More than 850,000 people lined the aisles of this major celebration of literature. But beyond the sheer numbers, it was the quality of the exchanges and events that caught the attention.
FIL 2023 set an all-time record with 857,315 visitors, the vast majority of whom visited the EU pavilion, which occupied a central position. The world's second-largest book fair (and the most important one for books in Spanish) was back on track after two editions marked by the covid pandemic. The presence of the EU is no coincidence to this success.
"We have organised the best FIL in history”, said Ricardo Villanueva, rector of the University of Guadalajara, during the event's closing ceremony. “The European Union, as guest of honour, has been the largest and most diverse delegation ever to attend the FIL. It has been a delight, a continuous source of joy, amazement and fraternity”.
Indeed, during the nine days of FIL 2023, visitors enjoyed a rich and varied program in the EU pavilion. They were able to meet and exchange ideas with 75 authors from all over the EU and Ukraine. In the EU pavilion, 130 activities were also organised, including 19 for professionals and 23 presentations from almost all EU Member States.
In addition to books and literature, the FIL is also a cultural event. This year the EU presented 14 shows, including daily concerts and two theatre plays. To the delight of cinephiles, a film festival was also organised, with the presentation of 30 films attracting 2,000 spectators.
Finally, the EU developed a specific program aimed at young people, including the organisation of 35 meetings with pupils and students from Guadalajara and the surrounding region, and the publication of a book of EU children's stories, widely distributed to young Mexican participants.
“It was a historic effort out of the ordinary for the European Union to participate in the FIL as guest of honour”, admitted the Head of the EU Delegation to Mexico, Ambassador Gautier Mignot. “It has exceeded our expectations, this participation will leave a mark, a lasting rapprochement between us”.
A sentiment shared by Marisol Schulz, director of FIL: “The members of the EU delegation have been more than our guests, they have been our brothers and sisters. Rarely have we felt so close to a guest delegation. The presence of the European Union has enabled us to rediscover the diversity, vitality and richness of the 27 Member States and Ukraine, proving that language is no barrier when it comes to art, ideas, literature and culture”.
FIL's results exceeded the organisers' expectations, thanks to record visitor numbers, but it was above all its high quality that Ambassador Mignot wanted to highlight: “I want to emphasise the quality and diversity of what the EU presented during this fair. Diversity of gender, of course, but also geographical diversity, diversity of opinions and points of view. FIL is a great celebration of plurality, and our participation was marked in this sense”.
A horizon of future cooperation and co-creation between the EU and Latin America seems to be opening up. Ambassador Mignot underlined: “We have achieved our main objectives, summed up in our motto: to build a union of cultures between us Europeans, but also with the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean.”
At the end of the ceremony, the EU handed over the baton to the next Guadalajara FIL guest of honour in 2024 - Spain.
- Publication date
- 14 December 2023
- Service for Foreign Policy Instruments