Manifiesto: país – Exhibition at Sala Mendoza, Caracas

From Sunday 18 May until 31 August 2014, Sala Mendoza at the Universidad Metropolitana in Caracas will play host to Manifiesto: país, a creative response to the wave of protests which have hit Venezuela over the past few months. The exhibition brings together 66 responses to the idea of país from the country’s leading writers, poets, intellectuals and journalists, and accompanying artwork.

manifiesto país

The exhibition is organised by Lisbeth Salas, currently resident in Barcelona, who runs La Cámara Escrita publishing house. She explained to El Nacional:

I made the same request to each of them: define the word country.The ideas was that they speak about how they see it, what they hope for from the future that we seemingly don’t have, how to rescue the idea of nation from memory, reminiscence and even exile. We are all living through the same thing, regardless of where we reside; what’s certain is that Venezuela is no longer what it was and we don’t know what it is now either.

A todos les hice la misma petición: que definieran la palabra país. La idea era que hablaran sobre cómo lo ven, qué esperan de ese futuro que al parecer no tenemos, de cómo rescatar la nación desde la memoria, el recuerdo y hasta desde el exilio. Todos estamos viviendo lo mismo, independientemente de dónde estemos parados; lo cierto es que Venezuela ya no es lo que era y tampoco sabemos lo que es.

Each text has been transformed into a visual artwork inspired by Soviet posters, advertising, Dada, and mass movements, a fusion of words and images conceived by Salas and developed by the design duo Pedro Quintero and César Jara. The director of Sala Mendoza, Patricia Velasco, told El Nacional:

It’s a project for the city, but also for the student movement, which is leading the protests. It’s an exhibition to make us think, to think about Venezuela in a positive way, to dialogue, because that’s what we all want.

Es un proyecto para la ciudad, pero también para el movimiento estudiantil, que es el que está al frente de las protestas. Es una exposición para pensarnos, para pensar en Venezuela en positivo, para dialogar, porque eso es lo que todos deseamos.

The book, Manifiesto: país will be launched in July. I hope to bring you more news on that soon!

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Winners Announced for 8th Premio de Cuento de la Policlínica Metropolitana

policlinicaCongratulations to Tibisay Rodríguez, who won first place in the VIII Premio de Cuentos Policlinica Metropolitana para Jovenes Autores. Judges Ángel Gustavo Infante, José Pulido and Violeta Rojo chose her short story Blood out of 125 entries. Rodríguez was praised for skilfully putting together a very current story in which youth language blends with literary discourse and leads the audience to an ending which allows them to piece together the scenes and reinterpret their conclusions.

Second place was awarded to Rodolfo A. Rico for Para siempre, while Juan Manuel Romero‘s Palmadas en el hombro took third place. The following all received honourable mentions:

Día de gracia by Pedro Varguillas; Flor by Isabella Saturno; La mesa by Víctor Mosqueda Allegri; La muerte elocuente by Yorman Alirio Vera; La vida sexual y triste by Diego Alejandro Martínez; Una escena al estilo de Steven Seagal by Roberto Enrique Araque and Ya no seré otra habitante by Rosanna Álvarez Barroeta.

The judges also highlighted the wide participation by authors from regions across the country and those living abroad.The three winners will receive a cash prize of Bs. 12,000 (about £1100), Bs. 6,000 and Bs.3,000 respectively.

You can read the full verdict in the original Spanish at Ficción Breve.

El Universal Poll: The Books of 2013

Venezuelan daily newspaper El Universal carried out a poll of 23 writers, editors, critics, professors, publishers and general bookworms to decide on the top Venezuelan books of 2013. The only rule was that they could not vote for a book in which they were some way involved themselves.

The voters:

Albinson Linares, Andreína Melo, Andrés Boersner, Antonio López Ortega, Carlos Pacheco, Carmen Verde Arocha, Carolina Lozada, Diego Arroyo Gil, Diómedes Cordero, Freddy Ñáñez, Joaquín Marta Sosa, Luis Barrera Linares, Luis Moreno Villamediana, Luz Marina Rivas, María Alejandra Bello, Marialcira Matute, Melissa Nahmens, Michelle Roche, Nelson Rivera, Rodrigo Blanco Calderón, Roger Michelena, Valmore Muñoz Arteaga and Vicente Lecuna.

The winners, by genre:

Short Stories: La sombra inmóvil by Antonio López Ortega. The book which received most votes of any in the poll, Carlos Pacecho described it as ‘without competition’, and deserving distribution abroad.

Novel: La escribana del viento by Ana Teresa Torres. Editor Andrés Boersner called it Torres’ ‘most important fictional work of the last decade’

Poetry: Annapurna by Igor Barreto. Nelson Rivera, director of Papel literario called it ‘unexpected, distant and close at the same time’.

Essay: Derivas by Alejandro Sebastiani Verlezza. A literary diary full of ‘reflection, observation and intuition’.

Non fiction: Pasaje de ida by Silda Cordoliani. A compilation of testimonies from 15 Venezuelan writers living and working abroad.

Children’s literature: Taquititán de poemas by María Elena Maggi and Ana Carolina Palmero. An anthology of Venezuelan poems for children.

Read the full article at El Universal

Nominations for Premio de la Crítica 2012 announced

novelas de 2012The Premio de la Crítica a la Novela for 2012, organised by Ficción Breve Venezolana, with the support of the Sociedad de Amigos de la Cultura Urbana and Librería Noctua, announced on 22 June its 15 contenders. The jury, comprising Professors Luis Barrera Linares, Laura Febres and Valmore Muñoz Arteaga will announce the winner, and up to three finalists, in September.

The novels in the running, in alphabetical order, are:
  1. Amantes letales, Eloi Yagüe (Ediciones B)
  2. Aquella mirada tan triste, David Hernández Rodríguez (Fundación Cultural Barinas)
  3. Catalina de Miranda, Xiomary Urbáez (Planeta)
  4. Ciudad abandonada en el fondo de mi corazón, Laura Antillano (Monte Ávila)
  5. El amigo imaginario, Pedro Rángel Mora (Monte Ávila)
  6. El jardín de los pecados, José Domingo Vázquez (Narrativa Co-Bo)
  7. El requetemuerto, José Pulido (Ediciones B)
  8. La casa entre dos soles, Marisa Vannini de Gerulewicz (Narrativa Co-Bo)
  9. Las mujeres de Houdini, Sonia Chocrón (Bruguera)
  10. Liubliana, de Eduardo Sánchez Rugeles (Bruguera)
  11. Los incurables, Fedrico Vegas (Alfa)
  12. Massaua, Arnoldo Rosas (FB Libros)
  13. Misionero del nuevo mundo, Luisa María Celis (Alfa)
  14. Mujer de tiza, Daniel Alberto Linares (Monte Ávila)
  15. Nosotros todos, Manuel Acedo Sucre (Oscar Todtmann Editores)

Read the original announcement from Ficción Breve here.

Short film of Lucas Garcia París’ Nocturno

nocturno-final-printA short film adaptation of Lucas Garcia París’ story Nocturno from his 2009 collection PayBack (Edicciones Puntocero) is currently in production. The film, directed by María Almagro, tells the story of Sandoval, who struggles to distinguish his brutal drug and alcohol fuelled fantasies from the real world violence that surrounds him.

The film is crowdfunded and the makers still welcome donations, to be rewarded with DVDs, t-shirts, posters, books and eternal gratitude, depending on the amount given. They are also looking for volunteers to translate the subtitles. Find out more here.

The trailer looks amazing.

You can read the original story at Ficción Breve.

Winners of the VII Premio de Cuentos Policlinica Metropolitana para Jovenes Autores announced

Congratulations to Delia Mariana Arismendi, who won first place in the VII Premio de Cuentos Policlinica Metropolitana para Jovenes Autores for her short story ‘Barricadas’. Judges Rubi Guerra, Gisela Kozak Rovero and Fedosy Santaella unanimously chose Arismendi’s story out of 118 entries from all over Venezuela. Second place was awarded to ‘Para Elisa’ by Gabriel Payares while Maikel Ramírez Álvarez took third place with ‘Apocalipsis a la carté’. The following all received honourable mentions:

‘Esta Propatria’ by Nora Edén Mora; ‘Decembrina noche caraqueña’ by Andrea Carolina López; ‘No somos modernos’ by Ricardo Ramírez Requena; ‘También sobre el alma nieva’ by Carlos De Santis and ‘Friend’ signed with the pseudonym Caín.

The judges praised ‘Barricadas’, whose author had won second prize in last year’s contest, for constructing a deep, raw and moving story of one of those characters on the edges of society who are usually treated with a lack of understanding or as a joke, in a truthful way, without clichés. They called the story ‘richly human and full of nuances’.

You can read the full verdict on Prodavinci. The three winners will receive a cash prize of Bs 10,000 (about £1000), 5,000 and 2,500 respectively, and a compilation of all the finalists’ stories will be published.

Tributes to Francisco Massiani on his 69th birthday

Photo of Fransisco Massiani from Qué Leer.

Born on 2 April 1944, Francisco ‘Pancho’ Massiani yesterday celebrated his 69th birthday. Best known for his 1968 novel Piedra de mar, which has become a Venezuelan classic and frequently cited influence on subsequent generations of authors, Massiani published his latest work Corsarios in 2011. To mark the occasion, Qué Leer published a selection of articles, including an overview of Massiani’s career and tributes from Luis Yslas and Juan Carlos Méndez Guédez.

In ‘¿Qué importancia tiene para la literatura venezolana Francisco Massiani?’, Yslas writes:

La obra de Massiani es a la literatura venezolana lo que el rock & roll es a la música del siglo XX: un rebelde frescor de alegría y sencillez, de sensualidad y poesía, que ha dejado una estela en la que muchos autores venezolanos aún se reconocen.

Massiani’s work is to Venezuelan literature what rock and roll is to music in the 20th century: a rebellious freshness of joy and simplicity, of sensuality and poetry, in the wake of which many Venezuelan authors still recognise themselves.

As for Méndez Guédez, in ‘Massiani Nuestro’ he argues:

Cierto es que Massiani merece que se le sitúe en un lugar de honor, y no sólo en la narrativa venezolana, sino en la del idioma, pues cuando la novela en español estaba inmersa en el desenfreno por la totalidad, por los grandes relatos genésicos (muchas veces tediosos grandes relatos), él y otros dos autores: Manuel Puig y Bryce Echenique, apostaron por un refrescamiento del género, por una mirada tierna sobre la fragilidad sentimental, sobre los excesos de los discursos amorosos, sobre la visión anti-heroica de personajes que constituían su hondura desde los materiales más manidos y gastados de la cultura popular, pero eso es algo que corresponde realizar a los investigadores de ahora y del futuro.

It’s certain that Massiani deserves the pride of place, not only in Venezuelan literature, but in Spanish-language literature, as when the Spanish-language novel was completely immersed in excess, in genetic grand narratives (often tedious grand narratives), him and two other authors, Manuel Puig and Bryce Echenique, took a gamble on refreshing the genre, with a fresh view on sentimental fragility, on the excesses of amorous discourse, on the anti-heroic vision of characters whose depth comes from the hackneyed and worn materials of popular culture, but that is something for present and future researchers to achieve.