20 September 11 | Chad W. Post | Comments

In celebration of it 25th anniversary, FIL Guadalajara (aka the Guadalajara Book Fair) has announced the 25 Best Kept Secrets in Latin America program:

25 writers. Narrators. All invited to Guadalajara to be part of The 25 Best Kept Secrets in Latin America. With this project, the Guadalajara International Book Fair seeks to tear down the borders separating Latin American literature and trace a route for the literature created throughout the continent, and in the year when it celebrates its first quarter of a century as the major publishing gathering in Ibero-America. This event will allow us to have in Guadalajara 25 voices and languages that will offer visitors the same number of ways to decipher, today, Latin America. [. . .]

The group is formed by narrators with more than one published book and whose works are very rarely known outside their countries The authors were chosen through a process that involved reading dozens of books and an extensive consultation process with other writers, publishers, booksellers, journalists and literary critics from Latin America. A committee of readers made the final selection, giving form to this group of authors who have taken writing as a vital option, representing literary views from 15 different Latin American countries.

The meeting of The 25 Best Kept Secrets will be organized around five discussion tables where groups of five authors will talk about their interests and the public will be able to know what is most representative of them. This will take place from Sunday, November 27 through Thursday, December 1 from 19:00 to 21:00. Also, these writers will have meetings with agents and publishers, and they will join young people as part of the Echoes of FIL program.

As if the tequila wasn’t reason enough to attend . . . But seriously, FIL Guadalajara is an absolutely amazing fair. It’s a great place to learn about authors in a wonderful setting that’s both beautiful and loaded with readers who are genuinely thrilled to meet and listen to famous authors. It’s pretty stunning, and everyone involved in publishing and Spanish-language translation has to go at some point in time.

Anyway, here’s the list of the “25 Best Kept Secrets”:

Juan Alvarez (Colombia)
Luis Alberto Bravo (Ecuador)
Andres Burgos (Colombia)
Fabian Casas (Argentina)
Miguel Antonio Chavez (Ecuador)
Carlos Cortes (Costa Rica)
Francisco Diaz Klaassen (Chile)
Jacinta Escudos (El Salvador)
Nona Fernandez (Chile)
Fernanda Garcia Lao (Argentina)
Ulises Juarez Polanco (Nicaragua)
Roberto Martinez Bachrich (Venezuela)
Emiliano Monge (Mexico)
Javier Mosquera Saravia (Guatemala)
Diego Munoz Valenzuela (Chile)
Enrique Planas (Peru)
Maria Eugenia Ramos (Honduras)
Luis Miguel Rivas (Colombia)
Giovanna Rivero (Bolivia)
Hernan Ronsino (Argentina)
Pablo Soler Frost (Mexico)
Daniela Tarazona (Mexico)
Dani Umpi (Uruguay)
Eduardo Varas (Ecuador)
Carlos Oriel Wynter Melo (Panama)

Click here for more info on all of these writers, including bios, excerpts, and lists of their activities at the fair.

1 December 09 | Chad W. Post | Comments

Because it snowed today in Rochester, I’m going to post again about the Guadalajara Book Fair. Mainly, I want to apologize for doing crap research before linking to Hermano Cerdo’s coverage of the fair . . . Their coverage is excellent, and Hermano Cerdo deserves tons of traffic, but there are some others also writing about the Fair—even in English! (Helps that the Guest of Honor this year is Los Angeles.)

Anyway, Daniel Hernandez is down there and is writing it up for Intersections. In addition to his post about the Ozomatli performance, he also previewed all the goings on:

I travel on Saturday to Guadalajara, where the big International Book Fair opens with a special guest of honor this year, the city of Los Angeles. From the fair’s official site:

“A natural bridge between Mexican and American culture, Los Angeles is also a city that has been able to acquire a unique identity relating to cultural production, the trademark that distinguishes its delegation, comprised of around 50 authors, 20 academics, 14 artists and theater companies. The program also includes 7 visual arts exhibitions and a film series presenting classic and contemporary films designed to showcase the diverse perspectives on its urban landscape, its culture and people.”

True enough, there’s going to be so much going on I won’t know where to begin.

Both “Phantom Sightings” and “Vexing” are on view at Guadalajara museums. L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa will be in town, and so will L.A. Weekly food critic Jonathan Gold, and the Zócalo crew. One panel will have Gregory Rodriguez moderating the question of how Mexican Americans see Mexico.

The Jalisco edition of La Jornada breaks down the Encuentro Chicano, an ambitious two-day program that focuses on Mexican American arts and letters, organized by the Centro Universitario de Ciencias Sociales y Humanidades at the University of Guadalajara. I am excited to be moderating a panel with Luis Rodriguez, Maria Amparo Escandon, Jose Luis Valenzuela, and Ruben Martinez. Come check it out if you’re in town.

And one of our all time favorite blogs is Monica Carter’s Salonica World Lit where she too is covering the book fair and finding some interesting publishers:

Because I am focused on broadening the inventory for the bookstore that I work at, Skylight Books, I was drawn to many of the Mexican and Latin American publishers. My new favorite is Almadia which is a little press that started in 2005 in the Oaxaca city. Great covers and great authors. I spoke briefly with one of their directors today and they are not yet distributed in the United States. But he said possibly next year. They have great authors including Francisco Hinojosa, Jorge Volpi and Camille de Toledo. Also deserving of some attention is Tumbona Ediciones with their nostalgic, retro pin-up style website with a twist of sexy, who puts out a cool series call Versus, which are essays from well-known writers against pretty much any form of ideology. Jonathan Lethem takes on originality and Laura Kipnis takes on love. I became completely enamored with Sexto Piso for their graphic novel version of Proust’s Swann’s Way.

1 December 09 | Chad W. Post | Comments

Still wish I had the money/time to attend the ongoing Guadalajara Book Fair, but instead, the coverage at Hermano Cerdo will have to suffice. They’re posting day-by-day rundowns of events, observations, etc., complete with great pictures. Definitely worth checking out—especially if you read Spanish.

5 September 07 | Chad W. Post | Comments

Fernando del Paso—author of several novels, including Palinuro of Mexico, Jose Trigo, and Noticias del Imperio—will receive this year’s FIL Literature Prize.

The $100,000 FIL Literature Prize is presented as recognition for lifetime achievement in any literary genre. Past winners include: Nicanor Parra (1991), Juan José Arreola (1992), Eliseo Diego (1993), Julio Ramón Ribeyro (1994), Nélida Piñón (1995), Augusto Monterroso (1996), Juan Marsé (1997), Olga Orozco (1998), Sergio Pitol (1999), Juan Gelman (2000), Juan García Ponce (2001), Cintio Vitier (2002), Rubem Fonseca (2003), Juan Goytisolo (2004), Tomás Segovia (2005) and Carlos Monsiváis (2006). Fernando del Paso has been selected for the 2007 Prize and will receive it during the inauguration ceremony of the 2007 Guadalajara International Book Fair on November 24th.

The Guadalajara Book Fair is one of the world’s most amazing fairs, and this event is overwhelming. As an American, it’s not often that I have a chance to attend events where authors are treated like rock stars . . .

In terms of del Paso, the only book of his in English is Palinuro of Mexico, a hilarious, Rabelaisian romp. Jose Trigo is often cited by the “Crack” writers as a major influence, and sounds quite fascinating and complex.

An interview between Ilan Stavans and Fernando del Paso can be found here.

....
This Life
This Life by Karel Schoeman
Reviewed by P. T. Smith

Karel Schoeman’s Afrikaans novel, This Life, translated by Else Silke, falls into a genre maybe only noticed by the type of reader who tends toward Wittgenstein-type family resemblances. The essential resemblance is an elderly narrator, usually alone—or with one other. . .

Read More >

A Dilemma
A Dilemma by Joris-Karl Hyusmans
Reviewed by Christopher Iacono

In Joris-Karl Hyusmans’s most popular novel, À rebours (Against Nature or Against the Grain, depending on the which translated edition you’re reading), there is a famous scene where the protagonist, the decadent Jean des Esseintes, starts setting gemstones on the. . .

Read More >

Walker on Water
Walker on Water by Kristiina Ehin
Reviewed by P. T. Smith

There are books that can only wisely be recommended to specific types of readers, where it is easy to know who the respective book won’t appeal to, and Kristiina Ehin’s Walker on Water is one these. What makes this neither. . .

Read More >

The Nightwatches of Bonaventura
The Nightwatches of Bonaventura by Bonaventura
Reviewed by J. T. Mahany

Imagine the most baroque excesses of Goethe, Shakespeare, and Poe, blended together and poured into a single book: That is The Nightwatches of Bonaventura. Ophelia and Hamlet fall in love in a madhouse, suicidal young men deliver mournful and heartfelt. . .

Read More >

Pavane for a Dead Princess
Pavane for a Dead Princess by Park Min-Gyu
Reviewed by Christopher Iacono

In 1899, Maurice Ravel wrote “Pavane pour une infante défunte” (“Pavane for a Dead Princess”) for solo piano (a decade later, he published an orchestral version). The piece wasn’t written for a particular person; Ravel simply wanted to compose a. . .

Read More >

Tram 83
Tram 83 by Fiston Mwanza Mujila
Reviewed by Caitlin Thomas

Fiston Mwanza Mujila is an award-winning author, born in the Democratic Republic of Congo, who now, at 33, lives in Austria. From what I could find, much of his work is influenced by the Congo’s battle for independence and its. . .

Read More >

Twenty-One Days of a Neurasthenic
Twenty-One Days of a Neurasthenic by Octave Mirbeau
Reviewed by Lori Feathers

Twenty-One Days of a Neurasthenic is not a novel in the traditional sense. Rather, it is a collection of vignettes recorded by journalist Georges Vasseur in his diary during a month spent in the Pyrenées Mountains to treat his nervous. . .

Read More >