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Presentation of the Book Fair poster, this Wednesday, at the city hall. Marilú Báez
Malaga city book fair returns to old favourite space to make room for more stalls
Culture

Malaga city book fair returns to old favourite space to make room for more stalls

Artist Patricia Paz has created the poster for the 53rd fair, which opens on 26 April with an opening speech by author Justo Navarro

Francisco Griñán

Friday, 19 April 2024, 13:41

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After a gradual decline due to a lack of sales and a cut in institutional support due to the economic crisis, in 2013 the Malaga book fair began a tour around the city in search of new attractive venues and with its sights set on winning back readers and sales.

Since then, it has been held in Palmeral de las Sorpresas, then in Plaza de la Merced and, finally, in Plaza de la Marina, which since 2021, has given a new lease of life to the event for booksellers and publishers, albeit with one obstacle: the inability to expand. This has now led to fair moving back to the Paseo del Parque, where it will be held from 26 April to 5 May, with 54 stalls compared to 40 last year.

Organisers, sponsors and collaborators at the presentation of the 53rd edition.
Organisers, sponsors and collaborators at the presentation of the 53rd edition. Marilú Báez

Since being held in Plaza de la Marina, there has been talk of the need for the book fair to grow and expand towards the Alameda, without giving up the advantages of this central site. However, the booksellers' association of Malaga has opted to take the step to expand the stalls in another direction, returning to the Paseo del Parque, a risk, they admit, although they also recognise that times have changed.

"We are worried that the fair will no longer attract passing trade, like in Plaza de la Marina, so people will have to want to come and that will be the challenge this year," said the president of the organisers and bookseller at Rayuela, Noelia Clavero, at the presentation on Wednesday at the city hall.

"We are worried that the fair will no longer attract passing trade, like in Plaza de la Marina, so people will have to want to come and that will be the challenge this year"

Noelia Clavero

Organiser

The return of the fair to the park also has a "romantic" and "poetic justice" component to it, although the organiser has said that it has not been a nostalgic decision, listing the strengths of this move. The increase in space allows them to meet the "fundamental need to grow", and from an aesthetic point of view it adds "beauty and attractiveness". In terms of its distribution it brings all the stands into line, as by arranging them in a straight line there is a "balance", and, furthermore, the event is located near the university rectorate building and the Patio de Banderas of the city hall, where many of the activities of this 2024 edition will take place.

"We believe that the park was the place and always has been," explained Clavero, who considers that, with the change of location, the book fair returns to its most "emblematic" setting, and "will be able to be seen in all its splendour". However, they are aware of the fact that this year is a test, so continuity will depend on the analysis of sales and results. The growth of this 53rd fair has been possible thanks to the greater budget provided by the city hall and the Unicaja Foundation. The mayor, Francisco de la Torre, congratulated the cultural branch of Unicaja bank for the "step forward" in becoming a sponsor of the book event, while applauding the organisers for "the dimension they have given to the fair".

Patricia Paz, next to the poster she has designed for this 53rd edition of the Book Fair.
Patricia Paz, next to the poster she has designed for this 53rd edition of the Book Fair. Marilú Báez

The director of the fair, Manuel García Iborra, reciprocated the words of the mayor by acknowledging the support of the institutions and, in particular, the municipal department of culture and councillor Mariana Pineda, whose drive "has marked a turning point for Malaga to have the best fair in recent years".

This year's fair will also be supported by an extensive programme full of activities and events, which will begin with the opening speech by the writer and director of the Andalusian arts centre CAL, Justo Navarro.

A poster with an identity

The poster for the this year's event was unveiled on Wednesday, designed by the artist, Patricia Paz, who, with her personal style, mixes literary and Malaga icons. "The work shows the astonishment of a girl when she opens a book, and the desire of the organisers to return to the park and find what we are passionate about, which is what the fire represents," the artist explained. She also claims "our cultural identity" through a verdiales hat worn by the protagonist of the poster, one of "our purest and oldest symbols".

The programme of book signings and activities mixes established authors and new talents, including Juan Arcones, Sara Torres, Raúl Quinto, Pablo Vierci, María Speaks English, Susana Rubio, Pablo Rivero, Marga Dorao, José Manuel Cabra de Luna, Alba Dedeu, Cherry Chic, Servando Rocha, David Uclés, Aloma Rodríguez, Bárbara Mingo, Laura Freixas, María Luisa Balaguer, Esther García Llovet, Anna Starobinets, Aurora Gavino, Ana Abellán, Alicia Costa, Mar López Algaba and Salvador Gutiérrez Jiménez, among others.

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