured poet of this 2020 edition and Mayor of Porto, Rui Moreira summed up the broad outline programme of Porto Book Fair during the official presentation of the event last 14th July at Casa do Roseiral, furthering that this is the opportunity to fairly "try and rediscover a poet that was somewhat left aside the Portuguese literary scene". Leonor de Almeida was born in Porto, in 1909, and authored four books of poems, released between 1947 and 1960, all sold out. The poet's work is present in the erotic and satirical anthology by Natália Correia.

Also righteous is the tribute to Maria de Sousa, who "besides being an extraordinary immunologist and scientist, also left a legacy in poetry", Rui Moreira enhanced on the same occasion.

You want a cultural and educational event. Porto knows how to do it! Just you wait.