An interview with… Santiago Roncagliolo

Santiago Roncagliolo at the IFFP ceremonyHere is my interview with Santiago Roncagliolo for Booktrust:

In the busy hub of Foyle’s cafe, I meet the winner of this year’s Independent Foreign Fiction Prize, Santiago Roncagliolo. In spite of the building publicity surrounding the Prize over the past few weeks, it is unlikely that any of the other cafe goers would think twice to look at Roncagliolo. A Peruvian-born writer, he moved to Spain ten years ago and his political thriller Abril Rojo (Red April) was awarded the prestigious Spanish literary prize the Premio Alfaguara de Novela in 2006. However, until last Thursday, he has remained, relatively unknown elsewhere in Europe. Now at the age of just 36, he has triumphed once again and has become the youngest ever recipient of the IFFP for Red April.

Published on 31-05-11. Read on here

In discussion: The Anatomy of a Moment by Javier Cercas

Here is my latest blog for Booktrust:

On Monday evening I attended a talk by Javier Cercas chaired by Antony Beevor at the Southbank Centre. Cercas was speaking about his new book The Anatomy of a Moment (La Anatomia de un instante), which describes an incident in February 1971 when a group of around 200 soldiers and members of the Civil Guard stormed the lower house of the Spanish Parliament.

Published on 11-02-11. Read on here

Javier Cercas’ award-winning account of 23-F to commemorate thirtieth anniversary

Here is my latest blog for Booktrust:

Javier Cercas

Although we may hear little about Spanish fiction in the UK, we arguably hear even less about Spanish history written by Spanish writers themselves. Hispanists in this country are well acquainted with the likes of Raymond Carr, Hugh Thomas, Paul Preston and Antony Beevor, but will probably not associate Spanish writer Javier Cercas with non-fiction.

Published on 17-01-11. Read on here

Catalan vote marks the end of an era


Here is my latest article published in the New Statesman:

Centuries of cultural tradition came to a dramatic close last week when Catalonia became the first region in Spain to vote in favour of banning bullfighting. In recent weeks political tensions have been high in Spain, following the constitutional court’s decision to negate Catalonia’s legal status as a nation. Although many will simply see the ban as an attempt to reassert Catalan identity, it has gone one step further in politicising one of Spain’s most culturally divisive traditions. Read on

Published on 02-08-10. Read on here

A Taste of the Best Modern Spanish Fiction

Here is my first blog for Booktrust:

Sometimes the prospect of reading a translated novel can seem a bit overwhelming, but it’s not all about the War and Peace’s and Don Quixote’s of this world. Many of you will have come across Lucia Graves’ beautiful translation of Carlos Ruiz Zafón’s The Shadow of the Wind (La Sombra del Viento), but here I hope to draw attention to a taste of some lesser-known delights from peninsular Spain.

For anyone interested in the history of the Spanish Civil War, you cannot get much better than Juan Goytisolo. Although he has written many great novels, Marks of Identity (Señas de Identidad) tells the story of a Spanish exile’s return from Paris to his family home in Barcelona and provides a fantastic introduction to just some of the literature which was inspired by the Civil War and Franco’s dictatorship. Another worthwhile read is Soldiers of Salamis (Soldados de Salamina) by Javier Cercas, which humanely reveals how the Civil War has permeated Spain’s modern-day conscious. Anne McLean’s translation of the novel was notably awarded the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize in 2004.

Published on 14-06-10. Read on here

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