Weekly Dispatches from the Frontlines of World Literature

Your Friday update from Argentina, Mexico, and Taiwan

TGIF because we have so much to tell you about the literary goings-on around the world! From book fairs in Argentina to new electronic media in indigenous languages from Mexico, to touring documentary screenings in Taiwan, this week has been packed with exciting news.

Sarah Moses, Editor-at-Large for Argentina, reports on upcoming events:

On March 22, The Museo del Libro y de la Lengua launched “Déjalo Beat. Insurgencia poética de los años 60,” an exhibit that seeks to bring attention to the beatniks porteños, a group of Buenos Aires authors and poets who embodied 1960s counterculture through works that were genre-bending and anti-academic. Open until July, the exhibit showcases magazines, photographs, early editions of novels, and other audiovisual material from writers including Reynaldo Mariani, Poni Micharvegas, Sergio Mulet, Ruy Rodríguez, and Néstor Sánchez. “Celebración Beat. La belleza de lo roto,” a multidisciplinary work of theatre based on texts from fifteen of the authors included in “Déjalo Beat” will be performed at the museum on April 7.

Bar Piglia, located in Buenos Aires’s Library of Congress, was inaugurated on March 31. The café commemorates Ricardo Piglia, who passed away on January 6; its walls are decorated with a mural and photos of the writer, and its shelves contain copies of his books. Piglia knew of the homage and, hours before his death, completed a piece tracing a history of the library and the role it had played in his life. The text was read by actress Cristina Banegas on the first night of “Palabras Vivas,” a reading series that will take place at the café.

This week the city of Bariloche, located in Argentinian Patagonia, plays host to the 6th annual Filba Nacional festival. The four-day event puts a spotlight on the host city’s literary scene while facilitating an exchange with that of the capital of Buenos Aires, as well as one between readers and writers. As such, authors from both cities participate in panels, give interviews, and read their work. During Bitácora, the festival’s closing event, six writers will read first-person pieces inspired by their wonderings through the city. The program also includes workshops, live music, and activities for teachers and children.

Editors-at-Large Paul M. Worley and Kelsey Woodburn check in from Mexico:

The second InDigital: Indigenous Engagement with Digital and Electronic Media took place at Vanderbilt University in the United States from March 16-18. Co-sponsored with Middle Tennessee State University, the conference explored indigenous cultural production across multiple media and genre, from film to song, and poetry to hip-hop. Highlights included a the attendance of a delegation of filmmakers and a songwriter from the Kayapo indigenous group in Brazil, as well as performances by Chilean Mapuche hip-hop artist Jaas Newen Mapu, and the Guatemalan Maya hip-hop ensemble Balam Ajpu. The event underscored how indigenous peoples in Latin America are taking the means of cultural production into their own hands, and into the 21st century, with the production of art, film, and literature.

From March 29-April 1, The Second International Poetry Reading of Writers in Indigenous Languages took place across several sites in Bogotá, Colombia. Readings included works read by indigenous writers from throughout the Western Hemisphere, including Wayuu, Náhuatl, and Kichwa. Hugo Jamioy (Kamsá nation) and Hilario Chacin (Wayuu) are among the lineup of participants. Both Jamioy and Chacin have works in Alison Hedge Coke’s anthology Sing: Poetry from the Indigenous Americas.

Continuing an established pattern of mutual support among “lesser spoken languages,” the Zapotec poet Natalia Toledo gave a poetry reading at the Agora in Coruña, Galicia, Spain, alongside Gallego poet Celso Fernández Sanmartin, as part of the series Poetas di(n)versos.

Vivian Szu-Chin Chih, Editor-at-Large for Taiwan, has the skinny on the latest publications and workshops:

Spring is paying a visit to Taiwan, bringing pleasant weather and blossoming azaleas all along the roads. During this lovely season, several inspiring books were freshly published, including the widely-read female novelist Ping Lu’s Heart Mandala [《袒露的心》]. After Lu’s many novels, novellas, and essays, this is her first book about her family. Poignantly honest, Ping Lu chose to unravel the stories in the second-person. Using “you” to navigate the narrative gives the whole book a certain degree of objectivity. The much-anticipated family writing has received positive feedback from other writers and readers. Some reflected that reading Heart Mandala has helped them to heal their own psychological wounds.

The 2017 Taiwan International Documentary Festival (TIDF) has been making its island-wide tour screening in cities from the north to down south and west to east since February. All the way until June, the festival will continue to bring selected documentaries to audiences around the island. Currently in April, the tour screening is taking place in Yunlin, with documentaries showing at the library of National Yunlin University of Science and Technology and 68 Cinema House.

In the afternoon on April 8, poet, music producer, and winner of two Golden Melody Awards for best lyricist Hakka lyricist Yung-Feng Chung [鍾永豐], will be talking about how to re-bestow ballads’ meanings at the National Museum of Taiwan Literature in Tainan City. The former executive editor-in-chief of Unitas magazine, Shun-Tsung Cheng [鄭順聰], is conducting a series of fundamental courses on literary composition in Taiwanese at Kishu An Forest of Literature [紀州庵]. From the intra-lingual translation of Chinese characters into Taiwanese written characters, the acquisition of the Taiwanese Romanization system, and pronunciation to recording a passage of self-composed literature in Taiwanese, the course should build a solid foundation for beginners who already understand and speak basic Taiwanese.


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