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2016 is the 400th anniversary of the death of both Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra and William Shakespeare.

Hay Festival runs programmes of events, festivals and projects around the world in English and Spanish.

To commemorate the anniversary of the deaths of Cervantes and Shakespeare, the two greatest writers in these languages, and to continue investing in the promotion of contemporary literature, Hay Festival has produced Lunatics, Lovers and Poets: Twelve Stories after Cervantes and Shakespeare.

  • Lunatics Lovers and Poets cover
  • Lunaticos Amantes y Poetas cover

In Lunatics, Lovers and Poets, contemporary English and Spanish-language writers respond to work by the writer in the other language, in the form of specially commissioned short stories.

The anthology is introduced by Salman Rushdie and has been produced in conjunction with Acción Cultural Española and the British Council and is published in English by And Other Stories and in Spanish by Galaxia Gutenberg.

Reviews in English:
Publishers Weekly    i (from The Independent)    The Guardian    English Language Broadcast

Reviews in Spanish:
El Mundo    Lavanguardia    Eldiario    noticiasdenavarra

Partners ACE logo British Council logo
Rhidian Brook

Rhidian Brook is an award-winning writer of fiction, television drama and film. His novels have been translated into 24 languages and adapted for screen. His short stories have been broadcast on BBC Radio 4 and published in magazines including The Paris Review, Time Out and The New Statesman. He is a regular contributor to ‘Thought for the Day’ on the Today programme. Rhidian lives in London with his wife and two children.

Deborah Levy

Deborah Levy writes fiction, plays and poetry. Her work has been staged by the Royal Shakespeare Company, and she is the author of highly praised books including The Unloved, Swallowing Geography, and Beautiful Mutants. Her novel Swimming Home was shortlisted for the 2012 Man Booker Prize, 2012 Specsavers National Book awards and 2013 Jewish Quarterly Wingate Prize. Her recent short story collection, Black Vodka, was broadcast on BBC Radio 4. Things I Don’t Want to Know is the title of Levy’s sparkling response to George Orwell’s essay Why I Write, an autobiographical essay on writing, gender politics and philosophy. Her collection of poetry, An Amorous Discourse in the Suburbs of Hell, was inspired by William Blake’s vision of angels perched in a tree on Peckham Rye.

Nell Leyshon

Nell Leyshon is an award-winning playwright and novelist. Her first novel, Black Dirt, was long-listed for the Orange Prize and The Colour of Milk has been published worldwide. Her plays include Comfort Me with Apples, which won the Evening Standard Award for most promising playwright, and Bedlam, the first play written by a woman to be performed at Shakespeare’s Globe. Nell also writes for BBC Radio 3 and 4, and her first radio play, Milk, won The Imison Award for best audio drama script. She taught creative writing for many years with marginalised communities, and is on the Management Committee of the Society of Authors.

Hisham Matar

Hisham Matar’s novels, In the Country of Men (2006) — shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize — and Anatomy of a Disappearance (2011), have won several international prizes and been translated into 29 languages. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. He divides his time between London and New York, where he is the Weiss International Fellow in Literature and the Arts in the English Department at Barnard College, Columbia University. His new book, The Return, will be out in the summer of 2016.

Ben Okri

Ben Okri has published ten novels, three volumes of short stories, two books of essays, and three collections of poems. His work has been translated into more than 20 languages. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, honorary vice-president of English PEN and has been awarded the OBE. The recipient of many international honorary doctorates, his books have won numerous international prizes, including the Commonwealth Writers Prize for Africa, the Aga Khan Prize for Fiction, the Premio Grinzane Cavour, and the Chianti Ruffino-Antico Fattore International Literary Prize. He won the Booker Prize in 1991 for The Famished Road. Among his credits is the writing of the screenplay for the film N: The Madness of Reason. He is an honorary Fellow of Mansfield College, Oxford. Born in Nigeria, he lives in London. His latest novel, The Age of Magic, was published in 2014.

Kamila Shamsie

Kamila Shamsie is the author of six novels, including Burnt Shadows, which has been translated into more than 20 languages and was shortlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction, and A God in Every Stone which was shortlisted for the Bailey’s Women’s Prize for Fiction. Three of her other novels (In the City by the Sea, Kartography, Broken Verses) have received awards from the Pakistan Academy of Letters. A Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, and one of Granta’s Best of Young British Novelists, she grew up in Karachi and now lives in London.

Salman Rushdie

Salman Rushdie (introduction) is the author of 12 novels: Grimus, Midnight’s Children (which was awarded the Booker Prize in 1981), Shame, The Satanic Verses, Haroun and the Sea of Stories, The Moor’s Last Sigh, The Ground Beneath her Feet, Fury, Shalimar the Clown and The Enchantress of Florence, and Luka and the Fire of Life. His most recent novel, Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights, was published in September 2015.

He is also the author of a book of stories, East, West, and four works of non-fiction — Joseph Anton: A Memoir, Imaginary Homelands, The Jaguar Smile, and Step Across This Line. He is the co-editor of Mirrorwork, an anthology of contemporary Indian writing, and of the 2008 Best American Short Stories anthology.

Marcos Giralt Torrente

Marcos Giralt Torrente (Madrid, 1968) has published novels, collections of short stories and a memoir. In 2014 three of his works were translated into English. He has received several awards, such as the Herralde Prize in 1999 for his novel Paris; the Spanish National Book Award, in 2011; and in 2014, the European Strega Award for the italian version of his memoir Father and Son: A Lifetime. He was part of the Berlin Artist-in-Residence Programme in 2003.

Yuri Herrera

Yuri Herrera (Mexico, 1970) won the Premio Binacional de Novela Joven 2003 with his first novel Trabajos del reino, which also received the Otras Voces, Otros Ambitos prize for the best novel published in Spain in 2008. His second novel, Signs Preceding the End of the World, was shortlisted for the Rómulo Gallegos Prize. His work has been published in journals and newspapers in Spain, Latin America and the United States. His latest novel is The Transmigration of Bodies.

Valeria Luiselli

Valeria Luiselli (Mexico City, 1983) is a novelist (Faces in the Crowd) and essayist (Sidewalks) whose work has been published in the New York Times, the New Yorker, Granta, and McSweeney’s. In 2014, Faces in the Crowd was the recipient of the Los Angeles Times Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction and the National Book Foundation’s 5 Under 35 award.

Vicente Molina Foix

Vicente Molina Foix (España, 1946) is a dramatist, critic, and occasional film director. His poetry was included in the famous anthology Nueve novísimos poetas españoles (1970), but he has mostly published novels ever since: Busto (Premio Barral 1973), Los padres viudos (Premio Azorín 1983), La Quincena Soviética (Premio Herralde 1988) and y El abrecartas (Premio Salambó, National Literary Award, 2007). His latest work is the autobiographical novel El invitado amargo, coauthored by the poet Luis Cremades. He translated Hamlet, King Lear and The Merchant of Venice.

Soledad Purtolas

Soledad Puértolas (Spain, 1947) published her first novel, El bandido doblemente armado, in 1979. Since then, she has published eleven novels, six collections of stories, and several non fiction books on different subjects. Her latest published books are Mi amor en vano (novel), and El fin (stories). She is a member of the Royal Spanish Academy since 2008.

Juan Gabriel Vasquez

Juan Gabriel Vásquez (Bogotá, 1973) aside from writing novels, short stories and essays, Vá has translated into Spanish works from E.M. Forster, Victor Hugo, and John Hersey. He won the 2011 Alfaguara Novel Prize for The Sound of Things Falling and the 2014 International Dublin Literary Award. He has also published The Secret History of Costaguana (Qwerty Award), The Informers, and Las reputaciones (RAE Award, 2014). His collection of stories, The All Saints’ Day Lovers, has just been published in English.

Lisa M. Dillman teaches at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, and translates from the Spanish and Catalan. Her translations of Andrés Barba’s August, October and Yuri Herrera’s Signs Preceding the End of the World were published in 2015, and their next novels, Death of a Horse and The Transmigration of Bodies, respectively, are forthcoming in 2016.

Rosalind Harvey’s translation of Juan Pablo Villalobos’ novel Down the Rabbit Hole was shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award and the Oxford-Weidenfeld Prize. Her co-translation of Dublinesque by Enrique Vila-Matas was shortlisted for the 2013 Independent Foreign Fiction Prize and longlisted for the 2014 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. She is founding member and chair of the Emerging Translators Network and takes part in regular translation-related events in the UK.

Anne McLean has translated Latin American and Spanish novels, short stories, memoirs and other writings by many authors, including Héctor Abad, Julio Cortá, Ignacio Martínez de Pisón and Enrique Vila-Matas. Two of her translations have been awarded the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize: Soldiers of Salamis by Javier Cercas in 2004 and Evelio Rosero’s The Armies in 2009. The Sound of Things Falling, her translation of El ruido de las cosas al caer, by Juan Gabriel Vá, won the 2014 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award.

Christina MacSweeney’s translations of works byValeria Luiselli’s have been recognised in a number of literary prizes. She has also translated texts by such Latin American authors as Daniel Saldaña París, Elena Poniatowska and Silvina Ocampo. Her work has appeared on a variety of platforms, including Granta Online, Words without Borders, McSweeney’s, Quarterly Conversation and Litro Magazine, and in the anthology México20 (Pushkin Press, 2015).

Samantha Schnee is the founding editor of Words Without Borders. Her translation of Mexican author Carmen Boullosa’s Texas: The Great Theft (Deep Vellum, 2014) was shortlisted for the PEN America Translation Prize and won the Typographical Era Translation Award. Her translation of Spanish author Laia Fabregas’s Landing will be published next year by HispaBooks. She is also a trustee of English PEN.

Frank Wynne is a literary translator. He has translated over fifty works by French and francophone authors including Michel Houellebecq, Boualem Sansal and Ahmadou Kourouma, and by Spanish and Latin American authors including Pablo Picasso, Tomás Gonzá and Arturo Perez-Reverte. His translations have earned him a number of awards, including the 2002 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, the 2005 Independent Foreign Fiction Prize the 2008 Scott Moncrieff Prize, and the Premio Valle-Inclán in 2012 and again in 2014. He is a three-time winner of the CWA International Dagger. He has spent time as translator in residence at the Villa Gillet in Lyons and at the Santa Maddalena Foundation.

Daniel Hahn

Daniel Hahn is a writer, editor and translator (from Portuguese, Spanish and French), with forty-something books to his name. Recent books include The Oxford Companion to Children’s Literature and translations from Brazil, Spain and Angola.

Margarita Valencia

Margarita Valencia’s professional life has always linked her to books: as an editor, translator, literary critic, teacher. Her essays, columns and commentaries on books have been published, between others, at magazines such as El Malpensante, Arcadia or Trama&Textura. She writes a monthly column at ABC cultural. She has published Palabras desencadenadas (Granada, La Veleta, 2010; Universidad de Antioquia, 2013) and Un rebaño de elefantes (Pre-textos, 2014). She currently directs the radio programme Los libros, broadcasted nationally in Colombia. She created and directs since 2012 the Publishing Studies department at the Instituto Caro y Cuervo.


 
 

Events Timeline
January
Publication in Arcadia magazine of two of the stories: Deborah Levy and Juan Gabriel Vásquez
Event at the Hay Festival Cartagena de Indias, Colombia about Shakespeare and Cervantes with Hisham Matar, Deborah Levy and Nell Leyshon in conversation with Daniel Hahn
March
16 March - press launch of the project and book: Lunatics, Lovers and Poets: Twelve Stories after Cervantes and Shakespeare at the Acción Cultural Española office in Madrid
April
7 April - Biblioteca Nacional, Madrid event about Lunatics, Lovers and Poets: Twelve Stories after Cervantes and Shakespeare, with Marcos Giralt Torrente, Vicente Molina Foix and Nell Leyshon. This event will be streamed live at Biblioteca Nacional de España
12 April - launch of Lunatics, Lovers and Poets at The British Library, London
May
1 May 2pm - Carpa Arcadia (Filbo), Bogota - Launch at the Bogota Book Fair of Lunatics, Lovers and Poets, with the participation of three of the writers of the Anthology: Kamila Shamsie, Juan Gabriel Vásquez and Marcos Giralt Torrente. This event will be introduced by Amalia De Pombo (Hay Festival) and moderated by the Anthology's editor Margarita Valencia.
Hay Festival in Wales events with the authors of the anthology
September
Hay Festival Querétaro events to highlight the project
Hay Festival Segovia events with the authors of the anthology
October
Hay Festival Mexico events to highlight the project
November
Hay Festival Arequipa, Peru events to highlight the project