“We celebrate life, we celebrate culture, and we celebrate words. The Fifteenth Festival of the Book and Culture of Medellin will meet again in person at our home, the Botanical Garden of our city. We are not only celebrating, Las Palabras, but also the 15 years of the Public Library System of Medellín, 15 years of the Citizen Plan for Reading, Writing and Orality and 15 years of this Book Festival. How do we celebrate it? With ten days full of programming, full of music, full of literature, full of guests, more than two thousand activities, seven hundred guests, one hundred and thirty book releases, a great commercial offer with more than one hundred and twenty publishers, bookstores, and distributors from all over the world and the country,” announced Sebastián Trujillo Osorio, Undersecretary of Libraries and Medellin Heritage.
Hosted by the Alcaldia de Medellin, the Fiesta del Libro y La Cultura launched on September 24th through October 3rd. One of his most anticipated literary and cultural meetings to celebrate las palabras, the festive event welcomed international guests from Israel, Netherlands, Hungary, Portugal, Brazil, Denmark, Switzerland, Spain, Italy, Korea, Mexico, Bolivia, Venezuela, Germany, Gabonese Republic, Russia , Argentina, Portugal and France.
The Antioqueña capital celebrated the Fiesta del Libro y la Cultura as the second most important event of its kind in Colombia with the largest number of independent editorials ever present at the event.
The exciting programming included ten days of varied events that took place from ten in the morning to nine at night. The traditional spaces, the Jardin Lectura Viva, the special rooms, the storytelling, all came together to celebrate the fifteenth anniversary of the reading city, fifteen years of the Medellin Book and Culture Festival “because in Medellin, culture moves us,” affirmed Sebastián Trujillo Osorio in his opening speech.
In 2021, Las Palabras was the main theme of the event. The festival included two thousand cultural, literary, artistic, and academic events advertised in a varied program. Last year, due to the pandemic, the event took place virtually, and was shown through social networks with 300,000 viewers joining the event.
As in previous years, El Cuentico Amarillo (The Yellow Story) was part of the festival and showcased in a new way. Each year, the festival takes on a literary classic and converts it into a Cuentico Amarillo. The festival pays homage to an author and creates a fun and collectible read that helps promote reading among youth. The reinvention takes a literary classic and rewrites and adapts it to the experiences and commonly used vocabulary of Colombia, while the storylines unfold in popular spaces in Medellin.
The festival also paid tribute to the literary work of “The Wizard of Oz.” Visitors enjoyed the Living Reading Garden, Afternoon Talks, Storytelling, Independent Editorials Room, Comic and Illustration Room, Children’s and Youth Book Room, Book Room University, New Readings Room, Non-violence, Truth and Memory Strip, La Piloto Room, Medellín Negro Literature Congress, Editors Training Seminar, the National Booksellers Meeting and Writing Workshops Meetings. In addition, 180 book launches were celebrated, of which more than 70 were authored by women writers,” shared Sebastián Trujillo Osorio.
“In Medellín we know of this power embedded in words: Words can heal, give strength, encourage hope, and save us. That’s why we work hard for the promotion of reading, writing and speaking, convinced that words can improve the lives of those who seek them and appreciate their value. In Medellín We Have The Word. May it call us with its healing spirit: In the word, may we find different possibilities for better living. Herein lies the power of the word: Words Work.
This year, moreover, we are celebrating the anniversary of the Fiesta del Libro y la Cultura which, more than an event, has become the stage from which our city can share its love for books, the fundamental refuge we all receive through words. This is why readers, books, editors, illustrators, writers, translators, members of this large family, have all been invited to honor this festivity,” Fiesta del Libro y La Cultura’s Manifesto, 2021.
Vanessa Campa is a Senior student at Florida International University majoring in English and minoring in Psychology. Vanessa grew up with a huge Latinx community in Miami, Fl where the majority of the population is Hispanic, and was raised by two amazing immigrant parents. She has a passion for art, photography, humanitarian issues, human rights issues, and telling stories that have an impact on shifting perspectives and educating audiences. She hopes to get into the journalism field to continue her love of storytelling. In her time with the Latina Republic, Vanessa wants to contribute to change the stereotypical narrative of her people and tell inspiring unrecognized stories that need to be brought to light.