Jeanette Winterson (UK) took the literary scene by storm in 1985 when she published the semi-autobiographical novel Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit. Now, with more than 25 books published over more than 30 years as a writer, reflecting on matters such as religion, the LGTB community and art, Winterson is one of the major figures in contemporary British literature. Talking about art, she wrote in one of her columns for The Guardian: “We censor it, sentimentalise it, treat it as a commodity. But we can’t reduce its power.” So, what is art for? This outstanding English writer reflects on this question to talk about art’s incredible transformational power.
Simultaneous translation from English to Spanish available.
With the support of the British Council Mexico and Wom@rts.
Deyan Sudjic is a writer, design and architecture critic as well as the current Director of London’s Design Museum, a leading institution in the field of contemporary design. Furthermore, he is the author, among other works, of the influential monograph The Edifice Complex and The Language of Cities. On this occasion he will talk to the architect Álvaro Pastor.
The Peruvian writer, Iván Thays, shortlisted for the Herralde Prize for Un lugar llamado Oreja de Perro, is the author of several novels, including Antonio vuelve a casa. Guadalupe Nettel (Mexico) is the author of the novel Después del invierno (2014 Herralde Novel Prize) and of a number of books of short stories. They will talk to Ignasi Duarte.
Four of Latin America’s best writers aged under 40 choose one or two female writers from any Latin American country, plus an international author, whose work they admire. At this event Natalia Borges (Brazil), Juan Cárdenas (Colombia), Damián González Bertolino (Uruguay) and Brenda Lozano (Mexico) will tell the publisher José Hamad and the audience why they recommend these writers.
With the support of the Mexican Embassy
An archaeologist who specializes in South America and the Caribbean, and particularly in the historical effects of climate change on insular communities, Jago Cooper is currently the curator of the Americas Department of the British Museum. As well as his work at the museum, he has written and directed a number of programmes for BBC Four in which he disseminates his fieldwork and reveals some of the ancient mysteries of Latin America. He will talk to Gabrielle Walker, a Doctor of Chemistry from Cambridge University and the author of four books about climate change.
The directors of El Inca (Venezuela) Ciro y Yo (Colombia) and Amazona (Colombia) share a stage to talk about the difficulties of making films in the region. From funding to distribution, the independent film industry is changing. But, how far is there still to go?
The Venezuelan fiction writer, poet and screenplay writer, Alberto Barrera Tyszka, is the author of Patria o muerte, which won the 11th Tusquets Novel Prize and which deals with Hugo Chávez’s battle against cancer, and later death. It is not the only time that he has written about the deceased President of Venezuela; together with Cristina Marcano he published Hugo Chavez: The Definitive Biography of Venezuela’s Controversial President. He has also published books, short stories and poetry, and has written screenplays for a number of soap operas, most recently Nada personal, for TV Azteca. He will share a stage with the Lima journalist and writer, Hugo Coya.
Maylis de Kerangal (France) has worked in publishing and is the author of novels including Birth of a Bridge, translated into eight languages and winner of the Médicis, Franz Hessel and Gregor von Rezzori prizes, and Mend the Living, winner in 2015 of the Llibreter Prize awarded by Catalan booksellers. Her latest work to be published in Spanish is Lampedusa, a novel built up around the name Lampedusa, which the author hears on the radio, full of literary and geographical associations, but also of tragedy and pain because of its link to the port of Lampedusa and the massive arrival of refugees on Sicily in recent years. She will talk to Alfredo Vanini Benvenuto, cultural manager, journalist and writer.
Participating at this gala are the following writers: Ana Alonso (España), Frank Báez (Dominican Republic), Valter Hugo Mãe (Portugal), Rachel Eliza Griffiths (United States), Carlos Zanón (Spain), Darío Jaramillo (Colombia), Gloria Esquivel (Colombia), Rosemary Sullivan (Canada), Gabriela Jauregui (Mexico), Lee Maracle (Canadá), Alan Mills (Guatemala), Mónica Ojeda (Ecuador) and Daniel Saldaña (Mexico). Moderated by Juan Merino.
With the support of Acción Cultural Española. Foco Cultura España-Colombia
With the support of the Mexican Embassy
Three writers who have all recently published an outstanding work will talk to Camilo Hoyos, literary critic and columnist with Arcadia magazine: Juan Cárdenas (Colombia), author of El diablo de las provincias; Renato Cisneros (Peru), author of Dejarás la tierra, a prequel to his celebrated book La distancia que nos separa; and Samanta Schweblin (Argentina), author of Distancia de rescate (shortlisted for the 2017 Man Booker Prize). Three novels which take their place in Latin American fiction and which are presented here by their authors.
Valenzuela is one of the best-known and important contemporary Argentinean writers. Because of the military dictatorship, which impeded both her journalistic and literary work, she went into exile in the United States. She stayed there for ten years and was writer-in-residence at the Center for InterAmerican Relations and at New York and Columbia universities, where she also gave writing workshops and seminars. In 1989 she returned for good to Buenos Aires, where she continues to live. Luisa Valenzuela is the author of more than 30 books, including novels, short stories, micro-fiction and essays, with titles such as La travesía, El gato eficaz, Los heréticos and Hay que sonreír, which have been translated and published in many different countries.
The novelist and essayist Sergio del Molino has recently published the work of literary non-fiction La España vacía and the novel La mirada de los peces. Sara Mesa is an award-winning author of short stories and novels. Her work Cuatro por cuatro was shortlisted for the Herralde Novel Prize and Cicatriz was chosen as one of El País’s books of the year. These two Spanish writers, much acclaimed for their unique viewpoints and styles, will talk to Margarita Valencia about writing.
In the speeches of politicians, in the media, in advertising, in electoral campaigns: populism is everywhere. Gerardo Bongiovanni is chair of the Fundación Libertad in Argentina, which promotes democracy and the rule of law, and has also edited the book El estallido del populismo; Jorge Quiroga is ex-president of Bolivia; and Yoani Sánchez is a Cuban blogger who has become famous for her critical look at life in Cuba under the present government. These three will talk to the journalist Claudia Gurisatti.
Although publishers seem to be convinced that there is not the same demand for short stories as for novels or self-help books, the genre often sparks the beginnings of a passion for books, and also acts as a school for most writers. From the brothers Grimm to Edgar Allan Poe, from Borges, who did not believe in the novel, to Cortázar, who said that the novel won by points but the short story was capable of a knockout, short fiction is full of gems. The Spanish writers Eloy Tizón and Pilar Adón will talk to Guido Tamayo about some of them.
Geoff Dyer is one of the most outstanding contemporary English writers. A regular contributor to publications such as Esquire, The Guardian and The New York Times, he is also the author of titles such as But Beautiful and Yoga For People Who Can’t Be Bothered to Do It. He will talk to the writer and publisher Jerónimo Pimentel about his latest book, White Sands: Experiences from the Outside World, a work about the power of memory, a beautiful homage to art and literature.
Economic and political protectionism is gaining ground around the world. The changes that have happened in Russia, the United States and Europe have altered the idea of a global citizenship. In their books David Rieff, Sergio del Molino and Carmen Boullosa have explored in detail and in very original ways the consequences of these political transformations for individuals. The three writers will talk to the journalist María Elvira Samper.
It is common to see the viewpoint defended that the past should not be forgotten. However, what if it is painful and counterproductive? David Rieff is a journalist and writer of books on immigration, international conflicts and humanitarianism. His articles regularly appear in The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Le Monde, El País and other publications. In his latest book, he questions the way in which peoples tend to relate to the past.
When taking the decision to write full time, particularly for young writers, the matter of earning a living must first be resolved. Four outstanding Latin American writers aged under 40, Martín Felipe Castagnet (Argentina), Daniel Ferreira (Colombia), Daniel Saldaña París (Mexico) and Claudia Ulloa (Peru) will talk about their respective careers as journalists or publishers, and what this work has contributed to their literature, or vice versa.
With the support of the Mexican Embassy
Unlike prose, where there is more anecdotal development, in poetry, ideas enter the reader’s consciousness, verse after verse, disguised as images. A poem has emotion, feeling and thought, and is also a way of understanding the world. Darío Jaramillo, winner of the 2017 National Poetry Prize with El cuerpo y otra cosa, will talk about poetry with the writer Gloria Esquivel, author of the poetry book El lado salvaje and the novel Animales del fin del mundo.
Friendship threatened by social prejudices, compassion in a world full of avarice, happiness just around the corner from sadness. These are areas dealt with in the truest and most humanly complex stories, and also themes touched on by Pilar Quintana, who recently published her fourth novel, La perra, a raw yet beautiful story about maternity and the jungle of the Colombian Pacific. The writer will talk to the journalist Jorge Eduardo Espinosa.
In honour of Goethe and the 200th anniversary of the first publication of his outstanding poem sequence, West–Eastern Divan (1819), A New Divan contains outstanding original poems by twenty-four leading poets – twelve from the East and twelve from the West. It presents a truly international poetic dialogue inspired by the culture of ‘the Other’ and Goethe’s late, great work. Swainson, the editor of the project, is joined by Iraqi and British poets to celebrate publication.
Renato Cisneros is a journalist, poet and fiction writer. La distancia que nos separa, a book that also gave rise to his latest novel, Dejarás la tierra, is based on the search for the man who was Cisneros’ own father before he was born. As the author says, “it is the story of a son who is searching for his place in the world by remembering his father”, General “Gaucho” Cisneros. The philosopher Javier Gomá is the author of the Tetralogía de la ejemplaridad and the monologue Inconsolable, about the unexpected desolation he suffered after the death of his father. The text, which has also been adapted into a play, is the interpretation of a number of situations in which the author experienced mortality and death. The two will talk to the writer Margarita Valencia.
In the 1980s, under the influence of Spanish punk, many of the young people of Peru expressed their anger. Some of their reactions involved drugs, music and violent action. Martín Roldán, who wrote Este amor no es para cobardes (2015), writes about a Lima of repression, scarcity and power cuts. He and Edurne Portela, who last year published El eco de los disparos, a book about the end of ETA’s armed struggle and which maintains a commitment to engaging with the past, will talk to the writer Alonso Rabí.
Eight writers from different parts of the world will talk about the books, whether classic or contemporary from female authors, that have most left their mark. This event promises to be a kind of group tour through the best and newest in world literature.
Simultaneous translation from English to Spanish available