Most of us aren’t aware that many Latin American countries host huge book festivals every year. In 2018, the Buenos Aires International Book Fair attracted 1.2 million visitors. Chile, Ecuador, Uruguay, Brazil, Cuba, Colombia, Panama, Guatemala, and Mexico all host similar events. Building on this rich history of literacy, the Providence Community Library, with the support of several community partners, is hosting the Feria del Libro y las Artes event on Saturday, November 9 in the Center at Moore Hall at Providence College.
Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza and RI Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea are honorary co-chairs of this bilingual event, and over 20 local and international authors will be present, but the festival offers much more than that. Besides books and authors, there will also be food trucks, visual art displays, children’s activities, an all-ages dance workshop, film presentations by the Providence Latin American Film Festival (PLAFF), and an acting workshop by ECAS Theater. Local children’s author Anika Denise will read from her book Planting Stories, followed by a puppet-making workshop and puppet show. PC professor Nuria Alonso Garcia, along with several of her students, will engage in intergenerational storytelling. Josefina Baez, a Dominican storyteller, performer, author, and educator will give a keynote address in the afternoon.
The day before Feria, thanks to partner organization Raising Readers in RI, Cuban author Carlos Hernandez will visit with students in Providence schools, and the day of, he will host a writing workshop for teens. Hernandez writes novels for middle-schoolers and believes that diverse characters bring readers closer together: “Readers are drawn to expanding their understanding of the human condition,” he says, “but they also crave the way that reading evokes connection, fellow feeling, and even love, across space and time, via our imaginations.”
And this is the goal of Feria del Libro y las Artes: To bring together our community for a day that celebrates literacy, the arts, and our cultural diversity.