The Porto Book Fair opened this Friday in the gardens of Palácio de Cristal with an edition centered on poetry, with Ana Luísa Amaral as its central figure, who died on the 5th of August, aged 66, having also participated , just a week before, at the press conference that the municipality promoted to present the program that it had long ago decided to dedicate to it.
With 126 stands, one less than last year, and a returning Feira da Alegria, a space dedicated to craft publishers that the covid-19 pandemic did not allow to organize in 2021, the fair once again has a strong presence of second-hand booksellers, who became one of its hallmarks since the Porto Chamber took over the organization of the event in 2014 and took it to Palácio de Cristal.
In the edition in which the motto is “Imagining and Acting”, poetry is highlighted at the Porto Book Fair 2022. “The Book Fair assumes itself as a literary festival, I would even say a cultural festival. Poetry is the art of sharing, a promise of the future, and we dedicate this edition of the Book Fair to poetry as a transforming force”, said Nuno Faria.
“When we invited Ana Luísa, she enthusiastically accepted and worked with us in a very active and close way to the programming that concerned her as an honored writer”, told PÚBLICO the artistic director of the City Museum, Nuno Faria, also responsible for the cultural programming. from Feira do Livro, noting that the writer’s “so unexpected disappearance” turns “what would be another episode of her literary life into the first significant public event dedicated to her after her death”.
“Ana Luísa Amaral has deserved widespread critical acclaim”, added the coordinator of the Book Fair’s programming, highlighting the award to the author, in 2021, of the Rainha Sofia Prize for Ibero-American Poetry. “On the first weekend, August 27th and 28th, we will have a tribute to Ana Luísa Amaral, with the unveiling of the tribute linden at 3 pm on the 27th”, he added.
Confessing that it was “an enormous pleasure to honor my dear friend Ana Luísa Amaral”, the mayor of Porto, Rui Moreira, recalled that the municipality had already honored the author with the city medal in 2016. “Now it will be linked to one of the linden trees from the Crystal Palace gardens. It's the city's way of honoring her forever”, he congratulated.
“We resisted two years of a pandemic. This will be a return to our normality, I hope people can join”, underlined Rui Moreira, stressing that this edition will take place without any restriction of capacity: “It is an opportunity for booksellers and second-hand booksellers to promote what they are producing. Editing books is an act of heroism. I hope people come.”
In a short speech, attended by members of the council team, Ana Luísa Amaral admitted feeling “honored by this invitation and happy with this distinction”. “I was born in Lisbon, I grew up in Sintra, I came to the north and at first I hated it. But Porto, at the moment, is my city. It is the city that welcomed me, a wonderful city”, he stressed.
Even before finishing reading a poem, Ana Luísa Amaral did not fail to confess that she was “very sorry” that Rui Moreira is serving his last term as mayor of Porto. “From the point of view of what interests me most, of culture, our president has done a lot. I'm not saying this just because this invitation has now happened, it has nothing to do with it. It has to do with the Book Fair, for example. Everyone remembers when the Book Fair was at the Boavista roundabout, everything dispersed anyway”, he recalled.
Ana Luísa Amaral, the honored author of this edition – will be part of a batch that includes Vasco Graça Moura (2014), Agustina Bessa Luís (2015), Mário Cláudio (2016), Sophia de Mello Breyner Andersen (2017), José Mário Branco (2018), Eduardo Lourenço (2019), Leonor de Almeida and Maria de Sousa (2020) ) and Júlio Dinis (2021) – will be the subject and protagonist of two lessons on the first weekend of the Book Fair 2022, which Nuno Faria considered “unmissable”.
From August 26 to September 11, in the gardens of Palácio de Cristal, visitors will have 126 pavilions at their disposal, through which the 84 entities registered in this edition will be divided. Book sales are combined with a vast cultural program which, this year, has some novelties, such as the Brazilian Poetry Cycle, which symbolically marks the celebration of the bicentennial of Brazil's independence. The cultural program includes 22 Concerts, 11 Conversations, 9 Lessons, 4 Film Sessions, 5 Sessions with the Blown Word and 46 Children's Activities, activities that branch out through the Crystal Palace Gardens, Almeida Garrett Municipal Library, Casa do Roseiral and Extension of the Romanticism.