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Is the FIL set to honor a plagiarist?

October 5, 2012

Critics have called on Guadalajara’s International Book Fair (FIL) to withdraw plans to honor Peruvian author Alfredo Bryce Echenique.

Bryce has been dogged by several allegations of plagiarism in his native country, leading author and critic Sergio Gonzalez Rodriguez to publish an open letter this week asking the National Council for Culture and the Arts (Conaculta) not to award him the FIL Literary Award in Romantic Languages.

“The accusations of plagiarism against Bryce are a matter for the criminal courts to decide – not a literary jury,” read a FIL statement released Thursday. “Beyond the accusations against him, the jury voted to award him the prize for his narrative work and its relevance in 20th century literature.”

As things stand, Bryce is still set to collect his prize in the opening ceremony of the 26th FIL, which runs from November 24 to December 2.

More than 600,000 visitors and over 500 writers from 28 countries are expected to attend the world’s second biggest literary festival, which brings in over 330 million dollars each year.

Among the scheduled events, the FIL will stage a tribute to the late Carlos Fuentes, as well as celebrating the 80th birthday of Elena Poniatowska, arguably Mexico’s greatest living writer and intellectual.

Chile, this year’s guest of honor, will participate in a series of round tables, conferences, workshops, literary presentations, poetry readings, art exhibits and musical events ranging from rock to experimental music. There will also be a range of children’s events, publishing meetings and discussions on the impact of the e-book in the world of literary sales.

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