Snippet: Catalan book week (Sept. 6 – 15)

La Missió d’Editors: una finestra internacional a la literatura catalana.


A week of literary events and book selling at the heart of Barcelona, next to its Cathedral (no, not La Sagrada Família…). The official website is Catalan only, but as you can see from the picture, there is also a stall dedicated to translations from Catalan. At the same time there is held a foreign-rights market with 18 publishers and agents from 16 different countries (cf. SOURCE for more information). The appeal of the fair could be heightened if there was at least some information in Spanish and English on their website – as it is, it looks like a purely inward-looking event, i.e. encouraging those already reading in Catalan to keep doing it…

SOURCE: Institut Ramon Llull (Catalan Language and Culture promotion)


April 25-May 13, 2019: 45th Buenos Aires International Book Fair


The organizers call it “[t]he most important annual literary event in the Spanish speaking world.” This year it has got a special guest city of honor: Barcelona.

Unfortunately, the information by the Ramon Llull Institute on the special program around Barcelona is only available to Catalan or Spanish speakers; there is a list of the authors from Barcelona. Not all of them are outstanding writers, some of them are well-connected culture journalists or managers.

SOURCE: Feria Internacional del Libro de Buenos Aires official website

Snippet: Literary map of Barcelona

Barcelona, an official UNESCO City of Literature, recently presented an interactive online map where one can find out which writers lived where during their stay in the city, where to find public libraries, etc. The map is accessible in Catalan and Spanish, the website’s English version proposes literary routes through the city; and it contains a lot of other literary information. Barcelona’s 40 public libraries also offer an offline, printed version of the map.

There is a 2016 blog post on Barcelona literary and movie walks.

Snippet: Comic Barcelona 2019 (looking back)

Comic BCN 37 [2019] - Download revista

April 5 – 7 saw this year’s edition [#37] of Comic Barcelona, formerly known as Saló Internacional del Còmic [international comic fair].

The award winner’s:

Great Prize, lifetime achievement award, to Antonio Altarriba (Zaragoza, 1952), fair website [Spanish]; personal website [Spanish].

Best new author, to María Medem (Sevilla, 1994), fair website [Spanish], Instagram

Best work by a Spanish author, to Universo! [Universe!] by Albert Monteys (Barcelona, 1971), fair website [Spanish]; publisher’s website [Spanish]

Best work of Children’s and Juvenile Literature, to El árbol que crecía en mi pared [The tree that grew on my wall] by Lourdes Navarro, fair website [Spanish],

Best foreign work, to Lo que me gusta más son los monstruos [My favorite thing is monsters] by Emil Ferris (Chicago, 1962), fair website [Spanish], Wikipedia

La imagen puede contener: una persona, texto

Best fanzine, to Saxífono, fair website [Spanish, no further information]; Facebook [Spanish]

The public’s favorite, to Desmesura by Fernando Balius and Mario Pellejer, fair website [Spanish], a comic book on madness (mental health).

SOURCE: Comic Barcelona; La Vanguardia, April 6, 2019, p. 35 [printed edition]

Snippet: Cristina Morales’ “Easy reading”

Cristina Morales, Lectura fácil [Easy reading (Neither master, nor god, nor husband, nor party, nor football)], 2018, 424 p.

Premio Herralde de Novela 2018

publisher’s summary:

They are four: Nati, Patri, Marga and Àngels. They are related to each other, they have got different grades of what the Public Administration and Medicine consider “intellectual disability”, and they share a supervised apartment. They have spent a good part of their lives in RUDIS and CRUDIS (urban and rural residences for people with intellectual disability). But above all they are women with an extraordinary ability to face the conditions of domination that they suffer from. Theirs is the oppressive and bastard Barcelona: the city of the squatters, the NGO of those oppressed by their mortgage payments, the anarchist academies, and the politically correct art.

It is a radical novel in its ideas, in its form, and in its language. A cry-novel, a politicizing novel that crosses voices and texts: a fanzine that puts in check the neoliberal system, the minutes of a libertarian assembly, the declarations before a court that wants to sterilize one of the protagonists by force, the autobiographic novel written by one of them with the Easy Reading technique…

This book is a battlefield: against the monogamous and white hetero-patriarchy, against the institutional and capitalist rhetoric, against the activism clad in “the alternative” to shore up the status quo. But it is also a novel that celebrates the body and sexuality, the desire of and between women, the dignity of those marked with the stigma of disability, and the trangressive and revolutionary capacity of language. It is above all a visceral, vibrant, combative and feminist portrait of contemporary society with the city of Barcelona as its stage.

Lectura fácil confirms Cristina Morales [Granada, Andalucía, 1985] as one of the most powerful, creative, nonconformist and innovative voices of contemporary Spanish literature.

from Carlos Pardo’s review:

[Earlier novels by Cristina Morales:] Los combatientes [The fighters] (2013), Terroristas modernos [Modern terrorists] (2017)

Cristina Morales already was an essential writer to understand a lot of paths with no return of the contemporary novel, but she hadn’t written any book yet at the height of her ambition. This is Lectura fácil, …

Morales’ genius is manifest from the first pages, in the same manner as her intuition to turn such difficult material … into a hilarious Beckett-like novel, funny but also very sad… Because Morales seems to like getting out of the dead end streets into which any risky narrative decision could take her. […]

[F]or a long time there hasn’t appeared any work more realistic in its social discourse and less conventionally realistic in its writing. One could also say that this is the first really original novel of this lengthy state of exception and resistance named with a euphemism: crisis. Therefore, Lectura fácil is a milestone of the recent Spanish novel.

You can read more on Cristina Morales in the first post on the 2018 Herralde prize, dated Nov. 15, 2018.

SOURCE: Anagrama (publisher); review in “Babelia,” El País, Jan. 5, 2019, p. 5 [printed edition]