The inaugural Santiago Book Fair was held in 1981. Unlike many other book fairs organized by book publisher associations, the book fair in Santiago was initiated by then mayor Carlos Bombal. Originally, the Santiago Book Fair was a national event that attracted only Chilean authors and publishers. In 1990, it expanded to include foreign authors and publishers and was renamed to the Santiago International Book Fair.
While some book fairs focus on print editions, the Santiago International book fair has had a section dedicated to electronic books since 2011. Today, the fair is a large-scale event that attracts over 300,000 visitors, 800 exhibitors and 400 writers every year.
Each year, the Chilean Chamber for Books offers a rich and diverse program that features about 500 events and activities for avid book readers. It includes meet and greets, Q&A sessions and book signings with popular authors, literary discussions and lectures, book and art exhibitions, seminars, workshops, and more. There are special children’s programs for the youngest readers who’ve just started to discover the wonderful world of books.
Since 1997, each fair has featured a special guest. Originally, different countries or regions were invited as honored guests, with their literature featured in special exhibitions. The previous guests of the Santiago International Book Fair include Ecuador, Cuba, Canada, Peru, France, Uruguay, Europe, Mexico, Spain, Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Argentina, Bolivia, Ecuador, and the Nordic countries (Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland). In 2013 and 2014 the fair invited authors as special guests.
The Santiago International Book Fair is one of the largest and most popular cultural events in Chile that attracts hundreds of thousands of avid book readers from all over the country and from abroad. The fair is held at the Estacion Mapocho Cultural Center in late spring (which corresponds to late autumn in the Northern Hemisphere) and lasts two weeks.
Photo by Sio El Ciudadano