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The Authors Behind the Venezuelan Literary Boom

This post is the last of a two part series on our conversation with Venepoetics’ author Guillermo Parra about Venezuelan literature (online and offline) and his translations of Jose Antonio Ramos Sucre. You can read the first post here.

In the first part of this interview, Guillermo Parra told us about his experiences with Venezuelan poetry, his contact with new movements thanks to social media, and his take on what could be considered a new boom in the literature of the country. In this part of the interview we will share Guillermo's take on the new authors who are painting the landscape of new Venezuelan narratives.

En cuanto a escritores, me parece fascinante que hay varias generaciones que están publicando cosas muy interesantes. Las ocasiones cuando he estado en Caracas entre 2007 y 2010, me ha sorprendido la cantidad de presentaciones, lecturas y otros eventos literarios. Poder encontrarme con el poeta Rafael Cadenas revisando libros en las librerías [...] fue impactante para mí, hasta que me acostumbré a su presencia en los eventos literarios caraqueños. Pero las primeras veces que lo vi en público fue un poco intimidante, ya que su obra ha sido tan importante para mí.

Regarding the writers, I think it's fascinating to see different generations publishing a lot of very interesting things. The times I've been in Caracas, between 2007 and 2010, I've been surprised by the amount of presentations, readings and other literary events. Being able to meet poet Rafael Cadenas while checking books in bookshops impacted me until I grew used to his presence in Caracas’ literary events. The first times I saw him in public was intimidating, since his work has been so important to me.

We also asked Guillermo to give us some hints about some of the main characters of this “boom”. He told us:

Books, image via Shutterstock

Image via Shutterstock, copyright Falconia.

Hay un montón de escritores venezolanos contemporáneos que me parecen increíbles. En la narrativa, en particular, se está publicando tanto que no me ha dado tiempo para mantenerme al día. Algunos favoritos de las generaciones recientes son Carlos Ávila, Mujeres recién bañadas (Mondadori, 2009), Rodrigo Blanco Calderón, Una larga fila de hombres (Monte Ávila Editores, 2005), Dayana Fraile, Granizo (El perro y la rana, 2011), Ana García Julio, Cancelado por lluvia (Monte Ávila Editores, 2005), Liliana Lara, Los jardines de Salomon (Universidad de Oriente, 2008), Mario Morenza, Pasillos de mi memoria ajena (Monte Ávila Editores, 2008) y Gabriel Payares, Cuando bajaron las aguas (Monte Ávila Editores, 2008). [Pero hay] gran un problema: los libros venezolanos no se consiguen fuera de Venezuela, no circulan ni en Latinoamérica ni aquí en los Estados Unidos)

There are a lot of Venezuelan contemporary writers that I find amazing. In fiction, particularly, there is so much being published that I haven't been able to stay up to date. Some favorites from recent generations are Carlos Ávila, Mujeres recién bañadas (Mondadori, 2009), Rodrigo Blanco Calderón, Una larga fila de hombres (Monte Ávila Editores, 2005), Dayana Fraile, Granizo (El perro y la rana, 2011), Ana García Julio, Cancelado por lluvia (Monte Ávila Editores, 2005), Liliana Lara, Los jardines de Salomon (Universidad de Oriente, 2008), Mario Morenza, Pasillos de mi memoria ajena (Monte Ávila Editores, 2008) y Gabriel Payares, Cuando bajaron las aguas (Monte Ávila Editores, 2008). [Nevertheless,] there's a big problem: Venezuelan books can't be found outside Venezuela. They don't circulate neither in Latin America, nor here in the US.

And about influences and literary connections, Guillermo says:

No veo mucha diferencia entre las historias de estos escritores y las que me han influido a mí en los Estados Unidos. Sus propuestas literarias reflejan una amplia red de influencias, desde el español Enrique Vila-Matas hasta la venezolana Teresa de la Parra y el estadounidense David Foster Wallace…

I don't see much difference between these writers’ stories and the ones that have influenced me in the US. Their literary proposals reflect a wide set of influences, from the Spanish Enrique Vila-Matas to the Venezuelan Teresa de la Parra, as well as the North-American David Foster Wallace…

Finally, he adds:

Pienso que los lectores, dentro y fuera de Venezuela, deberían conocer a estos narradores porque nos dan una muestra de los diversos rumbos que podría tomar la literatura venezolana en los años que vienen. Son apasionados de la literatura, pero ante todo, escriben historias que revelan la poesía o la magia que a veces surge en nuestras vidas cotidianas.

I think readers inside and outside the country should know these fiction writers. They give us a taste of the different ways that Venezuelan literature could go in the years ahead. They're passionate about literature, but above all, they write stories that reveal the magic and the poetry that sometimes come up in our daily lives.

You can find more about Venezuelan literature, and also some of Guillermo's translation of Ramos Sucre, in his blog Venepoetics.

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