Welcome to Hay Festival Querétaro 2021 programme.
Register for the Festival activities, which in this edition will be held digitally and in-person, with free events for all audiences. Browse the different sections of the programme and register free of charge.
Although just a few years ago it would have seemed impossible, there now exists a considerable consensus around the idea that Western democracies are in serious danger, faced with the rise of authoritarianism, nationalism, autocracy and the extreme right. The writer and historian Anne Applebaum (United States), winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Nonfiction for Gulag (2004), presents her most recent book, which tackles these and other themes: Twilight of Democracy. The Seductive Lure of Authoritarianism (2020). Applebaum argues that through poisonous, simplistic and seductive messages, authoritarianism uses the media, the social media, political polarization and conspiracy theories to set up a worrying attack on democratic values, values that are defended in her book. She will talk to the jurist and academic Ana Laura Magaloni.
Simultaneous translation from English to Spanish available.
Event sponsored by SURA
The Queretaro publishing house, Gris Tormenta, presents a beautiful collection of texts in which different authors from different countries reflect on something that is necessary to us in order to be fully human: silence, something that is becoming ever rarer in our world. The writer, theologian, priest, practitioner of Zen meditation, and founder of the Amigos del Desierto association, Pablo d’Ors (Spain), and the publisher and writer Mónica Nepote (Mexico), talk to the book’s editor, José Manuel Velasco.
One of the few positive consequences of the pandemic has been the rediscovery of the streets of our towns and cities, giving greater importance to the “local”, as expressed in concepts such as local commerce and community culture. This has increased awareness of the fact that global participation means a closer link with what is closest to us. The world of the book is not unconnected to this phenomenon, and so the importance of different cultural agents in the local setting has been made clear. Reflecting on this will be the Queretarans Eduardo de la Garma, of La Comezón bookshop; Jacobo Zanella, of Gris Tormenta publishers; and Ana Paula Zárate, of Casablanca Colectivo. They will talk about the present and the future with Gabriel Hörner.
Luz del Carmen Magaña es artista plástica y doctora en Artes por la Universidad de Guanajuato y posdoctorante por la Universidad de Barcelona. Su trabajo artístico e investigación está impregnado de su gran interés por el feminismo. Ha sido artista residente y participado en diplomados en centros en España, Cuba, Estados Unidos, Argentina, Costa Rica y Canadá. Su obra se encuentra expuesta alrededor de México, así como en el extranjero. Conversará sobre su obra y su proceso creativo.
Evento para estudiantes universitarios
The chair of the Colombian Truth Commission, Francisco de Roux, will talk about this extraordinary analysis carried out in the country in order to establish a legal and sociological framework given the impact of decades of violence. The work of this commission has become a model for similar peace processes around the world. De Roux will talk to the editor of El País Mexico, Jan Martínez Ahrens.
Event organised together with El País
Among the many things wrong with our current socioeconomic system is not just the fact that healthcare is a privilege for the few, but that a whole illness industry exists that is structured around making a profit from those who are unwell, often with serious illnesses. The poet, essayist and lecturer Anne Boyer (United States) won the 2020 Pulitzer Prize for Nonfiction for The Undying. A Meditation on Modern Illness, an acute and lucid work that tells of her own experience as a survivor of an aggressive breast cancer, which led her to live through and understand some chilling realities. Boyer is also the author of books such as The Romance of Happy Workers (2008), The 2000s (2009), Garments Against Women (2015) and A Handbook of Disappointed Fate (2018). In conversation with Eduardo Rabasa.
Simultaneous translation from English to Spanish available
The Queretaro writer and publisher Braulio Guerra Mendoza is the winner of the second State Competition for Young Adult Literature, run by the Queretaro State Department for Youth in 2020. That same year he was a fellow of the San Miguel de Allende International Writers’ Festival. He is the author of the books Microcuentos del Mago and 8 cuentos sobre el espíritu animal. He will give a workshop on writing stories.
Event for university students
Based on an academic musical education and well as a profound interest in different kinds of music, such as Mexican popular music and jazz, Saxodia has created a unique style for saxophone quartets. The group was founded in Queretaro city in 2006 with the goal of creating a space for young people to learn the instrument and experiment with its possibilities. To end the day, the ensemble will offer a concert that fuses the best of jazz with some Mexican touches.
The writer Muriel Barbery (France) has brought joy to millions of readers with the novel The Elegance of the Hedgehog, winner of the French Booksellers’ Prize, a The New York Times bestseller, and made into a film in 2008. Her most recent book is A Single Rose (2021), the story of Rose, a 40-year-old woman who travels for the first time in her life to Japan in order to read the will of her father, whom she never met. On the trip, she unearths the secrets of her family’s past and discovers the fascinations of Japanese culture. She will talk to the writer and journalist Felipe Restrepo Pombo.
Simultaneous translation from French to Spanish available
With the support of the French Embassy in Mexico and the French Alliance
The Argentinean cartoonist Liniers has become one of the best-known practitioners of the genre on the international scene, attracting comparisons with the impact made in their day by figures such as Quino and Fontanarrosa. His famous comic strip Macanudo, with its unique and dreamlike fantasy elements, is read around the world. He also specializes in giving curious portraits of everyday reality, through characters such as Enriqueta, the girl who loves to read; the adorable monster Olga; and the Mysterious Man in Black. Liniers has also done front covers for magazines including The New Yorker, and album covers for musicians such as Kevin Johansen and Andrés Calamaro. Furthermore, he has founded the publishing company Común. His most recent book, for children, is called Flores salvajes. Liniers will share the secrets of his own particular universe with a Hay Festival audience. He will talk to Mariana H.
For children aged 4 to 12
The Cuadernos Hispanoamericanos project aims to boost knowledge and exchange between writers of different generations and nationalities, united by a single language and a literary tradition enriched by authors of diverse origins. The initiative consists of having an established author select a young writer from the other side of the Atlantic. For the 2021 Hay Festival Queretaro, the Spanish writer and filmmaker, David Trueba, will talk to the award-winning writer Fernanda Melchor (Mexico), author of novels such as Temporada de huracanes and Páradais, her most recent work. This is a meeting to build bridges between different continents and perceptions.
With the support of AECID
Probably many curious children have asked some of the following questions: what is the radio? What makes it create sound? What are the basic elements inside a radio set? What is a presenter? What are advertisements for? At this interesting, fun event, Tere Alcántara will explain all this and answer other questions, as well as teaching us how to make a homemade microphone with an empty milk carton, a piece of cloth, a hands-free set with a wire, glue and scissors.
Ages 6 and over
The Argentinean writer Pola Oloixarac, selected by Granta magazine as one of the best Spanish-language fiction writers in 2010, was awarded the 2020 Eccles Centre & Hay Festival Prize, being awarded a research period at the British Library to carry out investigation for her project about the Amazonian literary world, Atlas de la Amazonía (2021). The French writer Patrick Deville has published Amazonia (soon to be published in Spanish), which tells the story of the journey he undertook with his son along the river; the book explores the legend of the river of a thousand secrets, covers the first European intrusions, and invites the reader on a beautiful geographical, historical and literary journey. They will talk to the Colombian writer Santiago Gamboa about the challenge of writing about this region through experience and research.
Event in Spanish and French with Spanish subtitles
With the support of Eccles Centre for American Studies
Daniel Krauze (Mexico) is a fiction and screenwriter, author of two books of short stories and two novels, including Fallas de origen, winner of the 2012 Letras Nuevas Prize. His most recent book, Tenebra (2021), tells the story of a Mexican politician told through the book’s two main characters, Julio Rangel, who works with senator Óscar Luna, and Martín Ferrer, a man obsessed with this politician. The award-winning writer and journalist, Santiago Roncagliolo, (Peru) was selected in 2007 as one of the 39 best Latin American fiction writers aged under 40. His novel Abril rojo won the 2006 Alfaguara Novel Prize. His most recent novel, Y líbranos del mal (2021), is about the terrible family secrets uncovered by the protagonist, Jimmy, when he travels from Lima to Miami to care for his ill grandmother. In conversation with the writer Liliana Blum.
The writer and journalist Laura Castellanos and the illustrator Brenda Castro present La marcha del #TerremotoFeminista, an illustrated work of non-fiction that contextualizes feminism, from the origins of the patriarchy to the feminist movements of the 21st century. Readers follow Sofi, a teenager who joins the demonstrations that are protesting the oppression of the patriarchal system, and with whom we learn about all the victories won, and about all that still remains to be done.
From 12 years on
The eminent Mexican writer Cristina Rivera Garza, award-winning novelist, essayist, librettist and poet, including some of the great works of Spanish-language literature such as No One Will See Me Cry (2003). She presents El invencible verano de Liliana (2021), an unsettling testimony by the author about the femicide of her sister, Liliana Rivera Garza, an architecture student who decided to take control of her life and leave an abusive relationship that had been going on for years, until her life was ended by her former partner. The book tells a terrible story that is the result of the system of patriarchal violence that we are all caught up in. Rivera Garza will talk to Guillermo Núñez about this powerful work.
Joselo Rangel is a founder member, guitarist and song-writer with one of the great bands of Mexican rock, Café Tacvba. He has also had a respected literary career, with the publication of the book of essays Crócknicas marcianas, followed by the book of short stories One hit wonder (2015), the novel Los desesperados (2018) and his most recent book, La niña aburrida (2021). He will talk about the links between music and literature, his literary work, and the book he is writing now, with Mariana H.
Rosa Beltrán (Mexico) is an acclaimed novelist, short story writer, essayist, translator and Doctor of Comparative Literature. She has been a professor in Mexico, the United States, Spain and Israel. She is the author of six novels, the most recent of which is Radicales libres (2021), a novel in which the author examines the life of Rosa Beltrán, and explores over six decades of Mexican history through the experiences of women from three different generations. In conversation with Liliet Heredero.
Is the human brain still evolving? Are the new technologies affecting it? The Argentinean neurologist Facundo Manes studied at the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Buenos Aires and is a Doctor of Science from the University of Cambridge. He has published various books and produced television programmes such as Los enigmas del cerebro and Cerebro argentino, together with the Literature graduate Mateo Niro. His latest book, written with Niro, is called El cerebro del futuro: ¿Cambiará la vida moderna nuestra esencia?, and it tackles themes such as interdisciplinary work, the impact of the new technologies on the brain, neuroethics, how to treat mental illnesses and the role of science when dealing with social problems. He will talk to the BBC journalist Carlos Serrano.
With the support of 3M
Juan Villoro is one of the most multi-talented, high-profile and prolific writers on the contemporary Spanish-language literary scene. He has won many awards, including the José Donoso Prize in Chile, Spain’s Herralde Prize, Cuba’s Arguedas Prize, the Villaurrutia Prize in Mexico and the Argentinean ACE Award. He has lectured at UNAM, Yale, Princeton and Stanford. His body of work includes plays, articles, literary non-fiction and children’s books, as well as major novels such as El testigo and Llamadas de Ámsterdam, and the book of short stories The Guilty. His most recent novel is entitled La tierra de la gran promesa, and it tells the story of Diego González, a documentary writer who moves to Barcelona to film his latest work, his first ever non-political production. His plans change with a journalist starts to get him involved in an unsolved case of a drugs boss who has featured in one of his documentaries. The protagonist, immersed in politics once again, returns to Mexico to clear up the situation, as well as his own past.
Ellipsis is a Hay Festival and British Council project that brings together young editors and writers from all over Mexico to take part in a series of writing and editing courses and, over the course of a year, publish an anthology of short stories. Two generations of young people have had the Ellipsis experience as part of the Hay Festival Queretaro, the first with twelve participants in 2018 and the second with 20 in 2019. Ana Laura Bravo (writer, 2019), Andrea Capetillo (writer, 2019) and Julio Villanueva (editor, 2018) will talk to the Arts Director of the British Council Mexico, Pamela Zúñiga.
With the support of the British Council
Perhaps the issue of greatest urgency today is the terrible impact that human activity is having on the planet Earth, threatening thousands of species and ecosystems with extinction, and even putting the viability of our own species at risk. Books such as The Sixth Extinction are of great importance for teaching us about this situation. This international bestseller by the journalist Elizabeth Kolbert (United States) won the Pulitzer Prize for Nonfiction in 2015. In this work the author looks at how human activity has disturbed the balance of nature, to the point that it is the greatest threat to the planet’s biodiversity and on the point of causing the world’s next mass extinction. Kolbert has written regularly for The New Yorker since 1999, specializing in scientific subjects, and in her most recent book, Under a White Sky (2021), she asks what can be done to stop and repair the damage being caused by humans, looking particularly at the work of biologists, engineers and researchers who work tirelessly for the conservation and restoration of nature. In conversation with Carla Santana Torres.
Simultaneous translation from English to Spanish available
At a time so polarized as the present, where the public conversation looks more like a competition to see who can impose their view most stridently, dialogue and the ability to listen and to see the world from others’ points of view have become more important than ever as a way to understand each other. So, as a festival of conversations, we are committed to the power of dialogue to build agreement and redefine our present and our future. As part of this spirit, this event brings together the Mixe linguist, writer and activist Yásnaya Elena Aguilar; the actor, director and activist Diego Luna; and the writer and journalist Antonio Ortuño; in conversation with the El País journalist, Javier Lafuente, to exchange points of view on how we can talk about Mexico.
The effects of the pandemic have been terrible in terms of its consequences on the health and economies of so many, and artistic creation has not been exempt from great difficulties and transformations. Although a lockdown might seem to create the conditions necessary for making art, many writers have talked about their incapacity to do so, among other reasons, because the strange idea that reality might be wilder than fiction had come to pass. Three Latin American writers talk about their personal experiences in the strangest year in recent history. Pilar Quintana (Colombia), Carmen Rioja (Mexico) and Santiago Roncagliolo (Peru), will talk about literature and the pandemic with Imanol Martínez.
La Delicia de Alicia play a vibrant, elegant, modern and experimental mixture of jazz with elements of pop genres such as funk, rock and hip hop, topped off with the addition of afrobeat, Latin jazz and Eastern rhythms. To bring a delightful end to the festival Saturday, we present the grooves of La Delicia de Alicia.
The greatest loss of the pandemic has been the disaster of millions of people losing their own lives or loved ones to the illness, and so this event is proposed as a homage to every one of them, through the art and work of acclaimed writers. This reading is part of a global action that began with the Berlin International Literature Festival (https://www.literaturfestival.com/), at which many cultural organizations around the world commemorated those who are no longer with us, through poetry and literature. With the participation of Gabriela Aguirre (Mexico), Rocío G. Benítez (Mexico), Anne Boyer (United States), Mererid Hopwood (United Kingdom), Daria Larisa Juárez (Mexico) and Rafael Volta (Mexico).
Event in English and Spanish with Spanish subtitles
With the support of the Arts Council of Wales
Alfredo García Servín is an award-winning author of more than thirty children’s books, a playwright and storyteller. In this workshop, the author will share some of his own stories, to then delve into some techniques of oral storytelling. The children can then move on to create their own stories with items from the room such as blackboards, lamps, doors and windows. Later on, the participants will create their own stories in which the main characters are a flowerpot, a book, a TV or a mural. At the end, with finished stories, the children will dramatize their literary creations.
For children ages 8 to 13
The German historian, writer and journalist Philipp Blom has established himself in recent years as an author of many talents, writing works on the history of knowledge, essays and novels that have been translated and published around the world. His two most recent works Nature’s Mutiny (2020) and Was auf dem Spiel steht (2021) respectively tackle a previous period of climate change and what that meant for society, and some of the most urgent matters facing us today with all their natural and socio-political circumstances and difficulties, with an emphasis on the need to prepare for the coming transformations. In conversation with Juan Carlos Pérez.
Simultaneous translation from English to Spanish available
With the support of the Goethe Institut
Latin American literature is in a process of renewal and growth, given strength by new, young voices who are breaking with established formal and thematic norms, offering readers the chance to see contemporary Latin American realities from very different perspectives. On this occasion we bring together two of those voices, selected from the recent list drawn up by Granta magazine, which has named the 25 best young Spanish-language fiction writers. Carlos Manuel Álvarez (Cuba) studied Journalism at the University of Havana, founded the independent magazine El Estornudo and has contributed to various international publications such as The New York Times, The Washington Post and El País. In 2017 he was selected as one of the 39 best Latin American writers under 40 for the Bogotá39 list. His most recent novel is Falsa guerra, in which a number of characters are drifting, in the geographical or figurative sense, in the USA, Europe or Cuba. Paulina Flores (Chile) is a Literature graduate from the University of Chile and is the author of Humiliation (Roberto Bolaño Prize), which has been acclaimed by critics. At this event she will present her novel Isla decepción, a story based on fact and set in Punta Arenas, Chile. In it, Marcela, the protagonist, leaves behind her life in Santiago to visit Miguel, her father, and to renew herself. There she discovers that Miguel is hiding a young Korean who has fled his country. Mónica Ojeda (Ecuador) is the author of the book of poetry El ciclo de las piedras (2015), of the novels La desfiguración Silva (2014), Mandíbula (2018) and Nefando (2016, 2019), and of the book of short stories Las voladoras (2020). She was also included in the Bogotá39-2017 list. In conversation with Francesco Manetto.
María Dueñas (Spain) is the author of the publishing phenomenon Time in Between (2009), which, apart from becoming a bestseller has also been made into an award-winning television series. She has since published four novels, the last of which has been Sira (2021), the sequel to Time in Between (2009). It is set after the Second World War in London, Jerusalem, Madrid and Tangiers and tells the story of Sira Bonnard, formerly Arish Agoriuq, formerly Sira Quiroga, who is working with the British Secret Services and is confronted with scenes of tension, tragedy, risk and also motherhood. María Dueñas talks about this memorable book with Irma Gallo.
The writer, priest and founder of the Amigos del Desierto association, Pablo d’Ors is the author of the unexpected publishing success Biografía del silencio (2012), an essay about introspection, meditation and spiritual contemplation. The author now presents Biografía de la luz (2021), a look at the life of Christ, the Gospel view of this extraordinary figure and how we can incorporate this into our everyday lives. He will be conversation with Juan Carlos Moreno Romo.
Cositas is a character created by the endearing Alma Gómez, who has been playing with children though tv for more than 30 years, and is now on social media. Gina Jaramillo is an art historian, coordinator of cultural projects and author of children’s books such as El sueño de Andrés (2019) and Cositas y Duna. Una aventura por la tierra (2021). This last book is an exploration of our planet’s diverse ecosystems and a look at some of the wonderful creatures that live in them. Alma and Gina will share the stories of this fabulous book, accompanied by a craft workshop that will give free rein to our imagination.
For children aged 5 to 8
If classic works have something in common, it is that they can be interpreted and reinterpreted again and again, each time finding new perspectives and possible meanings, and so each era has its own dialogue with the work. The entertaining and versatile Mexican illustrator, writer and musician Juan Gedovius presents Lewis Caroll’s great works, Alice in Wonderland, Through the Looking Glass and The Hunting of the Snark, illustrated by him. This activity is a look at the fantasy world of Lewis Carrol, with images shown to help the audience explore the English writer’s mythology. Here, Juan will share the story of Alice, the girl who, one summer’s day, saw a white rabbit with a jacket and a pocket watch, and followed it, falling into Wonderland and there discovering a strange, varied and unforgettable series of characters. Juan will share with us his own adventure of transforming this great story into his own images.
For children of all ages
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An outstanding figure in contemporary French philosophy is Jean-Luc Nancy, Professor of Philosophy and the author of over 30 books. In them he has dealt with major themes such as national identity and nationalisms, desire and the limits of community experience. His most recent book is Sexistence (2020), which tackles the topic of human sexuality from a philosophical point of view, returning to the ideas of great thinkers such as Kant and Freud, putting an emphasis on how our experience and relationship with sex creates and feeds the individual, civilization and culture. In conversation with Maria Konta.
Simultaneous translation from French to Spanish available
This documentary, directed by Luciana Kaplan, focusses on the extraordinary story of María de Jesús Patricio Martínez, better known as Marichuy, the first indigenous woman to aspire to become president of Mexico, in 2017. In the end, Marichuy did not become a candidate, falling short of achieving the number of signatures required by the National Electoral Institute; however, the articulation of her proposal achieved something much more important: to unify the struggles of the indigenous peoples of Mexico into a community force, one that proposes care for the environment as a central expectation. The documentary will be followed by a discussion involving its director, Luciana Kaplan, and Samantha César, a representative of the National Indigenous Council, from the Amilcingo community (Morelos); moderated by Sonia Corona, an El País journalist.
Language: Spanish, Maya, Yaqui, Wixárika
Duration of the documentary: 82 minutes
The acclaimed Colombian writer Juan Gabriel Vásquez, whose stories and novels have been translated into 30 languages, has won numerous awards, including the 2011 Alfaguara Novel Prize, the IMPAC Prize for The Sound of Things Falling and the 6th Biblioteca de Narrativa Colombiana Prize for the short story collection Songs for the Flames. His most recent novel, Volver la vista atrás, is based on the life of the famous Colombian film director, Sergio Cabrera. This portrait of a half century that changed the world is a fascinating social investigation, one that is intimate and political at the same time. Vásquez presents his book together with Cabrera, in conversation with Yael Weiss.
With the support of the Colombian Embassy in Mexico
Santiago Díez coordinates the Graphics Department of the Queretaro Centre for Emerging Art, a space that promotes the creation of artistic and cultural projects in the city. At this event, Santiago will teach the use of stencils, something essential for making street art as well as offering a medium for art in small formats as a form of expression for children and young people.
Ages 11 and over
In recent decades Roger Bartra has become an essential figure for understanding what it means to be Mexican today, based on key concepts such as melancholy and a national culture’s capacity for metamorphosis. Bartra has a doctorate in Sociology from the Sorbonne, is an Emeritus Professor at UNAM and has been a guest lecturer at different universities in Mexico, the United States and Spain. On this occasion, the event will focus on two books that are essential in order to understand his worldview, the essays Chamanes y robots: Reflexiones sobre el efecto placebo y la conciencia artificial, and Melancolía y cultura. In conversation with Jacobo García.
Pilar Quintana (Colombia) is the author of five novels and a book of short stories, works that have been translated into over 15 languages. She has won the Biblioteca de Narrativa Colombia Award and the PEN Translates Award for The Bitch, and won the 2021 Alfaguara Novel Prize for Los abismos, which tells the story of Claudia, a girl who lives with her parents in an apartment full of plants in Cali, absorbing the fears and troubles of the adults who raise her. In conversation with Elvira Liceaga.
Adrenalina is a documentary about the Coahuila Youth Integration Centre. Teenagers and children who have stayed there offer their testimony and act in dramatic works through which they represent the realities that led them to be at the centre. The result is a view of both individual responsibility and also of systemic catastrophe, with the children using their own words and tools to express a fragile setting rarely seen in art, one that allows us to see the deep wounds that violence has caused in our country.
Duration of the documentary: 29 minutes