Snippet: 8th “Ink Crimes” prize to Marc Moreno

During the opening act of Barcelona crime novel week 2017 (BCNegra), the 8th Crims de Tinta  [“ink crimes”] prize, sponsored by RBA-La Magrana (a big publishing house), was awarded to Marc Moreno (Barcelona, 1977), owner of the small Llibres del Delicte publishing house, specialized in Catalan crime novels, and author of five crime novels. The winning novel is entitled Temps de rates [Rats’ times] and set in Barcelona’s Verneda neighborhood. It starts with a drug dealer on the run who leaves a rucksack containing eight kilograms of cocaine with a neighbor of his on the same floor. Eloi draws the attention of all the mafiosi of his neighborhood who want to know where all of this material has come from. The jury decided unanimously in favor of Moreno’s novel due to “the dramatic force of the arguments and the desperate characters and the not at all complacent view on a nearly always hidden reality. […] The archetype of the losers has been brought to the extreme, creating surviving and amoral anti-heroes who, despite all of their efforts to the contrary, generate the readers’ empathy. […] The novel shows a willingness to get close to the most unpleasant reality, following the social function of a crime novel.” (Poverty, crime, drugs, and bad luck.)

Moreno’s other books are:

Cabdills [Chieftains] (2011)

Independència d’interessos [Independence of interests] (2013)

El silenci dels pactes [The silence of the pacts] (2014)

Contra l’aparador [Against the showcase] (2015)

and, together with S. Bennasar, Ll. Llort and S. Macip, La reina de diamants [The diamond queen] (2014)

Sounds a little bit like a Catalan Hunter S. Thompson to this blogger who might abstain from reading Moreno as he likes to preserve his peace of mind ignoring society’s most unpleasant domains…

SOURCE: (newspaper), Jan. 26, 2017

Snippet: BCN Negra 2017 – 26 Jan – 4 Feb

Barcelona crime novel week already at its 12th edition.

Reinstalled Crims de Tinta [Ink crimes] prize, 8th edition, will be awarded on Jan. 26.

The Pepe Carvalho prize will be given to Dennis Lehane. There will be an exhibition on the detective Pepe Carvalho, as there have passed 40 years since Manuel Vázquez Montalbán’s (1939-2003, Wikipedia article) novel La soledad del mánager [The Angst-Ridden Executive].

More information in Catalan and Spanish at the source.

The program looks interesting with a lot of different round-table discussions on e.g. Catalan crime fiction, crime in Barcelona, Catalunya or the Basque Country, women in British crime fiction, etc. The only thing that struck this blogger as somewhat strange is that the program lists all the academic achievements of the lesser-known participants next to their names instead of concentrating on the main one, i.e. the reason for their being there, e.g. hardly anybody is only a journalist, all are also writers (but who is not?); with the better-known participants they simply put “writer”…


Snippet: RBA crime novel prize to Ian Rankin

Even Dogs in the Wild Ian Rankin

On Sept. 8, 2016, and in Barcelona, Ian Rankin was awarded the X Premio RBA de Novela Negra [Tenth RBA crime novel prize] for his novel Los perros salvajes; judging from the title it is the Spanish version of his 2015 John Rebus novel Even Dogs in the Wild [Wikipedia]. The news is not really surprising, considering that RBA has been Rankin’s publisher in Spain for years and that Spanish publishers in the recent past have tended to give their literary prizes to in-house authors as a relatively cheap means of publicity – though the juries are claimed to be independent… What makes the RBA prize special is that with 125,000 EUR it is the highest endowed crime novel award in the world.

More information on Ian Rankin (Cardenden, Fife, 1960) can be found in the Wikipedia and The Guardian.


SOURCE: El País, Sept. 8, 2016; author homepage

Crime literature festivals in Spain

As Antonio Iturbe remarked in a recent column, crime literature festivals are booming in Spain. Those mentioned by him are listed here in chronological order. The reason for the frequent appearance of the word “black” in their titles is that in Spanish the genre is called “novela negra” (Catalan: “novel·la negra”), literally “black novel”, in Alicante they decided to translate it “dark novel”.

Aragonegro [Black Aragón], 2016: Jan. 14 – 31, website (Spanish only)

Pamplona Negra [Black Pamplona], Navarra, 2016: Jan. 19 – 23, facebook (Spanish only)

Tiana Negra [Black Tiana], Maresme, Catalonia, 2016: Jan. 22 – 23, blog (Catalan only)

BCNegra [Black Barcelona], crime novel week, 2016: Jan. 28 – Feb. 6, website (Catalan, Spanish)

Tenerife Noir [Black Tenerife], Canary Islands, 2016: March 2 – 18, website (Spanish only)

Festival Internacional de Novel·la Negra en Català [Int’l Catalan crime novel festival], L’Espluga de Francolí, 2016: April 8 – 10, blog (Catalan only)

Encuentro de Casas Ahorcadas de Cuenca [Cuenca hung houses meeting], Castilla La Mancha, 2016: April 29 – May 1, blog (Spanish only)

València Negra [Black Valencia], 2016: May 6 – 15, facebook (Spanish only)

Mayo Negro de Alicante [Alicante Dark May], 2016: May 21 – 24, program (English)

El Segre de Negre [The Segre river in black], Lleida, 2016: June 3 – 4, article (Catalan only)

Semana Negra de Gijón [Gijón crime novel week], Asturias, 2016: July 8 – 17, 29th edition, the “mother” of all these festivals in Spain, a big event with powerful sponsors, website (Spanish only)

Granada Noir [Black Granada], 2016: Oct. 3 -9, website (Spanish only)

Getafe Negro [Black Getafe],2016: Oct. 14 – 23, website (Spanish only)


SOURCE: A. Iturbe, ‘llibrescopi: Som negres,’ “Cultura/s,” La Vanguardia, June 18, 2016, p. 14 [printed edition]

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)

Snippet: Justo Navarro’s “Big Granada”

Justo Navarro, Gran Granada [Big Granada], 2015, 256 p.

Publisher’s summary:

1963: a lawyer appears dead in a hotel, in the big, grey Granada of the year of the flood, and the suicides threaten to snatch away the police’s monopoly on violent death. If reality was less real than cinematographic, one would talk about the case of the single suicides. How does he see it through his thirteen diopters glasses, the old commissar Polo, telecommunications engineer, visionary of vigilance, prophet of TV and telephone espionage? A good man, he greets the future transformation of the police state into a police society. As he likes to know it all, he knows that from a certain limit it is better believing than finding out, and he investigates a few deaths that are impossible to be assassinations: the head of state and his carousel of hierarchs are about to disembark in the flooded province.

There are two women. There are two intimate friends, belonging to what the cleverer of the two calls the homosexual circle: the world of only one gender, exclusively male and patriarchal, of those who govern the cryptic city. These are the happy years of the electronic Anglo-Americanization and the Soviet-American conquest of space, of the pinball and the jukebox, the future’s origin, and the guarantors of the law don’t doubt in using crime to save order.

21 years ago, Justo Navarro published an extraordinary, criminal and damned novel at Anagrama: La casa del padre [The father’s house], set in the years of World War II. He returns now to the same world where also 21 years have passed: it is already 1963 and life and death have been modernized.

Sounds somewhat strange, doesn’t it? It showed up among La Vanguardia‘s summer reading recommendations. Navarro has got quite a few novels to his name, none of them translated into English; the Wikipedia article names him as the translator of Paul Auster and F. Scott Fitzgerald, but it must be of minor works or articles as lists other translators…

SOURCE: Anagrama (publisher)