The sixteenth edition of the Hay Festival Segovia will be held from September 17 to 19, 2021. For the first time, to celebrate the heritage of Castilla y León there will be a series of previous events in various venues in the region. All events will be in-person — some will be streamed too — respecting the security protocols. More information here.
When it comes to changing the world, designers are more important than scientists. This, at least, is the opinion of Babette Porcelijn, a designer and environmental expert. In her view, designers are better equipped than other professionals to offer solutions to crucial matters such as pollution, climate change and resource depletion. She specializes in what she calls “hidden impact”, in how our everyday actions affect the environment, not only locally, through the consumption of fuels, but globally, through, for example, the transportation of goods. Her book De verborgen impact, aimed at a non-specialist readership and in which she proposes simple solutions for the future, has been very successful in the Netherlands, the author’s native country, and other European countries. It will shortly be published in Spain.
Porcelijn will talk to the Germany-based Asturian journalist, Begoña Quesada, author of books such as Alemania, el país imprescindible and Nacidos después de muertos.
Mererid Hopwood and Antonio Colinas are two poets whose work involves a strong commitment to time. Both are involved in bringing new words to restore a wounded Earth. Hopwood is one of Wales’ most acclaimed poets, and has been appointed Cymrawd Rhyngwladol Cymru Greadigol Hay Festival / Hay Festival Creative Wales International Fellow 2020-2021, giving her a presence at the festival’s different events around the world. Her publications include Singing in Chains, O Ran and Nes Draw.
Antonio Colinas has been a major figure in Spanish poetry since the second half of the 20th century, when the Novísimos Generation came to prominence. He is also a well-known essayist, and has written around a hundred publications in the two genres. Titles such as Sepulcro en Tarquinia, Tiempo y abismo and El río de sombra have won prestigious awards, including the National Poetry Award, and the Reina Sofía Prize for Ibero-American Poetry.
Hopwood and Colinas will talk to another outstanding poet, Carlos Aganzo, author of books such as Las flautas de los bárbaros, En la región de Nod and Jardín con biblioteca
The second Propios y Ajenos event of the 2021 Hay Festival Segovia presents the princes Lorenzo de’ Medici and Hussain Aga Khan; the British ambassador, Hugh Elliot and his wife, Toñi Elliot; the Dutch ambassador, Jan Versteeg and Caroline Michel, chair of the Hay Festival, who will read from their favourite poets on a trail that includes some of the most beautiful spots in the Romeral de San Marcos Garden.
Readings in Spanish, English and Dutch.
In case of rain, the event will take place in the Alhóndiga at the same time.
“The biggest change in 50 million years.” This is how the environmental writer and activist Andri Snaer Magnason replied when asked about the future effects of climate change. It is something of such massive dimensions that we lack words to express it, although for many the climate conversation has been nothing more than hot air. But this is changing, and books such as On Time and Water are looking at the crisis through science, poetry, history and mythology. Magnason is an environmental activist who looks at the dangers of not caring for our planet and nature from his different facets as an artist: he is a writer, actor and director, both of feature and documentary film. As a writer, he has published novels, short stories, narrative essay and plays. His titles include Dreamland, The Story of the Blue Planet for which he won the Iceland Literary Prize, and Eternal Happiness. In 2016 he ran for the presidency of his country, Iceland.
Magnason will talk to Irene Hernández Velasco, journalist at El Mundo, with which she was a correspondent in Rome.
The success of her first novel, La hermandad de la Sábana Santa, the bestseller that has been published in thirty countries, motivated her to leave her career as a journalist and essayist (Señora presidenta, El nuevo socialismo: la visión de José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero) and focus on literature. Her novels, Dime quién soy, Dispara, yo ya estoy muerto, Historia de un canalla and Tú no matarás made inroads on the bestseller lists. Julia Navarro creates characters and places them in different historical moments, always with a rigorous style. One of her novels, Dime quién soy, has been made into a series starring Irene Escolar. Her latest novel, De ninguna parte, tells of a journey made by two men in search of their identities, against a backdrop of religious fundamentalism. It is due to be published very soon in Spain, Latin America and the United States.
Navarro will talk to José Manuel Lorenzo, the producer of the series Dime quién soy, President and founder of the film and television production company DLO Producciones and President of PATE (Associate Producers of Television in Spain).
“You never write from the heart more than when you write what you remember.” This was said by Luis Landero about El huerto de Emerson, his latest work. The book is an anthology of fragments of what he has lived and what he has read; written with 75 percent narrative, 15 percent essay and the remainder made up with poetry, according to the writer’s formula. Landero is the author of memorable titles such as Juegos de la edad tardía and Lluvia fina, and has not left behind the child he once was in Alburquerque, the Extremaduran town where he was born and raised, or the young guitarist who stopped playing, as he recounts with a touch of humour, when the genius Paco de Lucía appeared. Perhaps for this reason, his autobiographies, and this book, a kind of continuation of El balcón en invierno, are actually a body of work where a whole generation can be found. Its title refers to that personal, untransferable garden which, according to the US philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson, we all have, and have to tend in order to live.
Luis Landero will talk to Ana Gavin, the Planeta Group’s Publishing Relations Manager and a publisher with considerable experience with some of the great names of Spanish literature.
Celibidache, Bernstein and Ferrara have been some of those who have taught the art of conducting to Xavier Güell, who led prestigious orchestras including the Los prisioneros del paraíso and La música de la memoria. He has recently published Si no puedes, yo respiraré por ti, the first instalment in a tetralogy about a group of musicians who aim to survive and work in a Europe dominated by totalitarianisms. This first part of the War Quartet is dedicated to the Hungarian composer Béla Bartók.
Jacinta Cremades is a journalist, translator and lecturer in Language and Literature. He has recently published his first novel, Regreso a París, which reflects historical events such as May ’68 and women’s emancipation, told through the stories of three women.
Güell and Cremades will talk to the lecturer, lawyer and writer José María Beneyto, whose books include Los elementos del mundo, El espía que engañó a Hitler and Tragedia y razón. Europa en el pensamiento español del siglo XX.
The name of Vicente Todolí will live in the collective memory thanks to his extensive experience as an art expert. His CV features important positions including Artistic Director at the Valencian Institute of Modern Art, Director of the Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art in Porto, and Director of London’s Tate Modern. In recent years, Todolí’s focus has turned from art to citrus plants, and as the US thinker Ralph Waldo Emerson advised, he has been cultivating his own garden in Palmera (Valencia), where he has assembled the world’s largest private collection of citrus plants: around 400 varieties, some of them in danger of extinction. His conservation project, managed by the Fundació Todolí Citrus, has also acted as a bulwark against development plans that have threatened the landscape in the area.
Todolí will talk to Prince Lorenzo de’ Medici who, at this event, will reconnect with an old family tradition: the Medici family once practiced bringing art and nature together, and in Renaissance Florence they not only patronized artists and collected art, but also put together a magnificent collection of citrus plants.
The very personal style of the writer Gonçalo Tavares has captured the attention of critics and readers, and he has become one of the most acclaimed writers on the Portuguese literary scene. A fiction writer, dramatist and poet, books such as O senhor Valéry, Jerusalem and Klaus Klump: A Man have brought him awards including the José Saramago Prize. The Portuguese Nobel laureate commented that Tavares was also worthy of the famous prize. During the pandemic, the author of A máquina de Joseph Walser wrote a diary during 90 days of the first wave of the virus, and this was published in fifteen countries in the Americas and Europe as part of a cooperative editorial venture. Finally, these texts have been published in Spanish as Diario de la peste by InterZona, an independent publishing housing in Buenos Aires.
He will talk about all this, his career and his projects with Luis Alemany, an El Mundo journalist.
Jesús Carrasco returns to the Hay Festival Segovia, this time together with the Leon writer Noemí Sabugal. Empty Spain, small towns without a future, and respect for nature: these are all themes to be found in both the novels and essays of Miguel Delibes, and are the topics for discussion by two writers who will take Delibes’ legacy as a starting point. Carrasco is the author of the unforgettable Intemperie, which was followed by La tierra que pisamos. His latest work is Llévame a casa, which tells the story of one of those small towns that will have to choose between change and disappearance, and also deals with the issue of caring for an older generation.
In Los hijos del carbón, her latest work, Sabugal covers the end of the Spanish mining industry, something she knows at first hand, having grown up in a family whose men earned a living below ground. In the tradition of narrative journalism, Sabugal travels to the areas affected by a disappearing industry. Even before publishing this book, shortlisted for the Castile and Leon Critics’ Prize, the Leon writer had published the novels Al acecho and Una chica sin suerte.
The poet Ana Blandiana and the artist Luis Moro will build a bridge between the literary and artistic cultures of Spain and Romania at this event, on the 140th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries.
Blandiana is currently one of Romania’s most important writers. This essayist and poet writes works of great humanistic commitment, unafraid to criticise political power. She was persecuted during the Ceausescu dictatorship. Her poetry books Cosecha de ángeles, Mi patria A4 and El sol del más allá y el reflujo de los sentidos have been published in Spain, as have her short story collections Las cuatro estaciones and Proyectos del pasado.
Moro, a Spanish artist who is based in Mexico, has exhibited work at major art centres in Spain and Latin America, and has taken part in the main European art fairs. He has worked with poets such as Antonio Gamoneda and Elena Poniatowska and is currently working on the Yo Creo en Las Nubes project, based on the work of the Romanian poet.
The two will talk to the poet, novelist and Philosophy lecturer Marifé Santiago, author of books such as Teoría de los matices and Las constelaciones del Capitán.
Based on the novel Oblivion: A Memoir by Héctor Abad Faciolince, Fernando Trueba’s latest film tells the story of the writer’s father, Héctor Abad Gómez, a doctor who dedicated the last years of his life to the defence of human rights, and who was murdered by a contract killer in central Medellin on 25 August, 1987. Javier Cámara plays a tender character “who loved life” in the words of the film director, “who was an advocate of public and preventive medicine” and who during the 1960s supervised the first mass vaccination against polio in the country. Trueba worked with his brother David on the screenplay of the film, which was selected for the 2020 Cannes Festival that was cancelled because of the pandemic. The film, a moving portrait of the man and his family relationships, was chosen to close last year’s San Sebastian International Film Festival.
Sixteen authors from different areas of culture, politics and diplomacy have come together for a series of personal expressions related to Portugal for Intramuros magazine. Ana Luísa Amaral, Daniel Blaufuks, Nuno Cardoso, Alexandre Farto (Vhils), Elisa Ferreira, Rui Horta, Maria do Céu Patrão Neves, Regina Pessoa, Francisco Pinto Balsemão, Cristina Rodrigues, Tiago Rodrigues, Marta Santos, Leonor Silveira, Martim Souza, Gonçalo Tavares and Joana Vasconcelos will contribute their experience.
To talk about this autobiographical Portugal, the writers Gonçalo Tavares and José Luis Peixoto; the Portuguese Ambassador, Joäo Mira-Gomes; the Educational Attaché, Filipa Soares; and Editor of Intramuros, Beltrán Gambier, meet here to read texts and talk about the publication, on the occasion of Portugal taking up the presidency of the European Union.
The name of José Luis Peixoto, one of Portugal’s most read and acclaimed writers, is closely linked to that of José Saramago. Peixoto won the Saramago Prize with his first novel, Blank Gaze, when he was completely unknown. Subsequently, the Nobel laureate pointed him out as a very interesting new writer. So a successful career began, with awards coming from within Portugal and abroad, including the Cálamo Prize for The Piano Cemetery and the Océanos Prize for Galveias, as Best Portuguese-language Novel of 2015. Once again his name is linked with that of his mentor with the publication of Autobiografía, which makes the author of Blindness into a protagonist. According to Peixoto, the novel is a homage, not a hagiography, and does not avoid some controversial aspects of the great writer. Peixoto’s books have been translated into 26 languages.
The Portuguese author will talk to Marta del Riego Anta, a journalist who has worked with various news outlets. As a novelist she has published Solo los tontos creen en el amor, Sendero de frio y amor, Mi nombre es Sena and Pájaros del Noroeste.
The murder of the Colombian doctor, politician and human rights advocate, Héctor Abad Gómez, is the event that motivated his son, Héctor Abad Faciolince, to write Oblivion: A Memoir, which tells the story of his father. This in turn has led the film director, Fernando Trueba, to adapt the book for cinema.
Trueba is one of Spain’s most acclaimed directors. With a filmography of nearly 20 films, he has made works of comedy (Two Much, Sal gorda), drama (El año de las luces, Twisted Obsession, The Girl of Your Dreams, The Queen of Spain), documentary (Calle 54, Mientras el cuerpo aguante) and animated film (Chico and Rita). His shelves sport an Oscar, nine Goya Awards and various other international prizes.
The journalist, writer and publisher Héctor Abad Faciolince has won numerous awards in his country, Colombia, as well as in Spain, where he was awarded the first Casa de América Innovative Fiction Prize for his novel Basura. However, it was Oblivion: A Memoir, the novel that tells the story of his father, which brought him to prominence in the world of Spanish-language literature. Abad Faciolince has not only won awards for his fiction writing, but also for his work as a columnist. As a publisher, in 2016 he created the company Angosta, an independent publisher in Colombia that bears the name of one of his novels.
This conversation is part of the Hay and Cuadernos Hispanoamericanos Dialogues initiative promoting knowledge among writers of different nationalities but with a shared language and literary tradition.