Last year was the first of many when one of his most faithful companions, rain, missed his traditional meeting with the Madrid Book Fair. The premiere of the new director Eva Orue in the latest issue has the honor of defeating one of his historical curses. So much so that the main measure of this edition was to place several canvas tarps to cover the area most exposed to the sun in this cultural setting that is the Retiro in the spring. For misfortune Of its participants, this year, when the Fair turns 90, its unconditional companion returned on this first day, so as not to miss such an important celebration, passing its opening on the water.

Starting their tour from the south end of the Fair, a group of government officials led by personalities such as the Minister of Culture, Mikel Iseta, Mayor Jose Luis Martinez Almeida or vice mayor begona villachisannounced that this 82nd edition opened with a complete absence queen letitiawho did not want to participate in the election campaign. In the sky, the sun is trying to break out between gradient gray clouds. It hasn’t rained yet, but the ground is damp, and the smell of wet grass refreshes the nostrils of patrons carrying carefully closed umbrellas. In booth 65, Alberto, editor of Dos Bigotes, recommends a book by Valeria Vegas to a curious couple. A publisher specializing in LGTBQ+ themes was one of those hit by disagreements with smaller publishers. After finding a spot at the Berkan bookstore kiosk, they say they are excited to be back for another year at the Fair. However, they fear the consequences of rain, which may take more days than expected.

Madrid Book Fair
The stands welcome the first visitors at the Madrid Book Fair.

next to, in stand from the mythical Machado bookstore, the bookseller comments aloud, “well, three sales, not bad,” as if trying to cheer up in the face of bad weather. In 252, three publishing houses that have been working together for three years, Círculo de Tiza, Armaenia and Candaya, assure that they have had no problems with the new rules and that the secret of their success as a kiosk is precisely that they are not similar to each other. another. “We don’t have much in common, but that’s why we work so well,” they joke.

Following the route of the Fair, it is easy to get an idea of ​​the most requested books. Recently awarded authors such as Hernán Diaz (Pulitzer Prize) or Nuccio Ordine (Princess of Asturias), novelties such as Alejandro Zambra (Children’s literature) or Alana S. Goalkeeper (Bad habit), contemporary classics such as Stefan Zweig and Chávez Nogales, or dead writers such as Javier Marias or Almudena Grandes. Each publisher prides itself on its main strongholds, such as Tusquets, which maintains its independence from Planeta with its own stand, puffing out its chest for its flag bearer Princess of Asturias de las Letras Haruki Murakami.

Tarpaulins for sun protection at the Madrid Book Fair
A tarpaulin for the sun, a great truant from the first day of the Fair.

Arriving in the heart of the Fair, located between Paseo de Venezuela and Paseo de Uruguay, the large space called “Indomitable” draws attention due to the diversity of exhibitors that occupy it. It debuts a medley of small publishers with projects of a more artistic and craft nature at the Retiro event. “We have been waiting for the opportunity for several years and came with great desire, we will only be there this weekend, but we could not afford to be otherwise,” explains editor Piedra Papel Libros.

A debut that joins the debut of Pergamo’s historic bookstore, demonstrating that after 90 years and 82 editions (the difference is due to the break in the civil war), the Book Fair always has something to celebrate. However, this year the holiday should be drip, as the weather decreed. Because while the number of pedestrians continues to increase over time, the threat of rain remains uncertain. The expectations are good and the illusion persists with the same intensity as every year, but the fear that an ordinary guest will spoil the party marked the first day of the fair, which is now ninety years old.