The Book Fair is coming, which is “more than a book fair”

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Preparations are already underway, in the Crystal Palace gardens, to host the 2022 edition of the Porto Book Fair. From August 26 to September 11, literature will reign, combined with a cultural program that includes more than 100 activities. Ana Luísa Amaral is the honoured author of this edition.

On Thursday morning, at a press conference that served to present the general features of the program of the Porto Book Fair 2022, the Mayor of Porto, Rui Moreira, and the artistic director of the City Museum, Nuno Faria, joined the honoured author of this edition, Ana Luísa Amaral, to start lifting the veil on what is coming.

In the edition in which the motto goes through “Imagining and Acting”, poetry is highlighted at the Porto Book Fair 2022. “The Book Fair is a literary festival, I would even say a cultural festival. Poetry is the art of sharing, a promise of the future, and we dedicate this edition of the Book Fair to poetry as a transforming force”, said Nuno Faria.

"Ana Luísa Amaral has deserved the wide critical acclaim", added the coordinator of the Book Fair program, highlighting the award to the author, in 2021, of the Reina Sofía Prize for Ibero-American Poetry. “On the first weekend of 27 and 28 August, we will pay tribute to Ana Luísa Amaral, with the opening of the tribute linden tree at 3 pm on the 27th,” he added.

Confessing a "huge pleasure in honouring my dear friend Ana Luísa Amaral", the mayor of Porto, Rui Moreira, recalled that the municipality has already honoured the author with the medal of the city, in 2016. “Now it will be connected to one of the lindens in the Crystal Palace gardens. It is the way for the city to honour her forever", he congratulated.

"We resisted two years of the pandemic. This will be a return to our normality, I hope that people can join", said Rui Moreira, stressing that this edition will take place without any restriction of capacity: "It is an opportunity for booksellers and bookstores to promote what they are producing. Editing books is an act of heroism. I hope people come.”

In a short speech, attended by members of the council team, Ana Luísa Amaral admitted she was “honoured by this invitation and happy with this distinction”. “I was born in Lisbon, I grew up in Sintra, I came to the north and at first I hated it. But Porto, right now, is my city. It is the city that welcomed me, a wonderful city”, she pointed out.

Even before finishing the reading of a poem, Ana Luísa Amaral did not fail to confess to being “very sorry” that Rui Moreira is doing his last term as mayor of Porto. "From the point of view of what interests me the most, culture, our president has done a lot. I'm not saying this just because this invitation just happened, it has nothing to do with that. It has to do with the Book Fair, for example. Everyone remembers when the Book Fair was at the Boavista roundabout, all dispersed, in a disorganized way”, she recalled.

“An affirmation of the will of the city”

At the end of the session, in statements to journalists, the mayor of Porto considered that the Porto Book Fair "is no longer an insistence". “From the moment the first fair went well – and there were many people anxious for the possibility of not having adhesion, either from booksellers and bookkeepers, or from the public – from then on it was no longer insistence, from then on it was a statement, an affirmation of the city's desire to have a book fair that was more than a book fair. That was a very important moment for the culture of Porto, and it's not just in the field of languages. We wanted to do more than a literary festival, and not just a fair”, he explained.

“We resort to our people. Today the culture of the City Hall has a set of human resources that allows us to internalize many of these activities. It is a very important aspect", said the mayor, revealing that the organization of the event translates into a municipal investment of 400 thousand euros.

Ana Luísa Amaral, honoured author of this edition – will integrate a list that includes Vasco Graça Moura (2014), Agustina Bessa Luís (2015), Mário Cláudio (2016), Sophia de Mello Breyner Andersen (2017), José Mário Branco (2018), Eduardo Lourenço (2019), Leonor de Almeida and Maria de Sousa (2020) and Júlio Dinis (2021) – will be the object and protagonist of two lecturers in the first weekend of the Book Fair 2022, which Nuno Faria considered “unmissable”.

On Saturday, August 27, Maria Irene Ramalho will take charge of the lecture “Ana Luísa Amaral, Poetry and the World”. The next day, Ana Luísa Amaral herself will teach a lesson about Emily Dickinson. “It's the most extraordinary poet for me, I've translated it, and here at the Book Fair will come Emily Dickinson's herbarium, translated by me. Dickinson was for love, for passion. If things are not done out of passion, it is not worth doing things", she confessed.

“The Book Fair has become a very important reference in Portugal. Somehow it spread across the country and internationalized. I'm not sure why Lisbon, kind of, chose the same date for the book fair. This is a small aside. I was invited to be at the Lisbon Book Fair just as I am here doing a lecture. I said I can't go, of course”, concluded Ana Luísa Amaral.

From August 26 to September 11, in the Crystal Palace gardens, visitors will have 126 stands at their disposal, which will be divided by the 84 entities registered in this edition. The sale of books is combined with a vast cultural program that, this year, has some novelties, such as the Brazilian Poetry Cycle, which symbolically marks the celebration of the bicentenary of Brazil's independence. The Cultural program ensures 22 Concerts, 11 Conversations, 9 Lectures, 4 Cinema Sessions, 5 Blown Word Sessions and 46 Children's Activities, activities that branch out through the Crystal Palace Gardens, Almeida Garrett Municipal Library, Casa do Roseiral and Extensão do Romantismo.