By Luis Miranda Sanchez | Cubanow.net
Howard Zinn, one of the best-known left-wing intellectuals in the United States, is among the special guests in Havana’s 14th International Book Fair (February 4-13), where more than 5 million books are expected to be put on sale �almost one book for every two Cubans.
The author of A People’s History of the United States, published in Cuba in Spanish, will present his work at the Fair. The American writer will also have meetings with Cuban intellectuals and readers.
Zinn, also the author of other important works such as You Can’t be Neutral on a Moving Train �considered his autobiography- has for many years been a fighter for civil rights of African Americans and an active opponent to US intervention in Vietnam.
US writer Alice Walker, who was one of his students in the University of Boston and also a guest at a recent Havana Book Fair, said Zinn is “an agitator with a heart of gold”.
His book puts forward the people’s history of the big hegemonic and expansive campaign carried out by US governments.
This history is very different from the traditional one, Zinn declared, since I write about the people that traditional history usually ignores. It’s about not just seeing history from a purely academic point of view, but from the viewpoint of the voiceless people, of the oppressed and from the standpoint of the people whose struggles haven’t been recorded by history.
The American writer and playwright visited Cuba in 2004 and took part in the staging by Cuban theatre professionals of his play Marx in Soho.
He has also received the Thomas Merton, Eugene V. Debs, Upton Sinclair and Lanzan Literary awards and has published other works, such as the collection of essays The Politics of History.
Other foreign writers whose books will be present in the Fair are James Cockcroft �who arrived last week- , Piero Gleijeses, Arundhati Roi, Belen Gopegui, Jose Saramago, Juan Madrid, Daniel Chavarria, Volodia Teitelboim, Ernesto Cardenas and Alfonso Sastre, along with new editions or reprints of novels by Cuban Alejo Carpentier �whose centenary was celebrated last year throughout the island.
However, Brazil is the event’s focus with nearly 85 publishing houses and a number of famous authors from that country (this year’s Guest of Honor), such as: Poems Preferred by the Authors and Their Readers, by Thiago de Mello; August, by Rubem Fonseca; The Age of Sunrise, by Carlos Nejar; A Lioness Goes into the Sea, by Juana Villafa�e; Iracema, by Jose de Alencar; Everyone’s Looking for You, by Ferreira Gullar; Selected Stories, by Machado de Asis; and an anthology of contemporary Brazilian short stories.
More than 50 new titles by Cuban authors will be presented in the event.
A book of poems by Antonio Guerrero -one of the five Cubans imprisoned in the United States for fighting terrorist actions against the island- titled Confidential Poems, is another novelty in this editorial celebration.
The Fair is dedicated this year to two great figures of Cuban literature: decimista Jesus Orta Ruiz (El Indio Nabori) and playwright Abelardo Estorino.
Children, adolescents and youths will have a special place with classic works in this genre, such as The Golden Age, by Jose Marti �Cuba’s National Hero and one of the country’s most brilliant writers, who lived and wrote for years in the United States late in the 19th century.
Other authors who write for children and youth with books in the Fair are Antoine de Saint-Exupery, Walter Scott, Rudyard Kipling, Hans Christian Andersen, the Grim brothers, Alexander Dumas, Mark Twain, and Robert Louis Stevenson, among many others.
Havana’s Book Fair is held in a unique setting: the Fortress of San Carlos de La Caba�a �a jewel of Spanish colonial period in Cuba- which is invaded by thousands of Cubans during the ten days of the event in the capital.
The Fair will later be extended to 34 other cities. The numbers of the past edition are surprising: 4 million 738 thousand copies offered to more than 3 million 761 thousand visitors.