A boom in “webcomics”

The latest edition of “el mensual de 20minutos”, the monthly supplement to the free daily newspaper 20minutos, dedicated one of its stories to the new boom in “webcomics”, graphic novels often published solely on the Internet or by auto-edition. They try to put a touch of humor into the lives of ordinary Spaniards that often find few occasions for hearty laughter, and some of them try to “illustrate” their readers about the real causes of the current crisis, as the authors see them, and to lead them into action (“there is an alternative”).

The first of the publications presented was “Caniculadas” (title referring to the summer’s hottest “dog” days), a series of comics done by a female group of authors, first during the summer of 2011, and then continued in 2012. The stories deal with typical dilemmas of young people, especially women, living in today’s Spain – and these are treated with a healthy dose of irony and humor, as you would expect from a comic. “Caniculadas” have this website and this blog, and their work, among others, was presented on the Instituto Cervantes‘ [Spanish cultural institute] online TV here.

The “15 M[ay]” movement (Spanish “Occupy”) was the theme of “Yes We Camp! Trazos para una (R)evolución”; one can browse and download the whole book here.

Another project presented in the article was El Estafador [The swindler], a weekly digital publication with more than 11,000 subscribers.

Other authors and projects mentioned are El Roto (already established in the newspaper El País), Eneko (illustrator for the daily 20 minutos itself), and  Aleix Saló as the juvenile author of Españistán.

drawing by Darío Adanti

Of the drawings that accompanied the mentioned article this blogger liked most those by Darío Adanti, founding member of the weekly magazine Mongolia, that sees itself as a necessary antidote to political correctness.

Comics have become so popular, that Spanish National Public Radio channel “Radio 3” even dedicates a Saturday afternoon show called “La hora del bocadillo” [Sandwich hour] solely to comics and illustration. The podcasts can be found here.

[This post was inspired and fed by a fantastic article written in Spanish by Alba Muñoz that can be found here; there one can download a pdf version and see all the comics used to illustrate the article.]


20th anniversary of Pontas literary agents

Sergio Vila-Sanjuán wrote an article in La Vanguardia newspaper (Dec. 27, p. 36) on the author and literary agent Anna Soler-Pont whose agency Pontas celebrates its 20th anniversary these days. Soler-Pont started out as an indefatigable traveller to book fairs around the world, and she wanted to bring some balance as to gender and geographical origin into the Spanish publishing houses that were concentrated mainly on male authors from Western or Latin American countries. “The bases were feminism, literature, and interculturality,” according to Vila-Sanjuán. This meant that among her initial authors we find Nawal el Saadwi (Egypt),  Buchi Emecheta (Nigeria), or Pham Thi Hoài (Vietnam). Over the years, Soler-Pont has broadened her focus, so that today she looks back at over 1,000 titles sold to publishers, and her catalogue currently includes 77 authors, also male ones and those from Barcelona, such as Lluís Anton Baulenas, Robert Saladrigas, and Blanca Busquets. Her last “coup” was launching Jonas Jonasson to international fame.

Apart from her work as an agent, Soler-Pont acted as the spokesperson in Spain of the International Solidarity Committee in Defense of Taslima Nasrin (Bangladesh), and in 2007 as the commissioner of the project “Catalan Culture” for the Frankfurt book fair. She co-authered La filla del Ganges [The Ganges’s daughter] with Asha Miró.

Asked for a literary recommendation by the article’s author, Soler-Pont -“faithful to her origins”- named the Palestine author Susan Abulhawa.

An author’s twit on the current situation

Around two weeks ago (Dec. 15, 2012), La Vanguardia newspaper cited the writer Javier Pérez Andújar’s Twitter message that describes the current situation in Spain (blogger’s translation):

“The most desperate kill themselves, the young flee in hordes, there are only a few “shitty” jobs for millions of unemployed. Happy New Year.”


There is only a Spanish Wikipedia entry on this author of three novels so far.

Sant Jordi prize for Màrius Serra

During the “evening of  Catalan culture” (around Santa Lucia, Dec. 13) the writer and columnist Màrius Serra was awarded this years Sant Jordi prize for his novel Plans de futur [Plans for the future], in which he narrates the life of the Catalan mathematician Ferran Sunyer i Balaguer (1912-1967), the “Catalan Hawking” according to the title in La Vanguardia newspaper that takes up the fact that Ferran Sunyer was tetraplegic. Serra stressed that it is a novel, not a biography, and that his real protagonists are the women that lived at the side of Ferran Sunyer, his mother and two female cousins, Maria Carbona i Àngela Carbona.

The Wikipedia has this article on Serra.

Núria Pradas wins Carlemany prize

Núria Pradas (Barcelona, 1954) has won this year’s Carlemany prize for juvenile literature and the promotion of reading with her novel Sota el mateix cel [Under the same sky] that centers around the topics “love, war and repression”. The prize is awarded by the government of Andorra and Grup62, the biggest publishing group in Catalan with about 50% of the market, and also the Enciclopèdia Catalana foundation. Pradas is a well-known writer of children’s and juvenile books; since the appearance of Sol d’hivern [Winter Sun] in 1995, she has published 37 books.

The prize-winning novel is set in 1941 in a little village of Lower Normandy and deals with the relationship of the young local Claire and Geert, a Nazi soldier. A love that entails social conflicts. “They fall in love in the least adequate moment and place,” explained the author. She explained that she was interested to show the repression suffered by the French women who committed the error of falling in love with a German soldier, and who were not always collaborators of the occupying army.

The Carlemany prize is endowed with 10.000,- EUR. An expert jury selects three shortlisted candidates, and then a second jury, made up of nive young people of the age of 14 to 16, selects the winner.

[The information contained here appeared in an original article written by Lluís Llort in El Punt Avui newspaper.]

Arturo Pérez-Reverte and Tango



A new novel by one of Spain’s best-selling authors, “The old guard’s tango”. The daily El País has this short article in English. The Wikipedia offers more information on the author. Some of his titles are already available in English. The personal opinion of this blogger is that some of his titles are very well narrated but then disappoint at the finish-line, e.g. The Nautical Chart.