Last updateFri, 26 Jun 2015 2pm
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International Book Fair (FIL) preps for British invasion

The United Kingdom aims to showcase new voices, as much as to celebrate established figures in the country’s literary, academic and artistic worlds, as guests of honor at the Guadalajara International Book Fair (FIL) later this year.

Around 150 authors, artists, academics and representatives of publishing houses have been lined up to appear at the event, considered the second biggest literary fair in the world after Frankfurt, Germany.

Much of the media attention during the fair, which carries the theme “Todos hablamos cultura” (We all speak culture), will focus on several U.K. literary heavyweights.   Chief among these will be Sir Andrew Motion, Poet Laureate from 1999-2009; Philippa Gregory, author of such successes as “The Other Boleyn Girl” and “The White Queen”; and Irvine Welsh, the often controversial Scottish novelist, playwright and short story writer recognized for his cult novel “Trainspotting.”

At least 18 British publishing houses are expected to attend the fair, and it is probable this number will increase. The publishers will represent various sectors, among them children’s books, English-language teaching and trade.

A wide-ranging program of visual arts, film, music and dance is planned, with a carefully thought-out curatorial concept that organizers say “seeks to highlight the cosmopolitan, cutting-edge and multicultural character of modern-day British culture.”

The University of Guadalajara’s Museum of Arts (MUSA) will show a collection of prints by David Hockney, one of the UK’s most important living artists. 

The Cabañas Cultural Institute will host an exhibition of the varied works of David Shrigley, the conceptual artist who has established himself as one of the leading figures in contemporary British art.

The Foro FIL will welcome the most electrifying expressions of contemporary British music and dance, including the dance company of world-famous choreographer Wayne McGregor.

Meanwhile, the Cineforo will show a selection of recent independent British cinema, as well as two classics from the age of silent film, recently restored by the British Film Institute: “The Lodger” by Alfred Hitchcock and “The Epic of Everest” by Simon Fisher Turner.

The FIL Niños program will feature the participation of four-time Oscar-winning British studio Aardman Animations, in the form of Shaun the Sheep and his little cousin Timmy.

A distinguished delegation drawn from all the regions of the United Kingdom will head the FIL academic program, focusing particularly on history, social sciences and educational research. Professors Alan Knight and Paul Garner, who have produced highly-respected studies on the history of Mexico, will both participate.

The British Council will present an insightful and provocative study on the importance of the English language for Mexico. At the same time, activities will take place to strengthen academic exchange and mobility between universities in both countries, and the wide range of educational opportunities that the United Kingdom holds for Mexican students will be laid out in the U.K. pavilion.

The U.K.’s showcase pavilion, designed by architectural firm Carmody Groarke, winners of the Architectural Review Emerging Architecture Award, will be a “space of convergence and dynamism,” say organizers. “The design is unlike anything previously seen or imagined at the FIL. Its two levels will create the ideal space for discovering the diverse aspects of British culture.”

A major feature of the pavilion will be a facsimile copy of the 1215 Magna Carta. This is a document of symbolic importance for democracy, and has deep roots in the United Kingdom. It is one of the foundational texts of international law, and a pillar of modern democracies.

“FIL 2015 represents a unique opportunity to strengthen and revitalize the already close relationship between both countries, stimulating creativity, innovation, cultural and educative exchange, commerce, and investment, through an unprecedented cultural platform,” said Duncan Taylor, the U.K.’s ambassador to Mexico, at the unveiling of the program this week in Mexico City.  “This will allow for dialogue, cooperation and mutual development, with the goal of constructing a legacy that will last far beyond 2015.”

FIL takes place at Expo Guadalajara from November 28 to December 6.

More UK authors booked for the FIL

Claire McGowan – young crime writer from Northern Ireland who has three hit novels under her belt

Karrie Fransman – comic creator who has grafted two graphic novels for Penguin Random House 

Jeanette Winterson – award-winning English writer who became famous with her first book, “Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit,” a semi-autobiographical novel about a sensitive teenage girl rebelling against conventional values

Joanne Harris – author of award-winning novel “Chocolat,” later turned into a highly successful film

Helen Mort and Inua Ellams – poets

Iain Sinclair – writer and filmmaker whose work on psycho-geography makes us question our relationship with place and space

Alexandra Heminsley – journalist, broadcaster and author who reminds us about the importance of fitness

Jon Ronson – author of “The Psychopath Test”

Owen Jones – author of “Chavs: The Demonization of the Working Class”

Sally Gardner, Ed Vere, Gareth P. Jones, Anne Fine (“The Diary of a Killer Cat,” “Crummy Mummy and Me,” “Billy’s New Frock, The Return of the Killer Cat”), Kevin Brooks (“Lucas,” “Candy,” “iBoy,” “The Road of the Dead,” “The Bunker Diary”) – authors and illustrators who will make children’s imaginations soar through workshops and book readings.