Tue. Apr 23rd, 2019

Four Latin American writers tell their experiences in Barcelona

Cuatro escritores latinoamericanos cuentan sus vivencias en Barcelona

At the question time, an assistant began with these words: "You who live in Barcelona for love or whatever ... ", and was immediately interrupted by the Argentine writer Rodrigo Fresán, who considered that "Love or whatever" was a great title. Fact. The meeting took place in Casa Amèrica Catalunya and there the Mexican was also cited Juan Pablo Villalobos, the Colombian women Laura Restrepo and the Peruvian Santiago Roncagliolo, who have in common that they are writers and live in Barcelona. The conversation was moderated by Xavi Ayén, journalist specialized in the Latin American boom, under the title "Being a Latin American writer in today's Barcelona".

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The activity is one of the many that during this week remember
The trace of Gabo in Barcelona
, some days organized by the General Consulate of Colombia, Casa Amèrica Catalunya and Obra Social de la Caixa. Ayén gave the exit remembering the entrance of Gabriel García Márquez and Mercedes Barcha in Barcelona in November 1967, as a symbol of the strength of the city in literature.

Rodrigo Fresán

"With my wife, we look for a neutral territory; Barcelona is like Switzerland: it allows you to be from nowhere "

But the attendees did not attract them as much as one might imagine that Barcelona of the Latin American boom. According to his own words, the four ended up here "for love or whatever". Roncagliolo said that following the trail was a myth: "I came because I fell in love and I'm still here and I can not take it with me". In front of Madrid, "which is like a wave, you can be on top of the wave, or below, with the wave on top", Barcelona is "one of the most beautiful places where you can live". "A practical issue is that here are the literary agencies," he added, and noted three reasons: "Literary life, sea and a woman I love."

Laura Restrepo

"Catalonia is a town that is capable of discussing its future because it worries it; It is very exciting "

For the Fresnese porteño, "it is a very walkable city", and since his wife is Mexican, "we look for a neutral territory; Barcelona is like a Switzerland: it allows you to be from nowhere. " This neutral aspect was also subscribed by Roncagliolo and Villalobos, whose wife is Brazilian: "We have stayed because each time our family is more from Barcelona".

Restrepo, on the other hand, who lives in the Catalan Pyrenees, underlined "the blue and the green, of the heavens and nature," and recalled that the political debate that is taking place today seems "an extraordinary thing": " Catalonia is a town that is capable of discussing its future because it worries ". When his compatriots tell him how is it that he is in Catalonia "having that uncertainty", Restrepo responds that "it is uncertainty in the best sense; culture flourishes, questions; It's very exciting. "

Juan Pablo Villalobos

"It's a place where you can dissolve your identity, I'm not interested in preserving my Mexicanness or political debate"

Villalobos did not share that vision: "I think it's a place where you can dissolve your identity, I'm not interested in preserving my Mexicanness and I'm not interested in political debate either." Therefore, after "of three Mexican novels, set in Mexico and written in Mexican," Villalobos believes that, after ten years, "was to talk about the mixture of here and there," to conclude that "comfort is bad for the literature".

Fresán considered that the influence of the boom in Argentina had not been as pronounced as in other Latin American countries. And returning to Barcelona, ​​he said: "The Llibreter prize has never been won by a Latin American, it has not even been a finalist". For this reason, Barcelona is 50% oasis and 50% mirage ". Roncagliolo confessed to feeling "increasingly strange; we listen more among ourselves, among those who are equal, and that makes me more foreign than ten years ago. "

Santiago Roncagliolo

"Mexico's position is changing, not Barcelona's: everyone has gone to school, everything is changing there"

Restrepo was also the one who spoke about the relationship with Catalan: "The publishers do not consider that our works have to be translated; we are anchored in Spanish. " To which Ayén recalled that, when One Hundred Years of Solitude reached one hundred thousand copies, Carmen Balcells asked Gabo what gift he wanted: "Translated into Catalan." His friend Tisner was the one in charge.

Another aspect noted by the four writers is that Mexico is becoming the new capital of the edition. Roncagliolo analyzed it this way: "More than changing the position of Barcelona, ​​it is changing the position of Mexico. Everyone has gone to school, everything is changing there. " The boom is falling behind, although Restrepo is given yellow butterflies on the cover when they translate it into Dutch. "And to me, skulls," said Villalobos. Fresán remarked that the equation had changed: "It is no longer necessary to triumph here and then return to your country." The reality is that "in Latin America there are fewer and fewer problems, and that's why we are less attractive," Roncagliolo said.

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