Cultural Cuba holidays with Havana's 20th International Book Fair 2011
The 20th Cuba International Book Fair provided plenty of cultural activities for travellers enjoying cultural Cuba holidays last week as Havana came alive with literature, music, and thousands of local Cubans who attended the event.
Thousands of tourists on Cuba holidays and local Cuban residents attended the first stage of the 20th International Book Fair in Havana last week which concluded on Sunday 20th February.
The event was attended by over 60 national Cuban exhibitors including publishers and regional cultural centres who had strong ties with or are run by the government.
Approximately 30 foreign publishers attended the literary event including companies financed by nations including Venezuela, Ecuador and Bolivia who were honoured at this year’s event.
At the closing ceremony at San Carlos de la Cabaña fortress on Sunday, President of the Cuban Book Institute, Suleica Romay, said that over 700,000 copies of books had been sold during the event.
The 11-day festival took place across various venues throughout the city including the ALBA Centre, the Casa de las Americas, Pavilion Cuba, the San Carlos de la Cabana colonial fortress, the Centre for (Jose) Marti Studies, the Jose Marti Cultural Society, the Jose Marti Memorial and the National Library.
This year’s theme was dedicated to the cultures of the ALBA-member countries, enabling local residents and travellers on holidays in Cuba to gain an insight into the people of Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador and Nicaragua.
Unlike the more elitist events which take place across America and Europe, the International Book Fair in Havana is a simpler event which offers local Cubans and those enjoying Cuba holidays the chance to experience other cultures through books and their authors.
Organiser of the annual event, Edel Morales, explained: "This fair is oriented toward the reader ... as a chance to acquire books and have a dialogue with the authors, both Cubans and foreigners.
"It is a notable difference to others in the world where people rarely attend. Here it is the people who make the fair."
The venues offered a range of book genres from social sciences, art, literature and biographies, to Cuba travel and guide books about foreign destinations.
Nadira Reyes, a 30-year-old teacher who was searching for colourful books for her young son said: "I come every year. It is good to walk through and get books that are not always available."
Yadriana Torres was looking for books on beauty and massage to aid her studies.
"The problem is that they are expensive, because the most interesting in my field are sold in foreign currency," she said. One book that she was after cost 25 convertible pesos ($27) - more than the average monthly salary for Cubans.
Holidaymakers who missed the Havana event will be able to catch up with the book festival during their holidays to Cuba as it begins a two-week tour of the country's provinces starting this week in Pinar del Rio, Isle of Youth, Matanzas and Sancti Spiritus.
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