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Torre Martello

Blog del Instituto Cervantes de Dublín

Día E: la fiesta de todos los que hablamos español

El ¨Día EMás de 500 millones de personas hablan español.

El español es ya la segunda lengua del mundo en cuanto a número de hablantes nativos, el segundo idioma de comunicación internacional y el tercer idioma más utilizado en Internet.

¿Por qué no convertir un día al año en la celebración mundial de la lengua que nos une?

El sábado 18 de junio de 2011 todos los centros del Instituto Cervantes abrirán nuevamente sus puertas para sumarse a esta fiesta. Además, este año queremos que este proyecto cultural acerque al mayor número de personas la inmensa riqueza que representa hablar nuestro idioma.

Con este propósito, deseamos contar con la participación de grandes personalidades de habla hispana, de modo que todos los hispanohablantes sintamos el orgullo no solo de hablar nuestra lengua compartida, sino, también, de sabernos representados por figuras extraordinarias en los más diversos campos del saber.

Queremos consolidar esta fiesta como la de todos los que hablamos español, para que cada año tengamos un día en el que nos sintamos unidos por una lengua común y por compartir la riqueza de la vasta cultura en español.
Aquí tienes un avance de las actividades programadas en el Instituto Cervantes de Dublín.

También puedes votar tu palabra favorita del español en www.eldiae.es y descubrir qué personalidades ya se han sumado a esta celebración.

Y por supuesto, practicar tu español con El Juego del Español, con el que puedes ganar un viaje a Andalucía para 2 personas.

¡Únete a El Día E!


Over 500 million people speak Spanish.

Spanish ranks second in number of native speakers world-wide.  It also holds second place as a language of international communication and it is the third most used language over the Internet.

How about honouring the world language which unites us with one day of celebrations worldwide?

On Saturday 18th June 2011, every Instituto Cervantes across the world will open its doors to join in this great celebration. This year we would like to bring this cultural project to as many people as possible to introduce them to the vast richness that speaking our language brings.

Bearing this in mind we will invite great personalities of the Spanish speaking world. It is our aim that these distinguished guests will make us all Spanish speakers both proud of speaking our common language and of being represented by such illustrious figures of various fields of knowledge.

It is our intention to formalise this celebration as one for all Spanish speakers so that we can feel united by one common language and we can share the vast richness of the Spanish and Hispano-American culture.

Activities programmed at the Instituto Cervantes in Dublin (draft).

You can vote for your favourite Spanish world at www.eldiae.es and find out which celebrities have joined in with the celebrations so far.

Practice your Spanish with “El juego del español”. Show off your language skills, compete with other Spanish-speakers from around the world, and if you’re the best… win a fantastic trip to Andalusia for 2 people!

Take part in El Día E!

Practice your Spanish with “El juego del español”

El 23 de May de 2011 en El Día E, Online resources por | Sin comentarios

Bienvenido al «Juego del español». Demuestra tu domino del idioma, compite con otros hispanohablantes de todo el mundo y, si eres el mejor…

!Gana un fabuloso viaje a Andalucía para 2 personas!


Welcome to “El juego del español”. Show off your language skills, compete with other Spanish-speakers from around the world, and if you’re the best…

Win a fantastic trip to Andalusia for 2 people!

Taller de cuentacuentos para adultos / Storytelling workshop for adults

Aut: Paola Maulén

Este taller de narración oral pretende orientar en la adquisición de los primeros conocimientos, habilidades y destrezas necesarias para contar cuentos.

Aplicaremos las capacidades expresivas al servicio de la narración oral para captar y mantener la atención del público creando un clima de comprensión y distensión.

Tienes un taller de cuentacuentos para adultos el 25 y el 26 de mayo, de 6 a 9 de la tarde con Mercedes Carrión.

La asistencia es gratuita, se necesita reserva. ¡Habrá regalos para todos!

Te esperamos.

Más información


For the third consecutive year, the Instituto Cervantes organizes a festival of literature within the programme “Wolves and Dragons”, which embraces events around 28 centres in 5 continents with some of the most prominent representatives of Children Literature in Spanish – speaking world.

In Dublin we will be hosting Mercedes Carrión: an actress, director, screenwriter, mime, magician, tightrope walker, juggler and a storyteller.

She will lead a storytelling workshop for adults.  the 25th and 26th of May, from 6 to 9pm

Free entry, booking essential, and presents for everyone.

See you there!

More info

Día E: la fiesta de todos los que hablamos español

Como cada año regresa El Día E. Esta tercera edición se celebrará el sábado 18 de junio con actividades en nuestro instituto en Dublin y en todo el mundo.

Desde hoy puedes votar tu palabra favorita del español en www.eldiae.es y descubrir qué personalidades ya se han sumado a esta celebración.

¡Únete a El Día E!


Now a customary yearly event, El Día E is back. This third edition will take place on Saturday 18th June with various activities in our Institute, here in Dublin, and across the globe.

Starting from today, you can vote for your favourite Spanish world at www.eldiae.es and find out which celebrities have joined in with the celebrations so far.

Take part in El Día E!

Cortometrajes canarios / Shortfilms from The Canary Islands

Proyección cinematográfica / Film Screening

Cortometrajes canarios / The Shortfilm on the map. 5th and 6th session: Islas Canarias

18 & 19/05/2011 6:00 pm.

Instituto Cervantes
Lincoln House, Lincoln Place
Dublin 2

¿Quién era Lois Pereiro?

Lois Pereiro, nacido en Monforte, Galicia, en 1958, y fallecido 38 años más tarde en su tierra, es “el poeta punk hecho clásico”, según titula el diario Público en un artículo muy interesante dedicado a su vida y a su obra.

Pereiro, víctima del aceite de colza desnaturalizado, de la heroína y del sida escribió que “El cuerpo es una poesía de batalla / una carnicería en el cerebro”.

Hoy el Día de las letras Gallegas está dedicado a él.

El poeta punk hecho clásico

Día das letras galegas

Collected poems by Lois Pereiro

Lois Pereiro en Galego, presentación SlideShare

Lois Pereiro en Blog Galiza

Real Academia Galega


Lois Pereiro, born in Monforte, Galicia, in 1958, and who died 38 years later in his home land, is the “classic punk poet”, according to the title of a very interesting article by Público daily newspaper dedicated to his life and work.

Pereiro, a victim of denatured rapeseed oil, heroin, and AIDS, wrote that “The body is battle poetry / a butcher’s in the brain”. / a slaughter in the brain”.

Today, Galician Literature Day is dedicated to him.

El poeta punk hecho clásico

Día das letras galegas

Collected poems by Lois Pereiro

Lois Pereiro en Galego, presentación SlideShare

Lois Pereiro en Blog Galiza

Real Academia Galega

El dios de madera / The God of Wood

Proyección cinematográfica / Film Screening

Mañana / Tomorrow 17/05/2011 6:00 pm.

Instituto Cervantes
Lincoln House, Lincoln Place
Dublin 2

5 minutos con Luis Alberto de Cuenca

Continuamos nuestra serie de encuentros literarios en la biblioteca “5 minutos con… “ Luis Alberto de Cuenca

Carmen San Julián  charla con el poeta madrileño sobre sus lecturas y aficiones. Luis Alberto de Cuenca, nuestro autor del mes de marzo, nos visitó para celebrar con nosotros el Día Mundial del Libro en Irlanda.

Esperamos que os guste.


We continue our series of literary encounters in the library “5 minutes with…” Luis Alberto de Cuenca

Carmen San Julián chats to the poet from Madrid about his reading habits and hobbies.  Luis Alberto de Cuenca, our author of the month in March, paid us a visit to celebrate World Book Day with us, here in Ireland.

We hope you enjoy it.

Exposición / Exhibition: Paisajes bucólicos “Carlanga”

Por primera vez en Irlanda, el Instituto Cervantes Dublín, junto a la Embajada de Chile, tiene el placer de invitarles a disfrutar del trabajo más reciente del destacado pintor chileno Carlos Araya Vargas, “Carlanga”, con su propuesta “Paisajes Bucólicos”, compuesta por 10 trabajos en gran formato, en óleo sobre tela.

Formado en la Escuela de Artes de la Universidad de Chile y residente hace más de 20 años en París, Carlanga ha tenido una larga trayectoria como artista plástico con distintos reconocimientos en Chile, Francia y en otros países. Asimismo, este pintor chileno ha participado en diversas iniciativas sociales vinculadas con el arte en París y constituye uno de los artistas más relevantes de la pintura contemporánea chilena de los últimos 20 años.

http://www.carlosaraya.com/es/biographie/index.php

Desde el 12 de mayo, a las 6 de la tarde, hasta el 11 de junio de 2011, en el Instituto Cervantes de Dublín


For the first time in Ireland, the Instituto Cervantes Dublin, together with the Embassy of Chile, are pleased to invite you to enjoy the most recent work from the renowned Chilean artist Carlos Araya Vargas – “Carlanga”, with his collection “Bucolic Landscapes” made up of 10 oil canvasses in big format.

He trained in the School of Fine Arts at the University of Chile, and has resided for over 20 years in Paris. Carlanga has had a long career as a graphic artist and has won prestigious awards in Chile, France and other countries. In addition, this artist is one of the most relevant representatives of the Chilean current contemporary scene of the last 20 years. .

The opening of this Individual Showcase will take place on Thursday, May 12th at 18:00 in the Exhibition Room, Instituto Cervantes, and has been possible thanks to the support of the Cultural Affairs Department of the Chilean Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

http://www.carlosaraya.com/es/biographie/index.php

From the 12th of May 18:00 until the 11th of June 2011. Instituto Cervantes Dublin

Laura Freixas: Author of the month / Autora del mes

freixasLaura Freixas (Barcelona, 1958) estudió en el Liceo Francés de su ciudad. Se licenció en Derecho en 1980, pero se ha dedicado siempre a la escritura. Se dio a conocer en 1988 con una colección de relatos, El asesino en la muñeca.

En 1997 se publicó su primera novela, Último domingo en Londres, a la que siguieron Entre amigas (1998) y Amor o lo que sea (2005). Ha publicado también otro libro de relatos (Cuentos a los cuarenta, 2001) y una autobiografía: Adolescencia en Barcelona hacia 1970 (2007).

Paralelamente a su obra narrativa, Laura Freixas ha desarrollado una intensa labor como estudiosa y promotora de la literatura escrita por mujeres. En 1996 coordinó y prologó una antología de relatos de autoras españolas contemporáneas, Madres e hijas (que alcanzó 9 ediciones en el primer año), y en 2000 publicó el influyente ensayo Literatura y mujeres. En 2009 vio la luz otra antología de parecidas características, Cuentos de amigas, así como la obra La novela femenil y sus lectrices (Premio Leonor de Guzmán).

Ha sido editora, crítica literaria y traductora. Fundó y dirigió de 1987 a 1994 la colección literaria El espejo de tinta, de la editorial Grijalbo, donde publicó por primera vez en España a Amos Oz y Elfriede Jelinek, entre otros autores. Ha ejercido la crítica literaria en El País y traducido los diarios de Virginia Woolf y de André Gide, así como las cartas de Madame de Sévigné. Dirigió el número monográfico de Revista de Occidente consagrado al diario íntimo en España (julio-agosto 1996). Colabora regularmente en distintos medios: Babelia (suplemento cultural de El País), Revista de libros, Letras libres, Mercurio… y es columnista del periódico La Vanguardia.

Ha publicado libros de divulgación como Taller de narrativa (1999) y una biografía de la escritora brasileña Clarice Lispector bajo el título Ladrona de rosas (2010).

Imparte talleres literarios en diversas instituciones y ha sido profesora, conferenciante o escritora invitada en numerosas Universidades españolas y extranjeras (Estocolmo, Budapest, Londres, Edimburgo…), especialmente de Estados Unidos (Cornell, Virginia, Rutgers, City University de Nueva York, entre otras). En 2010 ha sido profesora visitante en la Universidad norteamericana de Dartmouth College.

Forma parte del Parlamento Cultural Europeo y preside la asociación Clásicas y Modernas para la igualdad de género en la cultura.Tras haber residido en Francia e Inglaterra, vive en Madrid desde 1991.

Laura Freixas charlará sobre Carmen Martín Gaite y con todos los asistentes al acto del martes 3 de mayo, a las 18h, en nuestro Café Literario.

También vamos a celebrar una entrevista digital con Laura en la bitácora de la biblioteca. Podéis enviar vuestras preguntas sobre sus obras, o sobre Carmen Martín Gaite. Laura responderá a ellas el mismo día 3 de mayo, de 16.30h a 17.30h, hora de Dublín.

Consulta la entrevista de los lectores con Laura Freixas


Laura Freixas (Barcelona, 1958) studied at the FrenchSchool in her home city. She got a BA degree in Law in 1980 but she has always been dedicated to writing. She was first known in 1988 for her collection of short stories, El asesino en la muñeca (The Wrist Murderer).

In 1997 her first novel Último domingo en Londres (Last Sunday in London) was published, followed by Entre amigas (Just between Friends, 1998) and Amor o lo que sea (Love or Whatever It Is, 2005). She has also published another collection of short stories (Cuentos a los cuarenta, Tales at the Age of Forty, 2001) and an autobiography: Adolescencia en Barcelona hacia 1970 (A Teenager in Barcelona Around 1970, 2007).

Along with her contribution to fiction Laura Freixas has developed an intense work both as a scholar and a promoter of literature written by women. In 1996 she compiled and wrote the prologue for an anthology of short stories by Spanish contemporary female authors, Madres e hijas (Mothers and Daughters, which reached nine editions during its first year), and in 2000 she published the influential essay Literatura y mujeres (Women and Literature).  In 2009, Cuentos de amigas (Women Friends), another anthology of similar characteristics was published, as well as the work La novela femenil y sus lectrices (Ladies’ Novels and Lady Readers, ‘Leonor de Guzmán’ Award).

She has also worked as a Spanish language assistant at two British universities, as a publisher, a literary critic for El País and a translator. At present she teaches literature workshops for different institutions, she writes as a columnist for the newspaper La Vanguardia and does literary reviews for its supplement “Cultura/s”. She is a contributor to literary magazines such as Mercurio, Letras libres, Revista de libros…

She has been a lecturer or a writer in residence at a large number of Spanish and foreign universities (Stockholm, Nottingham, Budapest, Cornell, Rutgers, CUNY…) and taught creative writing at the University of Virginia (UVA) in 2006 and at DarmouthCollege in 2010. She is a member of the European Cultural Parliament and the chair of the association Clásicas y Modernas for gender equality in Spanish culture.

After been living in France and England, she currently resides in Madrid since 1991.

We will also be hosting a virtual interview with Laura on our library’s blog, whereby you can ask her questions about her own work or the work of Carmen Martín Gaite. You can send in your questions as of now, Laura will answer them live on Tuesday 3rd May, from 4.30pm to 5.30pm. hora de Dublín.

Digital inteview with Laura Freixas

Cortometrajes madrileños / Shortfilms from Madrid

Proyección cinematográfica / Film Screening

Cortometrajes madrileños / The Shortfilm on the map. 3rd and 4rd session: Madrid

10 & 11/05/2011 6:00 pm.

Instituto Cervantes
Lincoln House, Lincoln Place
Dublin 2

Novedades en la biblioteca: mayo 2011 / New to the library: May 2011

Las novedades de la biblioteca pueden ser consultadas en nuestro catálogo en línea, como es habitual.

Para ello, seleccione ÚLTIMAS ADQUISICIONES, y elija el período de tiempo que le interesa, por ejemplo “los últimos 15 días, “el último mes”, o “los últimos tres meses”.

Ésta es nuestra selección para el mes de mayo de 2011.


The latest additions to the library catalogue can be consulted on-line as usual.

Click ÚLTIMAS ADQUISICIONES, then select “Dublin”, and choose the time period, for example, the past 15 days, the past month, or the past 3 months.

This is our selection for May 2011

Cuentacuentos / Storytelling

Érase una vez… personajes, criaturas, palabras, escenarios, objetos mágicos, ilusión, gestos, sonrisas; historias de hoy, de ayer y del futuro. Cuentos clásicos, contemporáneos, y como no, todos ellos divertidos.

Tienes un cuentacuentos el sábado 5 de mayo, a las 12:15h

En Facebook puedes ver las fotos de uno de los cuentacuentos realizado en nuestra biblioteca.

Te esperamos


Once upon a time… are characters, creatures, words, scenes, magic objects, gestures, smiles and excitement; stories from yesterday, today, and stories from the future; classic stories, contemporary stories, and of course, all of them, very entertaining stories.

Next storytelling on Saturday, 7th of May, 12:15h

You can see on Facebook some photos of one of our Storytelling held in our library.

See you there!

Cortometrajes vascos / Shortfilms from the Basque Country

Proyección cinematográfica / Film Screening

Cortometrajes vascos / The Shortfilm on the map. Second session: Basque Country

Hoy / Today 05/05/2011 6:00 pm.

Instituto Cervantes
Lincoln House, Lincoln Place
Dublin 2

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Virtual interview with Laura Freixas

Virtual Interview with Laura Freixas, Instituto Cervantes Dublin Library, 3rd May 2011. Translated by Emer Cassidy

Laura Freixas

LMartín
Laura, which title would you recommend to the foreign reader as a good introduction to Carmen Martín Gaite’s work?

Laura Freixas
“El cuarto de atrás”(translated into English under the title “The Back Room”).

LMartín
How does Carmen Martín Gaite’s work vary from that of peers?

Laura Freixas
In many ways… For example: she had a great capacity for analysis, reflection, and introspection.

Also: her ability to mix popular culture and daily life with high culture, and to do so in a very natural way.

Also: the great richness and plasticity of her language (which, similarly to the references she made, even geographical – New York with a town in Galicia -, flowed seamlessly between popular and high culture).

Another characteristic very much her own, and perhaps the most obvious difference between her work and that of her peers, whether male or female, is the variety of genres in which she worked: novels, short stories, plays, essays, daily newspapers, autobiography etc.

LMartín
Kafka’s influence in Martín Gaite’s first novel, El balneario, is evident, as the writer herself agreed. Which other influences could we glean from her bibliography? Are any of them women?

Laura Freixas
Good question…I hadn’t thought about that. I think she was influenced by the novelists of the nineteenth century – Galdós, Balzac, Flaubert…-, also by Proust…and I’m not sure who else… I think like all good (male/female) writers, she was a voracious reader, and that means that there is no one single influence in her work; she drew from many wells.

DCarrión
Ignacio Aldecoa introduced Carmen Martín Gaite to his circle of friends upon her arrival in Madrid: there she met Medardo Fraile, and Rafael Sánchez Ferlosio, with whom she later became romantically-involved until 1970. How important was this circle to her training as a novelist?  

Laura Freixas
Without a doubt he gave her support, and security, two things which are hard to find in the case of female writers, given that they are normally more isolated than male writers. Both formal groups (academies) and more informal groups (literary gatherings), where writers exchange opinions and ideas etc., tend to be male-dominated.

The entire group took on quite a similar aesthetic approach, a realistic and critical portrait of Spanish society at that time, in contrast to later generations who opted for more experimental literature.

DCarrión
Carmen Martín Gaite spoke on the television programme A Fondo, in and around 1981, of a before and an after in her writing style brought on by a refinement of her style crucial to the writing of her essay on Macanaz. Is her work previous to this still valid?  

Laura Freixas
How interesting, I didn’t know that. But, of course, her previous work is still valid, to my eyes Entre visillos shows she had already acquired a definite personal style. I read it just a few years ago and I still think it’s wonderful, and the same goes for Retahilas, for example.

DCarrión
Some years after the aforementioned TV programme, Carmen lost her only daughter. Did this tragic loss also affect the style and subject matter of her writing?

Laura Freixas
That’s a good question, but I don’t know… In any case, don’t forget that she had already lost a son, who died just a few months after having been born. That provided the autobiographical basis for her short story “Lo que queda enterrado”, although, oddly enough, the protagonist in the story loses a baby girl, not a baby boy.

(I think the reason for that change is that the death of the baby girl in the story takes on a greater meaning: it represents the death of the little girl in the narrator, of her hopes and dreams).

LMartín
You have mentioned before that very few women’s issues, such as pregnancy, are ever examined in literature. Which women’s issues did Carmen Martín Gaite explore in her work?

Laura Freixas
Lots of them: mother-daughter relationships, the profile of a housewife, feminine introspection, women’s various roles (comparing women who work outside the home, and those who don’t, for example), the creation of female characters rarely or never dealt with in literature (the “weird” girl, the artist etc.), the critical analysis of gender roles, inequality, the relationship between power and the lack of communication between the sexes…

LMartín
What other subjects do you think still remain difficult to write about simply because they are never discussed in literature?

Laura Freixas
I think there are still subjects which are scandalously absent from literature because they are difficult to deal with, or could cause a backlash, and/or because they are associated with sub-culture (they are viewed as “women’s magazine” topics, and aren’t considered “serious”). For example, pregnancy, abortion, or the negative aspects of motherhood.

DCarrión
Are Ana Karenina, Madame Bovary, and La Regenta “real” women, or are they transvestite men who have tried unsuccessfully to reflect the interior world of women?

Laura Freixas
Ah, what a good question! When I read those novels, I had the feeling there was something the authors hadn’t quite captured, or weren’t aware of, something they didn’t manage to fully reflect. I didn’t feel they were able to construct characters as convincing or as complex as those by Carmen Martín Gaite, Virginia Woolf or Annie Ernaux.

But the difference is so subtle that it would be very difficult to pinpoint exactly. Perhaps it’s for the same reason that I never fully believe historic novels. If I’m interested in learning more about the 17th century, I would be more inclined to read Madame de Sévigné, for example.

LMartín
How is the young Spanish woman from the ‘50s, the protagonist in “Entre Visillos”, different to the young woman from the ‘70s, the protagonist in “Adolescencia en Barcelona hacia 1970”?

Laura Freixas
The protagonist in Adolescencia… has had two or three times the luck of the young woman in Entre Visillos, to have been born in a more modern Spain (in terms of the era and the region, Catalonia), in a more cosmopolitan family, and to have studied in the French Lycée. All of those influences give her self-confidence, freedom, the ability to view things with a critical eye, and a clear ambition. She is more enterprising and more self-assured.

But what she does have in common with the protagonist in Entre visillos is a certain feeling of disorientation, that something isn’t right, but she can’t quite put her finger on what exactly.

(If truth be told, to answer the question properly I’d need to reread both books, because it’s not something I had ever thought of before. Thank you LMartín, for giving me so many ideas…)

DCarrión
The back cover of that same book reads:  …an education ruled by the maxim “You must be ladies”. Are today’s young women in Spain still under pressure to be ladies, or have things become even more difficult for them, in that nothing is expected of young women any more, nor of young people in general?

Laura Freixas
I don’t know, to tell you the truth, because the only young woman I know well is my daughter, and I, along with her father, and her school (the French Lycée, cela va sans dire!), expect a great deal from her.

LMartín
Is the biographical component also an important element in your other three novels “Último domingo en Londres”,”Amor o lo que sea” and “Entre amigas”?

Laura Freixas
Yes, absolutely. All my novels have an autobiographical core. I used to feel uncomfortable about that at the beginning, but not any more, for the following reasons:

1-Autobiographers are accused of having a lack of imagination, but I think I have proved that’s not the case with my books of short stories. Besides, it is possible to be a wonderful writer while not displaying much imagination (as with Proust, or Pla).

2- In revealing my life, I’m not revealing anything most people couldn’t relate to. My life is very similar to that of any other woman born in circumstances (generational, geographical, social etc.) similar to my own.

3- The autobiographical element is only the jumping-off point. It’s like the fabric from which I make a dress: first I have to cut out the pattern, sow it, add other materials and accessories, and so on. Multiple stories can be weaved from the one biography.

DCarrión
What happened with your first novel, “Último domingo en Londres”? Why was it such “an ordeal” to get published, given that you had already published your first book of short stories? Were you not able to convince Anagrama? I imagine they were your first choice.

Laura Freixas
That’s exactly it. I think it was a very ambitious (or complicated) novel for the little literary experience (or complete lack of, if we are talking specifically about novels) I had at the time.

Aside from that, I think that gender was something of a double-edged sword in the case of my initial success (Anagrama having published my first novel, given that I was unknown and that it was a book of short stories), in that, young women have a certain charisma and that affords them lots of opportunities… but then, when they are no longer so shiny and new, they are treated as “more of the same”…

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that so many female writers’ careers (I would interested in finding out if the same thing happened in other eras, and if it continues to happen in other fields, such as in politics, or painting) take off very early and with apparent ease, and then lose speed, or disappear completely, only to reappear (in some cases) years later, as the very same Carmen Martín Gaite, Carmen Laforet, Ana María Matute, Luisa Forrellad…

LMartín
Regarding “Ladrona de rosas”, isn’t it a luxury to throw yourself into writing and publishing the biography of a Brazilian author who isn’t particularly well-known in Spain? How did the need, or the idea, to write this book come about?

Laura Freixas
It was all thanks to a happy coincidence. An editor (María Borrás, from La Esfera publishing house) contacted me to ask if I would be interested in writing an autobiography, which gave me the opportunity study a writer who had always intrigued and fascinated me, through her life as much as her work.

DCarrión
Is “Ladrona de rosas” to Laura Freixas what “Macanaz” was to Martín Gaite? Did the writing of this book change the way in which you approach your literary work?   

Laura Freixas
I haven’t thought about that, but it has changed my approach to life, or rather, it has reaffirmed one thing, namely: for years I thought being a (part-time) housewife was a good way of being able to devote oneself to writing, without the pressures inherent in having to make a living from a career (be that literature or not).

Now, through my own experience, and also because I have seen it as clear as day in the case of Lispector, I think that is a very dangerous was of thinking, and which comes at a high price. Through her letters, we see that when she was living abroad, disconnected from what was happening in literary circles in her country, she was so distressed and depressed she had great difficulty writing. And she wrote her best works when she divorced, returned to Brazil and had to earn a living. Of course there are lots of factors at work there, but that doesn’t stop it being a fact.

LMartín
“A glass ceiling prevents many women from being published”, those are your words. What can we do to break through this glass ceiling?

Laura Freixas
The first thing we can do is be aware of it, talk about it, analyse it, research the figures, to try to understand why and how it occurs… In my association “Clásicas y Modernas”, that’s precisely what we do.

DCarrión
In 2009, you relayed some striking facts produced by the Spanish Ministry of Culture: “women read more than men, the number of men and women who write literature is equal – 8% of the population – however, only 20% of literature published in Spain is by women”. Has anything changed since then?

Laura Freixas
Unfortunately not. And neither have I observed a greater awareness of the situation… except in the case of those involved: female writers, painters, composers, film directors… as evidenced by the creation of various associations of women within the world of the arts in recent years, such as CIMA (association of women in film and audiovisual industries), MAV (Women in the Visual Arts) and Clásicas y Modernas (association for gender equality in the arts).

DCarrión
Your mother’s passion for reading was, as far as I’m aware, what led you to read and to write, “to turn yourself into a book” so that your mother would pay more attention to you. What did you read at that age? Which was the book that seeded your love of literature?

Laura Freixas
My love of literature began even before I could read. Oddly, I don’t remember a particular title which marked me greatly until the great discovery I made at 19: Proust.

Patricia
You were recently selected as one of the most representative authors of contemporary Spanish fantastic narrative. Proof of that is the inclusion of your short story “Final Absurdo” in the anthology of contemporary Spanish fantastic short stories “Perturbaciones, Antología del relato fantástico español actual” (Salto de Página, 2009).

What is your relationship with the fantastic genre? What is it that attracts you to it? How would you define today’s fantastic literature?

Laura Freixas
Well, I should confess that it’s a genre which interested me when I was younger, mainly as an influence of the Latin American boom, and now it doesn’t interest me so much…

Pavel
Laura, I think men are more group-oriented than women, making it much more difficult for women to achieve important positions within society. I don’t understand why it is like that. What is your view on the subject?

Laura Freixas
You’re right, women are more fragmented, living their lives at home, not making as much use of public spaces, and tending to spend their time with family and friends more so than with colleagues or competitors.

That has to do with power: men play power games much more than we do, and that happens through men tending to relate mostly with other men, through negotiations and exchanges. As for women, I’m not sure whether it’s that we don’t know how to play those games, we’re not able to, or we don’t want to. And I think being excluded from that interplay, whatever the reason may be (which I honestly don’t know), is a price we pay dearly.

Joe
Do you think men and women write about different subjects in their work?

Laura Freixas
Although it may be rather brash of me to make sweeping generalisations, I do think there are certain areas which are dealt with more by male writers (for example, war) and others which are more common among female writers (for example, relationships between women: friends, mothers and daughters, sisters etc.).

I also think that female writers tend to construct female characters which are varied and complex, with interests and ambitions not solely focused on love, whereas male writers are inclined to present female characters purely as the lover, mother, or wife of the male character, rather than the protagonist of her own life.

Joe
Laura, a few months ago you were interviewed on the radio for the classical music programme “Juegos con espejo”, in which the person being interviewed picks their favourite music. You chose only foreign composers. Why were there no Spanish composers among your selection? Thank you.

Laura Freixas
Thank you for pointing that out, I hadn’t noticed.

It’s purely down to my musical ignorance. The little musical knowledge I have has been almost entirely handed down from my parents, who were both great fans of classical music. As far back as I can remember they would listen to Bach, Handel, Mozart, Schubert… I added more modern composers (Janacek, R. Strauss…), and apart from that, my friends influenced me as a teenager, by introducing me to Janis Joplin, for example.

Although, if truth be told, now that you mention it, I think that like many of my generation, I had certain anti-Spanish prejudices in my formative years, which carried over to my tastes in literature (I started to get out of that mind-set quite late, in the ‘90s, when I began reading the Spanish classics, of my own accord), and I suppose also in music.

Colm
Do you think that men and women’s roles in society are the same in every country? Thank you.

Laura Freixas
Not in the slightest. Fortunately so, for those of us who live in the West, which proves that gender roles are a social fabrication and may be modified.

Vicky
Good afternoon, Laura. What does Carmen Martín Gaite’s “Caperucita en Manhattan” represent to you? Thank you very much.

Laura Freixas
Yikes, that’s one of the very few, perhaps the only, of her books I haven’t read… I’m sorry. I’ll make sure to read it.

Thank you to all of you for taking part.

Related links:

Laura Freixas is our author of the month throughout the month of May.

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