#Librodeldía books of the year: Liubliana and Caracas Muerde

This is a translation of an article posted by @storytellerve09 on 12/12/12 on #Librodeldía: read the original here.

The persistence of the combat

Caracas muerde

The sales figures of the Venezuelan publishing market are modests when compared with other countries, like Spain or France. However, the avidity of our readers has corresponded with the effort of those who publish and sell new books, so that we can now see second editions of some national works. This is occurring thanks to the conjunction of skilled booksellers, book fairs and the powerful affect of social networks (where excellent initiatives like @Queleer and @ellibrodeldia stand out).

Within the cosmos of works published in Venezuela during 2012, to chose our book of the year, we have followed the advice of Frédéric Beigbeder, harsh French writer and apocalyptic anthologist: “to choose a book that we like is to define ourselves“.

There were two books, then, that defined some of our persistent features: Liubliana (Eduardo Sánchez Rugeles) and Caracas Muerde (Héctor Torres).

From the other side of the ocean, Sánchez Rugeles developed the ghosts of a lost generation in a city that no longer exists. The result: young adults juxtaposing scenes from their lives in a page of the novel. Hector Torres, for his part, testified to a fragmentary and cannibalistic Caracas. His stories narrowed the distance between the reader and their nightmares.

Writing”, Guillermo Sucre notes, “is only a way to see reality and to be in the world”. The broken dreams of the characters in Liubliana and the survivors of Caracas Muerde, opened the eyes of their readers by setting out the terms of their internal and external combats, respectively. 

If all novels are a deception, what are we readers looking for? Reading each page we see our reflection multiplied in the mirror. Through the plot of books, we try to solve the mysteries of our pataphysics.

Perhaps in the intimacy of reading, who we were or who we put off being, calls out – from the paper – for vengeance against what Borges called “the times that we live“. This year, Sánchez Rugeles and Héctor Torres carried out the vengeance of those other-us that resound in their books.

Venezuelan literature in 2012, paraphrasing Houellebecq, has extended the battlefield; and that is reason to celebrate.

Second Congreso Crítico de Narrativa Venezolana + free Carlos Noguera eBooks

The second Congreso Crítico de Narrativa Venezolana (a conference of literary criticism focused on Venezuelan narrative), organised by the Instituto de Investigaciones Literarias (Institute of Literary Studies) at Universidad Central de Venezuela takes place from 5-7 December 2012. Among discussion of theory, criticism and issues relating to contemporary literary studies (such as the emergence of new formats like blogs and Twitter), the conference will pay homage to the work of Carlos Noguera (Tinaquillo, 1943), from whose work, Inventando los días, the event takes its name.

To tie in with the event, Monte Ávila is giving away two free eBooks by Noguera, Los cristales de la noche (2005) and Juegos bajo la luna (1994).

Read more from Monte Ávila and get your free eBooks here (in Spanish).

Jacqueline Goldberg wins the Sociedad de Amigos de la Cultura Urbana cross-genre prize

Read the original article (in Spanish) on prodavinci.com.

Venezuelan writer Jacqueline Goldberg (Maracaibo, 1966) has won the 12th Concusro Transgenérico (cross-genre prize) organised by the Sociedad de Amigos de la Cultura Urbana (Society of Friends of Urban Culture), with her work Las horas claras (The Clear Hours). It is a text which, perfectly translating the spirit of the competition, offers a cross between novel and poetry. The jury, comprising Gina Saraceni, Héctor Torres and Joaquín Marta Sosa praised the work both for they way it approaches loss, as well as its crossing of generic borders, with “a style and language of high literary quality”. They called Las horas claras a “beautiful and unclassifiable hybrid that brings together poetry, history and novel”.

Jacqueline Goldberg has a proven track-record in poetry, with more than ten published works. Among other acknowledgements, she has won the Miguel Vicente Pata Caliente National Prize for Children’s Literature (1993) and the Mariano Picón Salas Poetry Biennial (2001).

The jury also indicated that a large part of the almost fifty works presented were of high quality, which reaffirms the creative power of Venezuelan literature. They particularly recommended the following finalists: Con trazos de seda (With Lines of Silk) by Cecilia Rodriguez, Alambrada (Barbed Wire) by Patricia Valdivia and Santa Angela del Cerro by Eloi Yague.

The Cross-Genre Prize was founded in 2001. Previous winners include Gina Saraceni, Roberto Martinez Bachrich, Arturo Gutiérrez Plaza, Diego Bautista Urbaneja and Andrés Stambouli.

Voices from the Venezuelan City is live

Last night, we headed to Passing Clouds in Dalston to celebrate the launch of the Voices from the Venezuelan City project from Palabras Errantes with readings, discussions about Venezuelan literature and live music. There was a great turn out and a shared excitement for the project and for Venezuelan literature in general, which just proves how, as Carlos Colmenares Gil affirmed in his opening speech, this is a ‘golden era’ for Venezuelan literature.

Rebecca Jarman (editor of the Venezuelan edition) and Cherie Elston (editor of Palabras Errantes) present the latest project.

I was lucky enough to be involved in the project, translating Ana García Julio‘s short story, The Incident, about the human side of a random act of violence, which I read at the launch party.

The first five translations – including The Incident, plus the first two chapters of Gustavo Valle’s Underground, and stories from the wonderful Dayana Fraile, Mario Morenza and Juan Carlos Méndez Guédez – are now available at here. New translations will be released each week so stay tuned!

Voices From The Venezuelan City Launch Party

Palabras Errantes is a project originally set up by students from the University of Cambridge, to translate Latin American literature into English and publish it online. So far, they have brought us contemporary Uruguayan women’s writing, contemporary Argentinian poetry and Argentinian narrative. Now it’s Venezuela’s turn.

On Thurrsday 22 November, Palabras Errantes will launch Voices from the Venezuelan City, with readings and music at Passing Clouds in Dalston. After the party, stories (translations and originals) will be published on a regular basis on the website.

The event is free and all are welcome.

José Napoleón Oropeza wins 2011 Critics Prize

The 2011 Premio de la Crítica de la Novela, a prize for Venezuelan novelists, judged by Venezuelan literary critics, was awarded to José Napoleón Oropeza for Las Puertas Ocultas (The Hidden Doors), following a unanimous decision by the jury – Alma Clara Áñez, Ángel Gustavo Infante and Carlos Pacheco.

Los miembros del jurado llegaron al veredicto por unanimidad luego de considerar el conjunto de obras novelísticas concurrentes, publicadas durante el año 2011; y seleccionaron la obra de Oropeza “en razón de su sostenida coherencia narrativa, del talante épico del que se reviste la pesquisa literaria que centra su desarrollo, del profundo conocimiento que respalda el tratamiento de temas como la santería, la literatura y la cultura cubana, así como de su convincente performance metaficcional, a través del cual la pasión literaria se imbrica con la intriga política”.

As El Universal reports, the jury also highlighted the consistently high quality of the other works in the competition, particularly the three runners-up: Todas las lunas (All the moons) by Gisela Kozak Rovero, which ties together diverse periods, characters and genres; the highly innovative Valle Zamuro by Camilo Pino; and Rating by Alberto Barrera Tyzska, which focuses on telenovelas, “such a Venezuelan phenomenon” with “grace and intrigue”.

In an interesting recent blog post (in Spanish), author Juan Carlos Chirinos notes that this prize is particularly important as it is one of the rare occasions when Venezuelans acknowledge the worth of their still highly marginalised literary production.