Snippets: Madrid and Lisbon book fairs 2016

2016 Emilio Gil


75th edition

27 May – 12 June 2016, Retiro park

367 booths, 479 exhibitors: 26 official organisms, 10 distributors, 63 specialized booksellers, 56 general booksellers, 324 publishing houses

special guest country: France

opening hours (“for the heat-resistant only”): 11 am – 2 pm, 6 pm – 9:30 pm

official website (in Spanish only)


86ª Feira do Livro de Lisboa


86th edition

26 May – 13 June 2016, Eduardo VII park

277 booths, also: show cooking, cinema

opening hours: afternoons until 11 pm, weekend until midnight

official website (in Portuguese only)

SOURCE:”Cultura/s”, La Vanguardia, May 28, 2016, p. 14 (printed edition; Madrid numbers); Público May 23, 2016 (Lisbon numbers + image)


Snippet: French lit price for a work written in Portuguese

On May 14, 2016, Ondjaki  received the Prix Littéraire Monde étranger for his novel Os Transparentes / Les transparents [The transparent].

Ndalu de Almeida, a.k.a. Ondjaki, is an Angolan writer and already received the José Saramago Prize 2013 for the Portuguese original, published in 2012; and also the Transfuge Prize for best African novel.

The summary according to Étonnants-Vogageurs (French award):

On the first floor of an old building in the center of Luanda the inhabitants tell each other their stories and think about the future. There is Odonato who is nostalgic for the Luanda of the past. There is Amarelinha, his daughter, the embroiderer of pearls, and the young MarchandDeCoquillages [“shell merchant”]. There is MariaComForça [“hard Mary”] who sells grilled fish. But there are also journalists, seekers, controllers, interested in the natural resources of the land… All these stories weave the background of Angola in a brutal transition between its traditional culture and modernity.

In 2014, Ondjaki was considered one of the 39 top-writers under 40. lists as available in English Good Morning Comrades, and Granma Nineteen and the Soviet’s Secret.

SOURCE: Público, May 9, 2016; Etonnants-Voyageurs; Caminho (Portuguese publisher)

Snippet: Sara Mesa, writer

Sara Mesa (Madrid, 1976; publisher’s biography)

2012: Cuatro por cuatro [Four by four]

publisher’s summary @ Anagrama’s foreign rights page

NH 545


2015: Cicatriz [Scar], award winning (Ojo Crítico)

publisher’s summary @ Anagrama’s foreign rights page; to be published in the USA by Dalkey Archive Press


2016 Mala letra [Bad handwriting], a short story collection

publisher’s summary @ Anagrama’s foreign rights page


There is a nice interview with the author in Spanish online at RTVE (Spanish state TV), taken from the weekly program “Página Dos”.

SOURCE: Anagrama; RTVE

Snippet: Camilo José Cela centenary

It would be the Nobel laureate’s 100th birthday today. The Wikipedia has got more information on Camilo José Cela’s life and work. lists these titles as available in English:

The Hive [the only one this blogger read and recommends]

The Family of Pascual Duarte [which looks interesting… ]

Christ vs. Arizona

Journey to the  Alcarria: Travels Through the Spanish Countryside

Mazurka for Two Dead Men


San Camilo, 1936: The Eve, Feast, and Octave of St. Camillus of the Year 1936 in Madrid

BCN Comic & Manga fairs 2016 (post factum)

The 34th edition, poster by Francisco Ibáñez, took place in Barcelona May 5-8, 2016. According to the organizers, this year’s number of visitors, 118.000, beat another record, 5.000 more than in 2015.

As always, the Comic Fair awarded some prizes:

The 2016 lifetime achievement award went to Josep Maria Blanco (Barcelona, 1926), the last surviving member of a group of cartoonists who published a magazine called TBO (Wikipedia).

The prize for the best work by a Spanish author published in Spain in 2015 went to El Fantasma de Gaudí [Gaudí’s ghost; Dibbuks], created by El Torres (Juan Antonio Torres, Malaga, 1972; more info) and Jesús Alonso Iglesias (1972, personal blog).

The prize for the best foreign work published in Spain in 2015 went to Una aventura de Spirou. El botones de verde caqui [A Spirou adventure: the groom in olive green; original title: le groom vert-de-gris ; Dibbuks; the Wikipedia on the series] by Yann and Olivier Schwartz.

The prize for the best emerging talent went to Javi de Castro (León, 1990; blog; tumblr)

The prize for the best Spanish fanzine went to Nimio (facebook; tumblr; twitter).

The prize of the general public went to Ekhö. Mundo Espejo 3. Hollywood Boulevard by Arleston and Barbucci (Norma).

Turista accidental

A newspaper recommendation that looked interesting to this blogger is Miguel Gallardo’s Turista accidental [Accidental tourist, Astiberri]: “Gallardo went all over the world to present his comics, and he didn’t stop watching it with his usual sense of humor. This funny travel logbook passes through Prague, Frankfurt, Warsaw, New York, Tokio, Mexico, and a lot of airports.” (La Vanguardia)

SOURCE: Saló del Còmic; La Vanguardia, May 7, 2016, pp. 38-40 [printed edition]

Snippet: Rentes de Carvalho’s “Midas”

José Rentes de Carvalho (Vila Nova de Gaia, 1930), O Meças [Midas], 2016, 184 p.

publisher’s summary (assisted by google translate):

New novel by Rentes de Carvalho. A history of violence in which the progressive definition of memory contours will bring new and painful truths. An unpublished novel, in which the story of Antonio Roque is told,  a man tormented and possessed by the demon of terrible memories. The images of the past that regularly take possession of him, turn him into a monster capable of the worst acts. However, the dark history of the sister and the wealthy man who took advantage of her -who, though dead, continues to fire in him a devastating hatred- is not exactly like he thinks he remembers it. After years of emigration to Germany, the Midas returns to his village of origin. With him live his son (whom he detests) and his daughter-in-law (whom he desires, but for whom he makes life miserable); furthermore, he frightens all those who come across him. A history of violence in which the progressive definition of memory contours will bring new and painful truths. [repetition in the original text; translator’s comment]

António Guerreiro of the newspaper Público calls it “hyperliterature” (from hypermarket?) and enumerates some of the characteristics of this type of literature: Kitsch parts (nice writing but somewhat empty), the exacerbation of style (literary tics), frivolity (false depths), redundancy (“the most abundant quality of this novel”), and erotic deflation (old-fashioned obscenity). The book receives one star out of five…

According to the publisher’s website, the author lived abroad for many years and taught Portuguese literature at the University of Amsterdam, and he has contributed to (literary) magazines in Portugal, Brazil, the Netherlands and Belgium. Some of his books are available in Dutch.

Blogger’s comment: The intention of this blog is to follow not only developments in Spain but also in Portugal, though unfortunately the latter sometimes gets forgotten. On May 5, 2016, the book described here was the only one by a Portuguese author that made the culture pages of the newspapers Diário de Notícias and Público

SOURCE: Quetzal Editores (publisher); Público, May 4, 2016

Newspaper supplements: male grooming

If you are looking for information on serious reading, please don’t read on and forgive the distraction from real literature…

It took this blogger a while to discover El País‘ ICON… it might have to do with the fact that it is only published every four weeks, since about February 2014… two months ago La Vanguardia introduced their supplement on male grooming, so far a poor copy… here are some impressions:

102_4799 icon ep

Title:    Icon – Hombres & Estilos [Icon – Men & Styles]

Newspaper:    El País

Published:    every first Saturday of the months together with the daily; afterwards sold at newsstands for 3,- EUR (Italy, France: 6,- EUR)

reviewed copy:    No. 26, April 2016

contents:    180 pages

Historias & Personajes [Stories & People]: nine articles

Lugares & Moda [Places & Fashion]: nine articles

“Preview” Section with short articles, news, …

“El Culturista” [The Bodybuilder] with short book, music and movie presentations…

other sections such as “Icon Club” and “Garaje” [Garage] (on cars, motors) mixed in between

Blogger’s opinion: a nice, thick magazine with ads by the major brands which gives it a feel of GQ or Vogue – hardly any intellectually stimulating articles, though; with the exception of the writer Eduardo Mendoza’s article at the end in which he explains why he doesn’t keep most of the books that he reads.

102_4798 hombre lv

Title: H – Hombre de Vanguardia [Vanguard Man]

Newspaper:    La Vanguardia

Published:    quarterly on a Saturday together with the daily; afterwards sold at newsstands for 3,- EUR

reviewed copy:    No. 001, March 2016

contents:    100 pages

a total of 24 articles on famous people, fashion, traveling, wining & dining


Blogger’s opinion: a magazine with a feel of La Vanguardia‘s Sunday supplement called “Magazine”- hardly any interesting ads. The articles look as if they have been recycled or could be easily recyled somewhere else; there are none of the stimulating articles that characterize the Sunday supplement… they could have stuck with their biannual special editions of that supplement dedicated to men’s fashion. They need to improve if they want to use this magazine to poach readers from El País.