Axencia Literaria Galega Digest of authors in the Galician Literary Agency
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Xavier Alcalá PUBLISHERS Galician: Galaxia, Sotelo Blanco, Ediciós do Castro, Xerais, Ir Indo, Laiovento, A Nosa Terra Spanish: Ézaro, Anaya, Nowtilus, SM
A NOSA CINZA (‘Our Ashes’) This is one of the most widely read titles in Galician literature, perfectly depicting the entire post-war generation. It belongs to the genre of the bildungsroman (novel dealing with education and development), narrating the upbringing of a Galician boy, portraying his childhood memories until the social movements of 1968. Friendship, sex, religion and learning experiences in general are depicted here from an existentialist viewpoint. This modern classic in current Galician narrative is now into its 16th edition and is a must in Galician schools.
CÁRCERE VERDE (‘Green Jail’)
Born in a non-Galician town, Ciudad Real, he is Galician by adoption. One of the most representative figures in Galician literature. Being a telecommunications engineer with a PhD in computer science, he combines his professional work with his literary career, which started back in 1966. He has translated Treasure Island (Xerais, 1985) by R.L. Stevenson and A study in scarlet studio (Xerais 1986) by Arthur Conan Doyle, into Galician.
He has worked as a columnist since 1971 and is the author of short stories, novels and travel books, with more than fifty titles, including A nosa cinza, republished 16 times since 1980.
His narrative work reached its crowning glory around 2005, with the start of a trilogy marked by a return to the constants of his narrative: claiming historical memory, concern for social outcasts and minorities, travel as well as emigration novels, drawn together in a single, extensive plot entitled “Evangélica memoria”: Entre fronteiras (2004), Nas catacumbas (2005) and Unha falsa luz (2007). Further information about the writer: http://xavieralcala.org/
This splendid adventure book, so indebted to the endless well of Joseph Conrad, was republished in 1990, 1991 and 2004 by the Galaxia publishing house, and later, in Spanish, by Ediciones SM, Madrid, between 1993 and 1994. It was also translated into English with the title Emerald Jungle.
This novel deals with the ambition of men who are blinded by shining diamonds to such an extent that they hallucinate, leaving behind any awareness of their human dignity, imprisoned in a real labyrinth of plants. This book also sets out to tell a story that attracts the attention of the reader, and successfully achieves just that.
ALÉN DA DESVENTURA (‘Beyond the misfortune’)
A novel of intrigue and adventures, set in the Age of Enlightenment, deserving the Blanco Amor Award in 1998. This is certainly a great work and one more step in the process of recovering collective memory.
LA HABANA FLASH
A chronicle of a journey to present day Cuba whose main characters are the Galician people living on the island. They are, more often than not, the real characters of this vigorous, seductive report on a country living in contradictory, complex times.
Helena Villar Janeiro PUBLISHERS Galician: Galaxia,Ir Indo, Xerais, Alfaguara, Sotelo Blanco, Espiral Maior, Edelvives Spanish: La Galera, Bruño Basque: Elkar Catalan: La Galera
Helena Villar studied School teaching in Lugo, and later graduated in Arts and Humanities in Madrid. She is considered as one of the most important Galician writers of the 80’s. From the mid-80’s to the turn of the 90’s, her work focused on children and teenagers, covering all genres.
Some of her more outstanding works from this period are Patapau (1984) and Viaxe á Illa Redonda (1987), with which she won the second prize in Barco de Vapor Awards. In 2004, she published single-handedly another book of child poetry, Na praia dos lagartos, earning her the Arume Award.
Throughout her literary career she has been awarded a good deal of prizes in recognition of her work in the fields of poetry, narrative and journalism. Of particular note are the White Ravens of the Internationale Jugendbliothek of München by Ero e o Capitán Creonte (1990) and A canción do Rei (1994). Helena Villar Janeiro was founder of the PEN Clube de Galicia, and is now the president of the Rosalía de Castro Foundation.
NA PRAIA DOS LAGARTOS (‘On Lizards Beach’)
The Arume Award for children’s poetry was presented to her on 14th December, 2003, at the head office of the Xosé Neira Vilas Foundation. Out of the twenty-one works received, the jury selected the book of poems, Na praia dos lagartos, by Helena Villar Janeiro. The jury highlighted “the tenderness that emanates from its content, the choice of topics and how they are dealt with, very much in keeping with the world of children”. The book shows a warm approach to the Galician character, in a kind of poetry that gives off spontaneity and a real lexical mastery, gracefully and musically composed. The poet in this fantastic work does away with the border between reality and fiction in the search for a marvellous universe where each poem goes with an illustration closely linked to the content.
O SOUTO DO ANANO (‘The Dwarf’s Grove’)
This book depicts a natural, highly amusing space, inhabited by birds, butterflies, the clouds, the snow, the snail and the lizard.
It is also the place where our memory lies, connected with tales, fairies and the mysteries the children are eager to unravel. The dwarf, the most magical inhabitant of the woods, observant and attentive, is always willing to pay attention to the wonderful things brought by the passing of the days and nights. This book, easy to read for children, was published in 2007 in Spanish by Alfaguara, has beautiful illustrations by Marta Álvarez.
A CAMPÁ DA LÚA (‘The Moon Bell’)
A set of nineteen poems with a strong narrative component and a brief, musical verse. By means of urban figures, it shows elements of the world of children, of author literature and oral tradition. In this manner, witches jump the traffic lights, the king wears a paper crown and trains wear ties and hats of smoke. Stories of animals such as the trapeze squirrel, the vain duck, Don Honorato the cat or the green parrot are sometimes useful to play down children’s experiences such as thirst, fear or illness, as part of a learning process. Princesses, dwarfs and fairies never fail to show up in this wonderful world of “once upon a time”. These princesses, formerly enchanted snakes, accompany princesses in beautiful blue weddings. So this book is one more example of the literary mastery of Helena Villar Janeiro.
Xesús Fraga SOLIMÁN PUBLISHERS Galician: Edicións Xerais Spanish: Tropismos
Xesús Fraga is a Londoner by birth and Galician by adoption. He studied English Studies and graduated in journalism. He has been working as a journalist since 1996 and his work is originally written in Galician.
This year, 2008, he has been awarded the “4th Prize for journalist articles for language standardization, by the Carballo Town Council” in which he looks into the importance of standardizing language from the viewpoint of the latest generation of current musical groups singing in Galician as something completely normal, without having to take on the responsibility of being patriotic or saving their language. He has also authored several translations, such as Lolita (Ed. Factoría K de libros) and Arthur & George (Rinoceronte Editora) by Julian Barnes. In the worlds of the well-known writer, Manuel Rivas, “Xesús Fraga is the Galician Chekhov who came to us from London”.
The tale, told with an ironic yet tender glance, of the lives of the young people who grew up straddling the sixties and the eighties, addicted to their remembrances in a present that is better although less exciting. This novel remembers the lives of two young thirty year old men, Álvaro and Román, who were boys when the 23rd February aborted coup occurred in Spain. Their childhood is linked to that of Lucía, a girl with whom they shared so much around a cypress tree, in the council house patio in the village of Untía, a literary space particular to the author. A moving novel about the memory of recent childhood, written with great elegance and passion that deserved him the Rubia Barcia Award granted by the Town of Ferrol, in 2003.
A-Z is a book involving Londoners, written from the viewpoint of an emigrants’ son. A series of tales, with an underlying thematic unity, making up “crumbs of memories”, the vivified memory of the work of the Galician emigrants who, thirty five years ago, took to the British capital. As far as Xesús Fraga is concerned, “London is a great village made up of much smaller ones, not necessarily geographically coinciding with the A-Z maps, where the Galicians are yet another of the many tribes living on the north and south sides of the Thames”. A-Z is, therefore, vital as a guide, giving a description of the London of the Galician emigrants who have settled in the city, as well as of the visitors’ city who find in it an ephemeral paradise. His translation into Spanish is entitled A-Z. Emigrants in London.
Santiago Jaureguízar PUBLISHERS Galician: Xerais, Sotelo Blanco, Galaxia, Tambre, Tris Tram, Baía Spanish: Anaya
This versatile author, born in Bilbao, works as a journalist in the cultural section of the daily newspaper El Progreso, in Lugo. His creative, innovative spirit led him to be one of the pioneers in the world of blogs on Galician and European literature: www.cabaretvoltaire.com. He takes part in numerous conferences and congresses on Galician literature and Internet, including participation at the Portuguese Orfeo Cultural Centre in Brussels (2004), at the University of Cáceres (2004), at the Casa de Galicia in Madrid (1999), at the Universidade Nova de Lisboa (2005), at the Universidade do Minho (2005) or at the Frei Universitat in Berlin (2005). He is a member of the Technical Commission of Cultural Journalism at the Regional Council of Galician Culture. Member of the jury and winner of numerous literary prizes, some related to the audiovisual sector for having written and adapted scripts.
He combines his journalistic and literary work with his participation in congresses and giving conferences on Galician literature and literature on internet.
A COVA DAS VACAS MORTAS (‘The Dead Cows’ Cave’)
Awarded the Caixa Galicia Foundation Prize for young people’s literature, in 2006, this is a daring work that sets out to steer away from the more conventional themes and establish a significant story in the country. Starting from the present misfortune of its protagonist, the story takes us back to a recent past and to another prior to that, spanning the lives of three generations in the family. It ends with a defence of the human being’s freedom to forge his or her own destiny. This work comprises a suggestive story that will arouse the reader’s curiosity for being well constructed and for the intelligent dosing of real elements at the service of fictional needs. Its success is evident: 4 months after it was first published it is currently into its 2nd edition.
This work, widely accepted and distributed among the younger public, is now heading for its 5th edition. This is one of the school reference texts, both for its subject matter and for its rhythmic swiftness The translation into Spanish is published in the Espacio Abierto collection by the Anaya publishing house. Cabaret Voltaire is an audacious technical display, drawing together different literary genres, an unusual point of view involving a certain degree of risk and a harmoniously tuned, rhythmical structure.
It stands out for an elegant ability to create atmospheres, and slowly, almost without us realizing it, we submerge into the plot, where the seed of curiosity grows, like in the good detective stories. It is not what is being looked for that is important, but rather the ups and downs of the characters. A novel that is bound not to leave the reader indifferent, as occurred with the jury that awarded him the García Barros Prize in 2005.