Small Publishers Flourish in Spain’s Economic Crisis Reply

Blackie Books Jan

News, Barcelona (AFP)–Specialising in forgotten literary gems and little-known writers, small independent publishers are flourishing in Spain while the big houses are forced to merge to survive. In one of the paradoxes of Spain’s recent economic crisis and the digital revolution, small “guerrilla” publishers are sprouting in the gaps as the big guns manoeuvre. Among the new players is Jan Martí, a 33-year-old philosophy graduate who founded Blackie Books in late 2009 in Barcelona, the hub of Spanish publishing. That was just when the crisis was at its height and the rise of e-books was shaking up the traditional publishing industry.

“At first people said we were crazy or suicidal,” he said with a smile. “They would invite me to book fairs so they could see the weirdo who still believed in the future of print.” From a roomy attic overlooking the Bohemian Gracia district, he has so far published 70 books, from US counterculture novels to children’s stories to self-help guides. Martí was working for another publisher when he fell in love with a manuscript. He secured the rights to publish it himself and his publishing venture was born. That first title was “Things the Grandchildren Should Know”, a memoir by Mark Oliver Everett, the lead singer of US rock group Eels. It sold 30,000 copies — not bad for a small, first-time publisher. Martí took on four more staff.



Unpublished Works of Spanish Feminist Writers Uncover Spain’s Hidden Past Reply

Fortún Ras feministas

Spain’s most famous children’s author Elena Fortún and companion Matilde Ras, a fellow feminist writer, are the subject of a new anthology which uncovers previously hidden diaries, a series of unpublished literature and evocative letters between the two whilst in exile.–Professor Nuria Capdevila-Argüelles, an expert in Hispanic and Gender Studies at the University of Exeter, has written the extensive introduction to ‘Elena Fortún y Matilde Ras. El camino es nuestro’ and selected the texts with collaborator Dr MJ Fraga (Universidad Complutense, Madrid). The anthology is written in Spanish and highlights Fortún and Ras as major 20th century avant garde writers. As female intellectuals active during the Spanish Second Republic, Civil War and Franco’s dictatorship their contributions to literature, journalism and feminist thought were largely forgotten on becoming political exiles.

However, Fortún’s bestselling books about the famous character ‘Celia’ remain a staple across the Spanish speaking world. The 20 volume saga of her life with her family from age 7 to 18 years spans the period from the years before the Second Republic to dictatorship. Celia is nearly 100 years old since first published.


Picking Over the Wounds of Spain’s Recent Past Reply

Writer Javier Cercas

An Interview with Spanish Writer Javier Cercas

Boyd Tonkin writes for–Sometimes I feel like a party-spoiler, saying the worst things about the history of my country.” The Spanish novelist Javier Cercas is sitting in a cosy, wheeled “shepherd’s hut” on the Hay Festival site with his patient teenage son Raul. He speaks fluent, idiomatic English, but here I would gloss the Girona-based writer’s idea of “worst” to mean most contested, least resolved – in short, all the unfinished business of modern Spain. “There are answers but they are not the answers of journalists, of historians, of judges,” Cercas says of his books. “This ambiguity is the space that the writer gives to the reader in order to make the book his own … Without ambiguity, there is no literature. That is the magic of it.”


Gabriel García Márquez: Extract Hints at Writer’s ‘Last Legacy’ Reply

Gabriel Garcia Marquez

The–An extract from an unpublished manuscript by Gabriel García Márquez, in which the late Nobel laureate writes about a married woman having an affair on a tropical island, has been published in a Spanish newspaper. La Vanguardia revealed a chapter from García Márquez’s previously unpublished En agosto nos vemos (We’ll See Each Other in August) earlier this week. The author died at home in Mexico City last Thursday at the age of 87, leaving behind him some of the most admired writing of the 20th century, from One Hundred Years of Solitude to Love in the Time of Cholera.


Mexican Writer Elena Poniatowska Awarded Cervantes Prize Reply

Elena Poniatowska Cervantes — Mexican journalist and writer Elena Poniatowska received on Wednesday the prestigious Cervantes Prize for literature in a ceremony presided over by King Juan Carlos of Spain at the historic University of Alcala. The ceremony for the Cervantes Prize, named after Miguel Cervantes, the most famous writer in Spanish history and the author of the celebrated ‘Don Quixote,” is always held on April 23, to coincide with St George’s day, a day on which book stalls are set up in streets all over Spain to help promote literacy and reading. It is considered the Nobel Prize for Spanish literature and carries with it a financial award of 125,000 euros (172,700 U.S. dollars).


Spanish Historian Searches for Cervantes in a Madrid Convent 1

Don Quijote Sancho

The Maylay Mail, Madrid, March 12, 2014 — Historian Fernando Prado says he is not just tilting at windmills in his quest to find the remains of Spanish novelist Miguel de Cervantes, the creator of Don Quixote.

Almost 400 years after Cervantes’s death, Prado is set to use ground-penetrating radar to peer into the sub-soil beneath an old convent in the heart of Madrid to look for his remains. A dozen elderly nuns cloistered in the 17th Century walled convent have agreed to the search, which will start next month. Cervantes, born in 1547, was buried in Madrid after his death in 1616 — the same week in which William Shakespeare died.


Arcola Theatre Kicks Off Spanish Golden Age Season Reply

Arcola Golden AgeBroadway, New York, January 9, 2014–Arcola Theatre is delighted to present the Spanish Golden Age Season, a repertory season celebrating one of the most prolific periods in the history of Spanish theatre and art, from 9 January to Saturday 15 March 2014. On sale now. Tickets are £16 – £18 (£12 – £14 consessions), Previews are £14, and Pay What You Can Tuesdays. The Box Ofice can be reached at More…

“Turncoat!” I’m Guilty and Here’s How It Happened 1

Michael Booth’s Book Relates the Metamorphosis from American Boy to Spanish Turncoat

The Turncoat ChroniclesHow does a young man from deepest Midwestern U.S.A. transform himself from a normal American college student, ad agency shill and conscript soldier into a card-carrying Spanish citizen? And why? This is the story that Michael Booth recounts–45 years on–in his ebook, The Turncoat Chronicles. Booth, who discovered a Spanish village outside Granada in 1969 where he made a home for his family, still lives there. In the intervening four-and-a-half decades he has learned valuable lessons of simplicity, humility, humanity and solidarity. His teachers: the uncomplicated and generous villagers of his pueblo. More…