Bookshops I Would Love to Visit Around the World : Central and South America (and inspiring feminist writers)

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When I think of this part of the world, the first thing I think of is not bookshops but according to a 2015 Guardian article, Buenos Aires alone has more bookshops per person than any other city and they went as far as to call it the ‘bookshop capital of the world’.  Of course quantity does not always mean quality but as far as my research goes, they have a lot more to offer than my local Waterstones (as much as I love it).

When researching I stumbled across Latin American writers, in particular feminist writers and found that Latin America constitutes to 50% of the world’s femicide victims. When looking at why this statistic was so high, organised crime plays a huge role in the victimisation of women such as human trafficking. Still in 2016 women are treated like objects and what little they have of lives are taken away from them and their government have yet to come up with solutions.

To celebrate the brighter side of Latin American women, here are some that inspired the literary world:

Alfonsina Storni

  • Strongly engaged with feminist issues when the suffrage movement was only starting in Western countries
  • Winner of the first Muncipal Poetry Prize for her 1920 anthology, Languidez
  • Became the first playwright who used her own personal experiences to present a general view of her gender, marking a stepping stone for future female writers in Latin America
  • To understand her further, I thoroughly recommend this article in the Argentina Independent

Gabriela Mistral 

  • First Latin American to win the Nobel Prize in literature and was featured on Chilean banknotes
  • Began her writing career publishing controversial articles which demanded rights for women and criticised the education system

As well as Norah Lange, Marcela Serrano and Excilia Saldana

As the title suggests, here are my top 3 bookshops:

1.) El Ateneo Grand Splendid 


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Isn’t it the most beautiful bookshop image on the internet that you have ever seen! It may come as no surprise that it is widely considered to be one of the most beautiful bookshops in the world.

As the crimson curtains suggest, it opened in 1919 as a theatre and in 1929, it became a cinema which showed the first talking films in Argentina. Despite the cinema seats being removed in 2000, the ambience of the cinematic and dramatic experience still encompass the old theatre and current bookshop. The stage also hosts a café which always shows promising signs of a great bookshop.

2.) El Espejo Libros

  • As a lover of anything independent, this small store in Argentina sells independent and locally-published titles
  • There is nothing I love more than a book of poetry and this store carries poetry and prose from some of the finest authors and publishers local to them
  • They are known for their kind and friendly staff which always turns a good store into a safe haven

3.) Punto de Encuento

  • Carries works on South American politics, history, culture etc.
  • Owners are highly involved in social issues and local activism, participating in the  the Collective Youth for Our Rights in Córdoba
  • Promote local writers and social issues, they seek to educate and inform, not just sell books

Emily Simms: 21:40







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