It would not be a fair true to its subject, without a good story. Last night at the International Book Fair an argument between the National Education Minister, Alberto Sileoni, and Hernán Lombardi, the Minister of Culture of Buenos Aires, broke out over rules governing the import of books.
At a conference to open the fair, Lombardi attacked Sileoni over the national government’s import restrictions on foreign books, saying it “punishes the readers” and “hinders the freedom of expression of ideas.”
“We want books which are circular, square, light, and heavy. Books which are black, white, and in colour, for adults and for children. In Spanish, English, Portuguese, French, and German.” Lombardi continued to approving applause.
In a direct response to Commerce Secretary Guillermo Moreno’s import restrictions, he stated, “it is an insult to intelligence to say that what comes from outside is contamination…. Importing books is not the same as importing perfume.”
Alberto Sileoni defended the regulation, saying, “No books have been prevented from entering the country.”
This year sees the 38th International Book Fair, held at the between the 19th of April and the 7th of May. Many national and international figures will be talking about literature and culture, including ‘Open Veins of Latin America’ author, Eduardo Galeano, one of Israel’s most important contemporary writers, David Grossman, and award-winning Mexican writer Carlos Fuentes.