Snippet: Catalan Wine Landscapes (a sketch book)

Swasky, Catalan Wine Landscapes, 2014.

This blogger saw the book at the local public library. The publisher seems to be really small as it is hard to come by any information on the web. The English introduction can be found on this blog – then the text continues in Catalan. Further down in the same article, there is also a short video in English, showing the artist at work.

Another title by the same artist: Enjoy Gaudí, 2013.

More on the (mainly) urban sketcher Swasky on his website.

SOURCE: La Conca 5.1 (blog of the Conca de Barbera region); (bookstore locator)


Snippet: Magazine texts by Fernando Assis Pacheco to be published in one volume

In November 2015, the publishing house Tinta-da-China, that recently acquired the rights to the author’s work, will release a collection of texts by Fernando Assis Pacheco (1937-1995) that previously had been published only as a serial in a satirical magazine, Bisnau, in the 1980s. It will be called Bronco Angel: O Cow-Boy Analfabeto, originally published under the pseudonym William Faulkingway. The texts are chronicles, but the book will be called a novel.

Journalist, humorist, poet, fiction author, critic, translator, Fernando Assis Pacheco stood out especially with chronicle, a genre in which he practised a refined and very peculiar sense of humor. Born in Coimbra in February of 1937, he was the son of a physician and a homemaker and the grandson of a Galician who marked his identity, in the same way as Galicia marked all of his creative path and provided him with environment and characters such as Benito Prada, the protagonist of his 1993 novel, Trabalhos e Paixões de Benito Prada [Work and passions of Benito Prada].

Journalist at O Jornal [The newspaper] and later with the magazine Visão [View], Assis Pacheco published five poetry collections, among them the anthology A Musa Irregular [Irregular muse] (1991), and also the novel Walt (1978) and the interview collection Retratos Falados [Spoken portraits] (2001). In 1995, he was next to one of the bookstores he frequented in Lisbon when he died of a heart attack. He was 58 years old. Ten years later his last poems were published under the title Respiração Assistida [Assisted breathing], maybe the most nostalgic work by Pacheco (or by Assis as he was called by those closest to him).

Bronco Angel: o Cow-Boy Analfabeto comes out in a moment when some of the titles by Assis Pacheco are out of the bookstores, estão fora das livrarias, with some editions outsold and others not reedited. After publishing this up to now unedited work by Pacheco, Tinta-da-China will republish his work at intervals dictated by the needs of the bookstores. Whenever an edition is outsold, the work will be republished in a new edition from the new label.

As far as this blogger could find out, Fernando Assis Pacheco is not available in English.

SOURCE: Isabel Lucas in Público, September 10, 2015

Snippet: José Saramago prize to Bruno Vieira Amaral

The Portuguese author, editor, translator (…) Bruno Vieira Amaral continues winning prizes for the same debut novel, As Primeiras Coisas [First things] – you can read more on the book, which hasn’t been translated to other languages so far, in this 2014 post.

The Prémio José Saramago is a biannual award given by the Fundação Círculo de Leitores [readers’ circle foundation] to authors younger than 35 at the moment of writing the winning novel, and endowed with 25,000 EUR. Previous winners were Paulo José Miranda, José Luís Peixoto, Adriana Lisboa, Gonçalo M. Tavares, Valter Hugo Mãe, João Tordo,  Andréa del Fuego and Ondjaki.

SOURCE: Público, Oct. 20, 2015

Snippet: Roser Caminals’ “The night’s allies”

This blogger had never heard of Roser Caminals, a Catalan writer and professor of Spanish literature at Hood College [had never heard of the latter either ;-)]. There is more bio- and bibliographical information on the Catalan writers’ association’s page, and in the Wikipedia article.

The publisher’s summary of her latest novel, Els aliats de la nit [The night’s allies]:

Barcelona, 1941: Fede [a man] starts working as a sales rep for a German pharmaceuticals company, a job that makes him travel all over Catalonia and especially to Andorra, a neutral frontier den where during these convulsed years there coincide German and English spies, old [Spanish] Republicans and Central-European fugitives on their flight from Nazism. Reluctantly, Fede gets involved in a spy plot to unmask fascim’s abuses, through which it is intended to save a few Central-European refugees. Set in the early 1940s in the context of the Second World War, when it seemed as if the Nazis would get hold of Europe, the novel Els aliats de la nit narrates the vicissitudes of different Catalan, Spanish and Central-European characters during these dark years. Full of secret agents, smugglers and people in motion in flight from Nazism, Roser Caminals recreates the lives of some anonymous heroes in convulsed times. lists Caminals’ The streets of the three beds (description) and Once remembered, twice lived (description) as available in English, as well as some of her translations of other Iberian authors into English.

Most of her novels are set in Barcelona, and according to the critic Guillamon, all deal with freedom.

SOURCE: Grup 62 (publisher); review by Julià Guillamon in “Cultura/s”, La Vanguardia, October 17, 2015, p. 8-9 [printed edition]

Snippet: Planeta prize to Giménez Bartlett

This year’s winner of the Planeta prize, Alicia Giménez Bartlett, has been featured as a crime novel author on this blog before, cf. these posts from 2014 and 2015. (As to the Planeta prize, cf. the Wikipedia article here.)

This year’s winning novel is entitled Hombres desnudos [Naked men], the story of a fatal couple relationship that started in the world of male prostitution. The runner-up, always rumored to be the better book and still endowed with 150,000 EUR, is the film director Daniel Sánchez Arévalo’s La isla de Alice [Alice’s island], where a woman tries to reconstruct the mysterious death of her husband.

Alicia Giménez Bartlett  (Almansa, Albacete, 1951) is an established crime novel author from before this genre became fashionable. The 10 novels around the inspector Petra Delicado have been very successful internationally (they have been translated into 15 languages and won prizes such as the Raymond Chandler one). In Spain it became popular due to a TV series.

Daniel Sánchez Arévalo (Madrid, 1970) is a movie scriptwriter, producer and director. He has directed various short films and four movies: Azuloscurocasinegro [Darkbluenearlyblack; 2006], Gordos [Obese; 2009], Primos [Cousins; 2011] and La gran familia española [The great Spanish family; 2013]. As a writer he has published two juvenile books: La maleta de Ignacio Karaoke [Ignacio Karaoke’s suitcase] and 31 de junio de 1993 [31 June 1993]. Since 1995 he has worked as a scriptwriter, starting with TV series. For his scripts of Gordos and La gran familia española he was nominated for the Goya [read Spanish Oscar] for best screenplay.

SOURCE: article by Carles Geli in El País, Oct. 15, 2015

Snippet: October 3, 2015 – “Negra y Criminal” bookstore shuts down

Apart from being the 25th anniversary of German reunification, October 3 was also the last day of “Negra y Criminal” as a Barcelona bookstore specialized in crime novels. It’s name derived from the Spanish term “novela negra” (literally “black novel”) that means “crime novel”. According to La Vanguardia‘s crime novel critic Lilian Neuman, it started as a crazy project in 2002 and ended as a centre of reference, for the exchange of ideas and of cultural radiation for writers, readers and publishers. The initiators behind the project have been Montse Clavé and Paco Camarasa (the latter is also the curator of the “BCNegra” crime novel week). They specialized in crime novels when the genre was still observed with suspicion by the guardians of high culture, and created a space for encounters between often little-known authors and their potential readers. The end of the bookstore-part of the project “Negra y Criminal” is blamed on the success of crime novels, especially after Stieg Larsson’s Millennium trilogy, as mainstream books sold everywhere (traditional bookstores, hypermarkets, online). The readers, or not as many readers as in the past, don’t need to go to a specialized bookstore any longer. “Negra y Criminal” will continue with their book clubs and remain their documentary activity. Their website and (wordpress-powered) blog are still operative.

SOURCE: Negra y Criminal; Lilian Neuman, “Cultura/s”, La Vanguardia, Oct. 3, 2015, p. 12-13 (printed edition)