The setting is magnificent: the Palais des Institutions Italiennes, home to several Italian cultural institutes and NGOs (Elisa Chimenti, COSPE). A.k.a. the Moulay Hafidh palace, the venue is one of Tangier's most prestigious, and the arcades around an Islamic garden make for a perfect setting to browse the bookstalls.
This year, for the first time in the Salon's fifteen year existence, the American Legation – TALIM – has a stand. We're not publishers, but wait, we are! We have our own book – Diana Wylie's Enchantment: Pictures From the Tangier American Legation Museum. And it's been selling very well.
We're new to the book fair business, but now we have established the precedent for a TALIM booth at both of Tangier's annual bookfairs. And this time around, we also have materials furnished by the American Embassy Public Affairs section, plus a book funded by ALC, the American Language Center Tangier.
Now that we've entered the book (selling) world (TALIM already has an 8,000 volume research library), we need to burnish our credentials in what is an even more important feature of the Tangier Salon du Livre: providing intellectually-stimulating speakers – preferably with knock-your-socks-off French – for the series of round tables that punctuate the book-browsing. Though books in Arabic, Spanish, and English are for sale, the overwhelming presence is that of the French language.
This year's theme – Le grand oeuvre des villes – has given the event's organizers (the French Institut du Nord) great leeway in choosing writers and public figures who are concerned about the state of the world's cities.
Yesterday, I attended a session peopled by a researcher from France's Centre Jacques Berque in Rabat (associated with CNRS) and several writers and community organizers, about trends positive and negative in the condition of the urban world.
So, resolution for next year's Salon, Edition 2012: line up impressive American speakers from our TALIM and AIMS worlds who can expound in world-class French.
That would make an impact, along with our little slice of the Legation in a booth.