23 August 2009

The Bogotá 39: Two Years Later

As the 22nd International Book Fair (and its blog, Las palabras de la feria) in Bogotá draws to a close, El Espectador provides a much-needed update on the Bogotá 39. In the past two years, Andrés Neuman (Argentina) won the 2009 Alfaguara Novel prize for El viajero del siglo (The Traveler of the Century), Jorge Volpi (México) won the 2009 Debate-Casa of América prize for his forthcoming (November 2009) essay El insomnio de Bolívar (Bolívar's Insomnia) and Juan Gabriel Vásquez was shortlisted for the Independent's Foreign Fiction Prize (along with Anne McLean) for the English translation of Los informantes (The Informers). Many others also published new books.

Both Volpi and Vásquez agree that a common element of the 39 is that they do not share any one theme, ideology or literary voice:
“Lo que ha pasado es que se ha producido un fenómeno de desregionalización de la producción artística, en donde no tenemos que ser aprobados en nuestros países y, en el exterior, no se nos exige que escribamos como latinoamericanos, con los tonos del realismo mágico. Finalmente se está dando un proceso en donde uno encuentra su público en pequeños grupos de personas que no tienen por qué estar supeditados a un territorio en concreto. Vamos hacia un panorama más libre”, describe Volpi.
("What's happened is that a phenomenon of non-regionalist artistic production has emerged where we don't have to be approved in our own countries and, in the exterior, they don't demand that we write like Latin Americans, with tones of magical realism. It's finally creating a process where one finds his or her public in small groups of people that don't have to be tied to a specific territory. We're moving towards a more open outlook", describes Volpi.)

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