16th TIBF: Four days, 500 events, 290 publishers, 300 authors, and 900 speakers The great celebration of books begins on May 9 at the Thessaloniki International Exhibition Centre Honouring Spanish speaking countries | HELEXPO


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16th TIBF: Four days, 500 events, 290 publishers, 300 authors, and 900 speakers The great celebration of books begins on May 9 at the Thessaloniki International Exhibition Centre Honouring Spanish speaking countries

The Thessaloniki International Book Fair (TIBF) is starting on Thursday 9 May, with 500 speakers, 290 publishers, 300 Greek and international authors, at least 900 speakers, and honouring Spanish speaking countries. It is being organised in pavilions 13, 14, and 15 of the International Exhibition Centre by the Hellenic Foundation of Culture, in cooperation with TIF-Helexpo, the Municipality of Thessaloniki, Greek Publisher Associations and independent publishers.

The event will last until Sunday 12 May and focus on ‘Crowds as protagonists in Literature and History’, highlighting its concerns regarding a series of timely social and political matters, such as the refugee crisis and social movements. Furthermore, the 16th TIBF will also focus on the following thematic axes: ‘Literature and Memory’, ‘Humanity’*: Gender and Literary Performance, ‘Imagine all the people: Homage to the refugee experience’, Children’s and Teenager’s Corner, Translation Festival, Young Writer Festival, Professional Day, Exhibitions-Homage to photographer Yiannis Bechrakis.

Spanish speaking countries are being honoured at this year’s event, which will highlight their enormous literary wealth and common reference points in relation to Greece. The Hellenic Foundation of Culture in cooperation with the Ibero-American

Literature Festival En Athens–LEA, embassies, institutes, and other cultural foundations in Greece and internationally, will honour the literature coming both from Spain itself (including the Basque Country), as well as from Spanish-speaking countries of Latin America, such as El Salvador, Colombia, etc. Another country of the Iberian peninsula, Portugal, will also be represented. Thus, in the framework of this homage, Thessaloniki will welcome Santiago Gamboa and Héctor Abad Faciolince from Colombia, Jorge Galán from El Salvador, Spanish writer and ambassador of Hellenism Pedro Olallia, Spanish poet Juan Vicente Piqueras, Basque Country writer Gambrine Umbeda, Spanish detective novel and police officer Alejandro Gallo, as well as Portuguese writers Dulce Maria Cardoso and Jose Luis Peixoto.

Apart from the Spanish-speaking authors, there will be a number of writers participating in the 16th TIBF from at least 20 countries, such as France, Germany, the UK, Ireland, Italy, USA, Russia, Israel, Romania, Croatia, Slovenia, Slovakia, Iraq, Turkey and Sweden.

The Opening Ceremony of the Russian-Greek Literature Year will be held at the 16th TIBF on Thursday, 9 May, where the relevant agreement will also be signed. The event will be addressed by the Minister of Culture and Sports, Ms Myrsini Zorba, Deputy Foreign Minister Mr Markos Bolaris, Ambassador of the Russian Federation in Greece Mr Andrey Maslov, and Deputy Minister of Science and Education of the Russian Federation, Mr Grigory Trubnikov. In this framework Russia's participation in the event will cover an area of 200 square metres and host more than 30 events. The Year will end at the 33rd International Moscow Book Fair in September 2020.

Among the events in the framework of the 16th TIBF, those organised by the Hellenic Foundation of Culture (HFC) will stand out; specifically the celebration of the 200 years since the Greek national revolution of 1821, the Kavafeia, and the teaching of Greek at HFC branches abroad.

The Press Conference

The potential of the Thessaloniki International Book Fair playing an international role both in Greece and in the broader region was underlined by the President of TIF-Helexpo, Mr Tasos Tzikas, during the press conference today in view of the opening of the TIBF. He stressed that the Fair has established itself as a major cultural event.

Subsequently, Mayor of Thessaloniki Mr Yiannis Boutaris stressed that it is necessary for the TIBF to be transferred to Thessaloniki, for it to become autonomous and dependent on the city itself. “We must mimic the example of the Thessaloniki Film Festival”, he noted, stressing that the new concept of the Book Fair must be produced the way in which Thessaloniki “embraces” the TIBF every year.

The important presence of publishers and writers, as well as the large number of events were underlined by the member of the HFC board and Associate Professor of Historical Linguistic at AUTh, Mr Giorgos Papanastasiou, who noted that this year bears all the characteristics of previous events, to the superlative degree. He also referred to the homage to emblematic intellectual figure Manolis Triantafillidis that is being held in the framework of the 16th TIBF.

Deputy Mayor of Culture Elli Chrysidou stressed the need to look at the TIBF from a different perspective, through its connection to the city, the region, the agencies, and its creative people, while she characterised May the month of Thessaloniki, if one takes into account the great number of events in the city that follow the axis of the International Book Fair.

The director of the TIBF Mr Manolis Piblis mentioned the goal of members of the academia, writers, publishers, and the public to meet in Thessaloniki and hold discussions, in what he called a rare meeting that does not happen anywhere else in Greece at any other time. He also stressed that another cycle is being completed for the fair and that the next step needs to be taken, while in reference to the Mayor’s request for an autonomous Book Fair, he noted that a TIBF bureau needs to be initially created in

Thessaloniki, while he mentioned that the Book Fair must be seen and must operate all year round.

Lastly, the French Consul to Thessaloniki, Mr Philippe Ray, stressed that it is important for books to be protected and promoted, especially in a forum of celebration such as the Fair.

The TIBF is being held with the support of the Hellenic Parliament and under the auspices of the Ministry of Culture and Sport, while it is being co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund, in the framework of the Regional Operational Programme of Central Macedonia 2014-2020.