A story of mystical murder to the rhythms of Inca ritual dances, a story of everyday corruption in Equatorial Guinea and a psychedelic reflection on exile in outer space are among the stories in an eclectic new collection set to feature the best young writers from Spanish language. language fiction.
Eleven years after publishing its first collection of the best emerging authors in Spanish, Granta magazine publishes a second volume that brings together 25 writers aged under 35 and now at work on four continents.
The list includes 11 female writers and 14 male writers from Spain, Nicaragua, Cuba, Colombia, Uruguay, Peru, Mexico, Argentina, Equatorial Guinea, Chile, Puerto Rico, Costa Rica and Ecuador.
“We were looking for originality, people who did unique things and didn’t seem to follow a trend,” said Valerie Miles, who edited the collection and announced the 25 authors at Madrid’s Instituto Cervantes on Wednesday. .
She called it an “extremely diverse list – much more than the first list, where there was a large amount of Spaniards and a large amount of Argentines, and there were many more men than women”.
Miles said the technology and foundation laid by the previous collection allowed Granta to look beyond big cities and publishing houses.
“There is a whole thriving microcosm of independent publishers working in small houses that are not just in the capital but in smaller towns,” she said.
“Awareness was easier and better, and of course the growing digital world allowed us to enter these places. The result was that we were able to read more from distant places.
In addition to containing works by color writing authors from Equatorial Guinea, Cuba, and Colombia, the 2021 volume also reveals how central and South American writers draw on native and indigenous traditions.
Ecuadorian author Mónica Ojeda talks about the Inti Raymi festival, an ancient Inca festival of the sun god where people dance until they are exhausted. “She reflects that energetic dancing in the choppy language she uses in her piece. By the time you finish reading, you’re exhausted because you almost feel like you’ve danced,” Miles said.
There were no Cubans on the 2010 list, but this time there are three: Carlos Manuel Álvarez, Dainerys Machado Vento and Eudris Planche Savón – a trio that Miles describes as a breath of fresh air.
“They’re not similar, but there’s a cubitude deep down that registers through the language and the way it’s used… It was fun to read them even though what they were writing was not not funny.”
Despite the geographic scope of the project, which narrowed down 200 works to the final 25, common themes emerged. Many of the submissions involved disenfranchised families and children fending for themselves; others were about power, its uses and the corruption it entails. There were also common influences: the unlikely trio of Philip K Dick, Roberto Bolaño and Sylvia Plath.
“It’s amazing how many writers have talked about reading Sylvia Plath – and I’m not just talking about women; it’s the men too,” Miles said. “I think she really resonates. In a way, it’s like Sylvia Plath is taking over from [JD] Salinger for teenage angst, the rite of passage, as if Esther Greenwood was now replacing Holden Caulfield.
The influence of science fiction is evident, especially in the contribution of Mateo García Elizondo, a young Mexican writer blessed and cursed to be the grandson of two giants of Latin American letters: the Colombian Gabriel García Márquez and the Mexican Salvador Elizondo.
“The article he wrote for this issue is about a man who is thrown into space because instead of capital punishment, people are thrown into space and live there alone until their death. dead,” Miles said.
“It’s very Vonnegut and Philip K Dick. But there is another mystical moment of epiphany where the person and the cosmos become one. After so much time alone staring out of a spaceship, what else could happen? »
The best of Granta’s young Spanish-language novelists
Andrea Abreu (Spain)
Jose Adiak Montoya (Nicaragua)
David Aliaga (Spain)
Carlos Manuel Alvarez (Cuba)
Jose Ardila (Colombia)
Gonzalo Baz (Uruguay)
Miluska Benavides (Peru)
Martin Felipe Castagnet (Argentina)
Andrea Chapela (Mexico)
Camila Fabbri (Argentina)
Paulina Flores (Chile)
Carlos Fonseca (Costa Rica/Puerto Rico)
Mateo Garcia Elizondo (Mexico)
Aura García-Junco (Mexico)
Munir Hashemi (Spain)
Dainerys Machado Vento (Cuba)
Estanislao Medina Huesca (Equatorial Guinea)
Cristina Morales (Spain)
Alejandro Morellon (Spain)
Michel Nieva (Argentina)
Mónica Ojeda (Ecuador)
Eudris Soap Board (Cuba)
Irene Reyes-Noguerol (Spain)
Aniela Rodriguez (Mexico)
Diego Zuniga (Chile)