Event 11

Almudena Grandes in conversation with Ana Gavín

In the gloom of Franco’s insane asylums

Venue: Teatro Juan Bravo

By the time Almudena Grandes published Inés y la alegría in 2010, she was already a well-established and renowned author, and probably did not suspect that the series in which she portrays the life of Spanish postwar society and the hardest times of Franco's regime would flourish as it did. Her latest novel, La madre de Frankenstein, is the fifth of the Episodios de una Guerra Interminable (Episodes of a Never-ending War) series for which she received the National Prize for Narrative for the preceding instalment Los pacientes del señor García (The Patients of Mr García). In this latest episode, Grandes revisits the insane asylums of the Fifties in Spain setting the story in the mental sanatorium of Ciempozuelos. She delves into the life of Aurora Rodríguez – a strange character who raised her daughter to become a superwoman and when she was about to make it, she killed her. Spaniards learned about the case in Fernando Fernán Gómez’s film ‘Mi hija Hildegart’, but the author focuses on the mother’s strange personality in a narrative that also looks into the difficult relationship of a couple in the midst of NationalCatholicism. Grandes has written 13 novels, seven of which have been adapted for the screen. Her work has been translated into more that 20 languages and she has garnered multiple awards, among them the Elena Poniatowska Spanish-American Novel Prize and the Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz. She has a regular column in El País.

She speaks with Ana Gavín, Director of Editorial Affairs for Grupo Planeta.

Photography of Ana Gavín: © Ricardo Martín, courtesy of Grupo Planeta

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