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#Literania2017 (@Literania) A #book fair and much, much more

Hi all:

You might remember I told you I was going to Madrid, with my mother, to help with a book event. Literania 2017 was organised by the Asociación Internacional de Autores Independientes (International Association of Independent Authors) and Ediciones Proust (Proust Editions) to promote and help readers discover independent authors and small publishing companies that do not have access to the big book events and find it difficult to get their books accepted by standard distributors. It took place in el parque de la Vaguada (Vaguada Park)  from the 28th of April to the 7th of May.

Events at the Literania Book Festival 2017

Apart from many stalls of paperbacks from small publishing companies and a large varieties of authors covering all genres (from children’s books to poetry and new annotated editions of classics), there were other events programmed that proved popular: we had many authors who shared their knowledge and experience with us (Alberto Vázquez Figueroa, Rocío Castrillo, Enrique Laso [who kindly recommended my translations], Fernando Fominaya, Ana Nieto Churruca, Ana González Duque, Ainhoa Escarti), fabulous musicians (Miss GI, Dúo Okendo, My Left Hand, Kinnia, Pedro de Mingo, Artabe), poets that offered us wonderful recitals, children’s authors who amused the children with their interactive stories  (I enjoyed, among others, stories about a house made of cheese, a fabulous donkey and a bee who wasn’t the best at collecting pollen ), there were book signings and presentations, we collected second-hand books that we helped find a new home, and we raffled wonderful gifts for Mother’s Day (that in Spain this year was the 7th of May).

I would lie if I told you everything went swimmingly. Talking about swimming, we had very bad weather with heavy rain that almost had us and the books floating down to the Manzanares (and yes, it was very cold too), we had electrical problems (and had to rely on a generator), getting water for the food stalls was also complicated, and let’s say that some things didn’t run particularly smoothly, especially the first couple of days.

I was with my mother and another author (Isabel Mata) taking care of the general stall. We had so many books that it was difficult to get organised and we kept getting books throughout the event. It was a joy to be surrounded not only by the physical books but also by so many colleagues I had only met through social media. It was great to recognise and meet people in the flesh, have a chat with so many about all kinds of things (food, weather, writing, future stories, personal experiences, translations…). We bonded over the time and we were like a big family.

I shouldn’t forget the members of Radio Universo Literario who were there throughout the event and not only interviewed authors and recorded presentations and music performances but also shared their own poetry and helped with everything.

And María Blazquez who provided us with gifts and kindly helped organise the raffle. Fantastic.

And, what can I tell you of the public? Some of them were really encouraging and asked us to come back next year. We had some neighbours come, visit, and buy books every day. I also had a lady who gave me her address and invited me to go and see her if we needed anything. We had many parents looking for books for their children, eager young readers, keen historians fascinated by a book about Galileo and Pope Urbano VIII, a book about History of Madrid told by a cat was the runaway bestseller of the fair, although we also had great sales for short story and fantasy books, and children’s books (Mi amigo, un burro (My friend, a donkey) was a favourite, and I love it)…

I had fascinating chats with authors and aspiring authors, talked to several publishing companies and my mother was adopted as the mother of all and was made an Honorary Member of the Cooperative. And we got great feedback from the majority of the assistants.

We weren’t so lucky with the food side of things and let’s say that finances will be ‘interesting’.

I’m not sure where things will go (especially as some projects might take up a lot of my time in the near future) but I definitely loved being a bookseller for a few days and I still hope it might play a big part in the future.

Thanks so much to my Mom, Lusa Guerrero, Ramón Somoza and his son, Alan, Isabel Mata, Lydia, Pilar, Carlos, Ricardo, Andrés, Pierre, Alberto, Fran and Fran, Jordi and family… etc., etc., etc… And thanks to you for reading. Remember to like, share, comment and CLICK!

By OlgaNunez

I was born in Barcelona and after living in the UK for many years have now returned home. I teach English, volunteer at Sants 3 Ràdio, a local radio station, I'm a writer, translator (English-Spanish and vice-versa) and I'm a medical doctor and worked in Forensic Psychiatry many years. I also have a BA and a PhD in American Literature and Film, and a Masters in Criminology. I've always loved books and apart from writing them I review them often.
I write a bit of everything, check my books for more information and my about page for links.
My blog is bilingual, English and Spanish.

20 replies on “#Literania2017 (@Literania) A #book fair and much, much more”

Despite the food, weather, and power problems, it seems that overall, it was a valuable experience, and one that you enjoyed, Olga.
Best wishes, Pete.

Despite the difficulties, it sounds as though you had a terrific experience, Olga. Friends of mine had a bookstore for over 35 years, and I helped them many times at book fairs. It was always a pleasure, regardless of having to haul thousands of books and put in long hours. The people you meet and the minds you touch make it well worth the effort 🙂 ♥

Thanks, Tina. Your experience sounds wonderful (I think if I had friends with a bookstore I probably would move in!). It is something I wouldn’t mind doing on an ongoing basis (one hopes eventually things get organised, at least for a bit). Yes, the contact with the public, all ages, and the other authors made it all worthwhile although it’s like running a marathon. Have a great week!

Welcome, Olga. I nearly did move in, as I spent so much time there! They gave me keys and the alarm code to the place, so I was free to come and go at odd hours when the store was closed. Since I did the book returns, it was a blessing to work when no one was there. It would be a blast to do a book fair with you 🙂

Wouldn’t it be great, Olga, if we had an annual book fair like the annual bloggers bash? It would be a lot of work to organize, but it would be so rewarding… ♥

It would. Judging by my recent experience, and I didn’t have much to do with the general organising, it would be quite complicated, although I know there are people who have organised quite a few… And I haven’t managed to get to any of the annual bloggers bash yet for one reason or another. Perhaps something worth mentioning there…

Hi Olga. I remember all the things you talked about from the beginning with this fair. You really rose to the challenge! I can’t say I envy you the entirety of it, but it sounds like it ended quite well. I enjoyed your description of the fair. It made me wish i was there, rain and all. And a book of history told by a cat — how could I ask for more? =^-^= Huge hugs, my friend.

Hi, Teagan. The book told by the cat Madriles was very popular. The author brought a fluffy cat (I should have taken a picture!) with him. He was a very amusing man too. I’m sure you would have enjoyed it, especially when the weather got better.

Sounds like it was a fabulous event, Olga. You and your Mother certainly made the most of it and it sounds like you were both very fundamental to the functioning of the event. Well done!

Thanks, Robbie. Given a choice, I always prefer working with people and books to dealing with the organisational part of it. It was fabulous, that’s true. Have a great Thursday!

Wow! What a marvelous and exciting event! It seems that more things went right than went wrong throughout the event. What a wonderful time. It was a worthwhile venture giving so many authors the opportunity to put their books out there and doing it with your mom and meeting online friends in person––terrific! I wish I had been there. It’s my wish to meet you in person one day. 😀 xx

Thanks so much, Vashti. I concur with you. Overall it was a great event and opportunity and we’ve learned a lot from it. I also hope we’ll meet at some point in the future, Vashti. ♥

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