International Book Fair in Costa Rica was full of authors, new books, and art.

Over the course of 10 days, 66,000 people came together to attend the 16th Annual International Book Fair in Costa Rica. The Fair was an opportunity to learn from some of the best authors and their writing, poems or art.

Last Thursday’s evening activities included poetry readings by: Julieta Dobles, Mario Matarrita, Osvaldo Sauma and Joaquin Perez.

Interview with Osvaldo Sauma, poet

Osvaldo Sauma, Costa Rican poet, and writer since his youth, says:

[quote_box_center]“My advice for a novice writer is read and read and read and after this training, writing will come. Reading habits are wonderful, opens many worlds, especially imagination, perception and sharpness.”[/quote_box_center]

He tells how at the beginning, his family didn’t support his work:

[quote_box_center]“In the beginning it was very quiet because of the neighborhood where I grew up. Neither my parents or the neighborhood saw it with good eyes, and I start by fourth or fifth year of highschool to begin to understand that world.

“Of course I was a good reader of the books sent from school, and I admire many poets like the Costa Rican literature of the forties generation.”[/quote_box_center]

In the beginning it was not easy to be accepted; his family did not approve writing, but what about the country?

[quote_box_center]“I think I made my name outside [the country]. Here I had some resistance.

“It was in Colombia at a festival in the nineties where I gained a lot of relevance, and from there I began to be invited to many international festivals, and while that was happening I was publishing.

“There were certain people with power who were not pleased with me, and that was why it took a long time to give me a national prize. They gave it to me in 2013 for my entire work.”[/quote_box_center]

Manuel Ortega Rodríguez, novelist

Later on, a book presentation began with Manuel Ortega Rodríguez, Costa Rican author of three books which were all finished in the same year.

Ortega explained how for years he wrote a bit for each book, but it was in 2013 during a break from his professorship at the University of Costa Rica when he was able to finish these three books:

  • El fuego cuando te quema
  • El coraje de leer: 4 ensayos quijotescos
  • Los peces de cooper.

The three books were inspired by personal experiences. In the case of El fuego cuando te quema, he says: “The name came while watching a dance show in Kansas in 1998… The lyrics said, ‘tell me if you think you believe in God or in the fire when it burns,’ and that’s how I came up with the title.”

Laura Chevez Quiros, visual artist

On the other side of the fair one could also find different stands with books by the writers who in the past days came to read their books and more.

Among the same stands there are artists like Laura Chevez Quiros, visual artist who specializes in notebook production.

Chevez explains her technique for the books she makes and sells: “What I do includes binding, sewing, pasting and painting by hand. To make the covers by hand, I make a giant frame, throw colored spots, and the stains I made become the design.”

Then she digitizes the designs to make a decal. If while lining the book there are many blank spaces, she draw more. She considers this process “like a game.”

To make a book Laura it takes about six hours, but the whole process takes days. Making the stain takes a day; sewing the inside of the notebook, another day; and paste it together is another day.

The prices vary according to the size of the book, but are generally between ¢4,000 – 15,000.