There are questions that have been in the minds of humans since we emerged as enquiring beings: are the stars inhabited? Or are we alone in the universe? The guest who will discuss this matter with us is Carlos Briones (Spain), a doctor of science, a specialist in biochemistry and molecular biology and a researcher at the Council of Scientific Research’s Astrobiology Centre in Spain, an organization affiliated with NASA. Briones is the author of the book ¿Estamos solos? En busca de otras vidas en el cosmos, in which he takes up this question from an interdisciplinary viewpoint, looking at the history of how humans have reflected on extraterrestrial life not only from a scientific perspective, but also through art, literature, philosophy, music and science fiction. Briones is a dedicated Third Culture advocate, supporting the integration of the sciences, humanities and the arts. He will talk to Criseida Ruiz Aguilar.
With the support of Acción Cultural Española (AC/E)
The writer Mónica Lavín is considered to be one of the most interesting voices on the contemporary Mexican cultural scene. A prolific author of over 20 books, including novels, short story collections and four books of non-fiction. She has won a number of awards, including a Canadian Governor General’s Award and the Elena Poniatowska Ibero-American Novel Prize for her powerful and iconic novel Yo, la peor, about Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz. She is a columnist for El Universal newspaper and presents programmes for channels Once and 22 that feature interviews with writers. In her most recent book, Últimos días de mis padres, the author deals with the death of her father, followed by the death of her mother. At this event, Lavín will offer a literary workshop at which the participants will create an exquisite corpse in order to cover the issue of narrative elements, and then do a short story writing challenge.
The zoologist, educator and communicator Andrés Cota Hiriart (Mexico) presents his very special Fieras familiares, inviting us to think about and celebrate biodiversity with a collection of personal essays in which he talks about his interactions and experiences with very different animals in different parts of the world. A collaborator with media outlets such as Vice, Letras Libres and Gatopardo, coordinator of the Sociedad de Científicos Anónimos, lecturer in Literature at the Escuela Superior de Cine film school and creator of the podcast Masaje Cerebral, he studied Biology at UNAM and did a Master’s in Communications at Imperial College, London. He is also the author of the novel Cabeza ajena (2017) and of the non-fiction publications Faunologías (2015) and El ajolote: Biología del anfibio más sobresaliente del mundo (2016). He will talk to Julieta Díaz Barrón.
This experience is oriented towards those who are parents, accompany and take care of children, and to people who promote ways of living that focus on childhood. What are the rights of children and what can we do to respect them? How do we accompany girls, boys and children so that they can feel and be free? In an open conversation with Gina Jaramillo and Germán Paley, who promote the Collective Niñeces Presentes, we will discover how to make the world go around in favour of children. Far from stereotypes and social norms, this is a playful invitation to rethink everything we learned about childhood and this way favour new models of learning and living together so that children can be the main characters.
Elisa Guerra (Mexico), a researcher and educator, will talk to Gina Jaramillo (Mexico), the organizer of the international Free and Diverse Childhood and Adolescence events, about the urgent matter of education in Mexico and how to establish new systems that guarantee a quality, free, universal education for all. Elisa Guerra (Mexico) lectures in Education at Harvard University. In 2015 she was named Best Educator in Latin America and the Caribbean by the Inter-American Development Bank, and was shortlisted for the Global Teacher Prize –considered to be the Nobel of education– in 2015 and 2016. She is a member of UNESCO’s International Commission on the Futures of Education and co-author of the Reimagining Our Futures Together: A New Social Contract for Education report. She is also the author or co-author of over 25 text books, children’s tales and educational books. She has given lectures in English and Spanish in 18 countries around the world. Guerra is the founder of the Valle de Filadelfia Schools Network, which has a presence in five Latin American countries. In 2017, the television company Al Jazeera (Qatar) made a documentary about her, recognizing her proposal as one of the six most important educational innovations around the world.
Some of the simplest questions are also some of the most profound, taking us into both the history of human development and the very workings of nature. Why does it rain? Where does space begin? It is questions like these that form the starting point for Algo nuevo en los cielos, a book that leads us on a personal and scientific journey into the secrets of the atmosphere, while also covering the ascent of humankind into the skies, expanding our view of the universe. Its author, Antonio Martínez Ron (Spain), is a journalist, scientist and writer. He has worked as a scientific educator for different print, radio and television media outlets and has received major awards, such as the Ondas Prize and the Concha García Campoy Prize. This event will introduce us to meteorologists, pilots, poets and storm hunters to tell us the story of what Martínez Ron believes to be one of the most fascinating adventures that humans have ever undertaken. En conversation with Karla Vázquez Parra.
Two lives lived four centuries apart cross over in the latest novel by Lucía Lijtmaer (Argentina/Spain). Cauterio (2022) tells the story of two women who feel the need to flee: one from 17th-century London, where her ideals make her a threat, to the New World; another from Barcelona to Madrid, tormented by a recent breakup and her conviction that an apocalypse is coming. The critic and writer Lucía Lijtmaer offers two stories that shed light on and ask questions of gender roles in two very different eras; it also shows us a decadent world, one ready to be delivered to the flames: the fire will cauterize everything. In conversation with María José Vázquez de la Mora.
With the support of Acción Cultural Española (AC/E)
Despite the fact that Juan Rulfo is one of the most studied and commented on writers of recent decades, his work seems to be an endless source, always open to new interpretations and points of view. The academic, Doctor in Latin American Literature from the University of Pennsylvania and writer Francisco Carrillo (Spain) is the author of the book of essays Fuera de foco. Cinco derivas por la obra de Juan Rulfo, which give a new approach to the life and work of one of the most universal, iconic and influential Mexican writers. For those who think they know everything about Rulfo.
Caitlin Moran (United Kingdom) won a British Press Award for Best Columnist of the Year in 2010 and two more for Best Critic and Best Interviewer in 2011. She is the author of the award-winning book of non-fiction How To Be a Woman (2014), a testimony that has been considered essential reading for our times. She now presents More Than a Woman (2022), which takes up the concerns of the previous book from the perspective of a woman aged over forty and deals with the new issues that arise with age: sexuality, changes in one’s body, professional life, motherhood, domestic life, relations with teenagers and older people… Caitlin Moran has written a brave and intimate manifesto about the life experiences of a middle-aged woman in the 21st century. In conversation with Paulina Macías.
Event in English
The Nobel prize-winner Tawakkol Karman will talk about the importance of access to quality public education and information as essential tools for creating a free, critical public that can contribute to transforming the world. Tawakkol Karman (Yemen) is a human rights activist, journalist and politician. Known as “the mother of the revolution”, “the iron woman” and “the lady of the Arab spring”, Karman played a key role in the 2011 pro-democracy youth uprising in Yemen. She was awarded the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize, together with Ellen John Sirleaf and Leymah Gbowee, in recognition of her leadership in the non-violent struggle and her work against authoritarianism, corruption and oppression. Karman is the first Arab woman and the second Muslim woman to win the Peace Prize and when she received the award she was the youngest ever winner, aged just 32. She will talk to Lorena Alcalá Cabrera.
Event in English
The multiple award-winning Lydiette Carrión is committed to investigating and documenting violence against women in Mexico. The outstanding book La fosa de agua is a record of her work, dealing with femicides in Ecatepec and Tecámac. Carrión won the 2012 Gender and Justice Prize, awarded by the Mexican Supreme Court, in the Written Report category; and the 2019 Gabo Prize in the Innovation category, for the collective project Mujeres en la Vitrina. In conversation with Iliana Padilla and Anabel Montserrat Pineda Rangel.
The “hard problem of consciousness” is one that we must return to again and again. The award-winning historian, psychiatrist and psychoanalyst George Makari explores this in his outstanding work of non-fiction, Soul Machine (2015). The author teases out the history of concepts such as “soul” and “mind”, and how one term came to replace the other along with advances in philosophy, science and psychology. The book tackles the relationship between body and mind, between brain and consciousness, the transition from religious paradigms to rationalist views on such matters, and the philosophical, political and ethical implications of these processes, resulting in the nuances of current thought in this area. In conversation with Eduardo Rabasa, who translated the book into Spanish.
Event in English
Cristina Fortuny (Venezuela) is an economist, writer, conference speaker and adopted Queretaran, and she has dedicated her life to closing the generation gap, promoting links between parents and children as the best protection against the challenges faced by children as they grow up surrounded by screens. Her book Crecer entre pantallas (2022) is about the uses and misuses that young people make of technology, and how parents can deal with this; it is about interacting with these devices, managing mental health, and realizing the potential that these technologies have when used well. In conversation with Imanol Martínez.
Dahlia de la Cerda (Mexico) is a fiction writer, activist and philosopher, distinguished with various awards for literature and creative pursuits. She is the co-founder of the Morras Help Morras organization, a feminist collective that works from and for the periphery, and author of Perras de reserva (2022), a powerful collection of stories in which the writer reveals some of the most unjust aspects of the patriarchy. The goal of this workshop is for its attendees to obtain basic tools to write their first narrative texts.
Elisa Guerra is a teacher, writer and friend to both children and trees. In 2015 she was named Best Educator in Latin America and the Caribbean by the Inter-American Development Bank, and has been shortlisted for the Global Teacher Prize twice. At this event she will talk about her latest book, Las voces de los árboles, in which she takes us to a parallel world where trees of different species and from different places around the world tell us their stories and lead us to reflect on the damage we are doing to the planet.