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Haiti book festival returns to in-person, still available virtually


PORT-AU-PRINCE — After two years as a virtual affair, Haiti’s annual “Livres en Folie” book fair once again welcomed people in person for its 28th edition starting June 16.

At the Karibe Hotel in Juvenat, the 1,200 books featured over the daylong event include such new titles as: Spread of moto-taxi in the metropolitan area of Port-au-Prince (paradox and controversy) by Carline Duval Joseph, Soley Haiti by Latry Jean Dalio, Poetry from Grand Anse by Leonce Maurice and From childhood to Bandistry, a novel by Mathieu Justin.

Louis Philippe Dalembert, a writer and one of the guests of honor this year, was joyful to make the event after not being able to for three years, including due to COVID-19.

“Finally, I made it and I am very happy to be with you, for this is Haiti,” he said ahead of the fair. “I may live in other countries… or teach in other countries, but Haiti is always with me.”

Writer Pierre Raymond Dumas is also another guest of honor this year. He is joining nearly 200 authors expected to come meet the public and sign their works at the in-person event. 

Online, readers may order  all week long, an option organizers hope will help sales as they face a planned drop in participation. Livres en folie is being held amid a chronic lack of security and increasing cases of kidnapping for ransom and political instability in the country.  

When the last in-person fair took place in Tabarre, about 25,000 attended, said Frantz Duval, editor of Le Nouvelliste and one of the event’s organizers. “This year, if we have 1,000 people we will be very happy.Things have changed so much.”  

Livres en folie was originally organized to encourage access to reading. Books are sold on this day at prices lower than the bookstores’. This year, Livres en Folie is selling titles at a 40% discount compared to prices at the bookstore

For author Gerard-Marie Tardieu, the event is an opportunity to showcase his work, which is mostly written in Kreyol. This year he’s presenting five books, including, Okipasyon Ameriken, Creole for “The American Occupation”.

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