Colombia heads to Seoul as Guest Nation at Book Fair

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Ambassador Choo Jong-youn and Culture Minister Angélica Mayolo.

A week after the Bogotá International Book Fair (FILBo) launched edition 34 with Korea as Guest Nation of Honor, audiences are poring over Korean books and illustrated novels inside the Republic’s modernist pavilion.

With record numbers of visitors, and one of many events to mark sixty years of diplomatic relations between the two countries, on Tuesday, it was Korea that rolled out the red carpet for Colombia as Guest Nation at the upcoming Seoul International Book Fair (SIBF). In what was described by the Minister of Culture, Angélica Mayolo, as a “flowering display of creativity, diversity and fraternity,” the Colombian Pavilion at Seoul will be decked with roses, carnations and alstroemerias, courtesy of the country’s flower growers association AsoColFlores.

Colombia will be represented in Seoul from June 1 to 5 with a cast of acclaimed writers, among them William Ospina, Juan Gabriel Vásquez, Santiago Gamboa, Margarita García, Laura Ortíz, Miguel Rocha, Oscar Pantoja, Pilar Quintana, Andrés Felipe Solano; as well as poets Fredy Chicangana, Catalina González, and Rómulo Bustos.

The delegation also includes the director of the Gabo Foundation, Jaime Abello; director of the Network of Public Libraries of Banco de la República, Ana Roda; Alejandro Bernal of Caracol Films who will preside over the Asian premiere of Forgotten We’ll Be, based on the childhood memoires of author Hector Abad Faciolince. Representatives from publishing companies will also participate to strengthen editorial ties.

Korean audiences at the fair will also be treated to a dozen literary works – including two poetry anthologies – recently translated from Spanish to Korean. Among the first-ever translated works into Korean is Fernando Vallejo’s La Virgen de los sicarios; Juan Gabriel Vásquez’s La forma de la ruinas; Gabriel García Márquez’s De viaje por Europa del Este and José Eustasio Rivera’s La Vorágine, among others. The poetry anthologies include works by León de Greiff, Maruja Vieira, María Mercedes Carranza, Aurelio Arturo, Mario Rivero, to name a few.

Book lovers will also find a large selection of works already in Korean by Nobel Laureate Gabriel García Márquez, as well as Alvaro Mutis, Jorge Isaacs, Andrés Felipe Solano, Santiago Gamboa, and Juan Gabriel Vásquez.  “I have no doubt, that as much as Colombians were able to enjoy our contribution to FILBo, Colombia will be warmly received in Seoul, and the cultural and educational exchanges can only grow and prosper,” remarked Korea’s Ambassador to Colombia Choo Jong-youn.