Mexico City, 23rd June 2015
The United Kingdom is Guest of Honour at the Guadalajara International Book Fair (FIL). As part of the 2015 Mexico/UK Dual Year, an extensive programme of activities has been prepared to bring to the Mexican public a selection of the diverse cultural, artistic, educational and commercial output of the territories that together make up the United Kingdom: Northern Ireland, Wales, Scotland, and the different regions of England.
“FIL 2015 represents a unique opportunity to strengthen and revitalize the already close relationship between both countries, stimulating creativity, innovation, cultural and educative exchange, commerce, and investment, through an unprecedented cultural platform. This will allow for dialogue, cooperation and mutual development, with the goal of constructing a legacy that will last far beyond 2015,” said Duncan Taylor, HM Ambassador to Mexico.
From the 28th of November to the 6th of December 2015, the city of Guadalajara will play host to a British delegation of more than 150 writers, academics, artists and representatives of publishing houses, who will share with Mexico the cultural heritage and diversity of the United Kingdom.
FIL is Latin American publishing’s most important platform for networking and the exchange of ideas. This event is therefore generating great interest among the public, who will be able to experience the diversity and vitality of the United Kingdom, a key player in twenty-first century culture, education, tourism, and business.
‘Todos hablamos cultura’ – ‘We all speak culture’ – this is the theme of the United Kingdom’s participation at FIL, and it will be honoured by the UK delegation’s ambitious and diverse program. The goal is to showcase new voices as much as to celebrate established figures in the UK literary, academic and artistic worlds.
Irvine Welsh, author of Trainspotting; Philippa Gregory, author of such successes as The Other Boleyn Girl and The White Queen; and Sir Andrew Motion, Poet Laureate from 1999-2009, will all be present at FIL. Alongside them will be Claire McGowan, the detective novelist; the graphic novelist Karrie Fransman; and the poets Helen Mort and Inua Ellams, presented for the first time to Mexican readers. Journalists, biographers and critics are a fundamental part of the literary programme: Iain Sinclair, whose work on psycho-geography makes us question our relationship with place and space; Alexandra Heminsley, who reminds us about the importance of fitness; Jon Ronson, author of The Psychopath Test and Owen Jones, Chavs: The Demonization of the Working Class, make us reflect on themes such as insanity and stereotypes. The illustrators and authors Sally Gardner and Ed Vere, together with Gareth P. Jones, and the much-loved Anne Fine (The Diary of a Killer Cat, Crummy Mummy and Me, Billy’s New Frock, The Return of the Killer Cat) and Kevin Brooks (Lucas, Candy, iBoy, The Road of the Dead, The Bunker Diary) will make children’s imagination soar through workshops and book readings.
A distinguished delegation drawn from all the regions of the United Kingdom will head the FIL academic program, focusing particularly on History, Social Sciences and Educational Research. The participation of Professor Alan Knight and Professor Paul Garner, who have produced highly-respected studies on the history of Mexico, has been confirmed; as has that of Professor Cathy Gormley-Heenan and Professor John Dunn.
The challenges and opportunities of English language teaching will also be addressed during FIL: the British Council will present an insightful and provocative study on the importance of the English language for Mexico. At the same time, activities will take place to strengthen academic exchange and mobility between universities in both countries, and the wide range of educational opportunities that the United Kingdom holds for Mexican students will be laid out in the UK pavilion. The relationships established during this period will help to create links in research and innovation to maximise the impact of the Newton Fund in México.
The United Kingdom’s presence at the FIL will feature a wide-ranging programme of visual arts, film, music, and dance, all within a carefully thought-out curatorial concept that seeks to highlight the cosmopolitan, cutting edge and multicultural character of modern day British culture. The goal is to establish a dialogue between the traditional and the contemporary, and to emphasise new forms of expression orientated towards social inclusion and the promotion of diversity, gender equality and tolerance.
For nine consecutive nights the stage of Foro FIL will welcome the most cutting-edge and electrifying expressions of contemporary British music and dance. Acts performing will include indie rock group Spector; the dance company of world-famous choreographer Wayne McGregor; the colourful and lively Jazz Jamaica; and the Graeae Theatre group, recognised globally as pioneers of accessibility in world-class musical theatre through their production of works involving disabled performers.
In terms of visual arts, the University of Guadalajara’s Museum of Arts (MUSA) will show a collection of prints by David Hockney, one of the UK’s most important living artists. Meanwhile, the Cabañas Cultural Institute will host an exhibition of the varied works of David Shrigley, the conceptual artist who has established himself as one of the leading figures in contemporary British art. Both exhibitions will remain open until 28th February, 2016.
The University of Guadalajara’s Cineforo will show a spellbinding selection of recent independent British cinema, as well as two classics from the age of silent film, recently restored by the British Film Institute: The Lodger by Alfred Hitchcock and The Epic of Everest by Simon Fisher Turner.
Children will find plenty of surprises in the FIL Niños programme, which will feature the participation of four-time Oscar-winning British studio Aardman Animations, in the form of Shaun the Sheep (star of the next Aardman movie) and his little cousin Timmy.
The Guest of Honour is responsible for creating the pavilion that will host its main activities. Faithful to the UK’s creative, innovative essence, the pavilion will be a space of convergence and dynamism, bringing people to discover the UK. The work of architectural firm Carmody Groarke, winners of the Architectural Review Emerging Architecture Award, the design of the pavilion is unlike anything previously seen or imagined at the FIL. Its two levels will create the ideal space for discovering the diverse aspects of British culture.
During its 800th anniversary year, a facsimile copy of the Magna Carta will be on display at the FIL. This is a document of symbolic importance for democracy, and has deep roots in the United Kingdom. It is one of the foundational texts of international law, and one of the pillars of modern democracies.
The professional programme is focused mainly on showcasing the UK publishing industry. As at this moment, 18 British publishing houses are expected, and it is probable that this number will increase. The publishers represent various sectors, among them children’s books, English-language teaching and trade. Participants will have a range of activities including meetings and seminars to promote their work and to identify potential areas of collaboration with Mexican publishers. Seminars to be presented will include: ‘UK English-language teaching’, ‘UK Children’s Publishing’ and ‘Campaigns to Promote Literacy in the UK’.
This major cultural delegation was made possible thanks to the work of the British Council, in collaboration with the organizers of the Guadalajara International Book Fair, the University of Guadalajara, The Publishers Association, the British Embassy, UK Trade and Investment in Mexico and the GREAT Challenge Fund.
The role of the United Kingdom as Guest of Honour at the FIL follows on from Mexico’s success as Guest of Honour at April’s London Book Fair.
With the participation of the United Kingdom in the FIL, and the array of activities developed within the framework of the Mexico/UK Dual Year, both nations will see their bonds of friendship and cooperation strengthened. New short- and long-term opportunities will be created, confirming the vitality and dynamism of our historic links.
For more information about the Guadalajara International Book Fair 2015, visit: www.fil.com.mx
For more information about the Mexico/UK Dual Year, visit: www.ukmexico.mx
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