- Ena Lucía Portela's Cien botellas en una pared has been translated by the talented Achy Obejas, and has been published as One Hundred Bottles (via The Constant Conversation). Given the magnificent job Obejas did in translating Junot Díaz's The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao into Spanish, I'm sure this will be a wonderful introduction of Portela's work into English.
- Guadalupe Nettel and Andrés Neuman will participate in the 2011 Hay Festival in Cartagena at the end of January. Nettel will be part of a panel discussion with Jorge Franco and Pola Oloixarac--they'll be talking about "how they tackle writing new stories, the new novels they have in mind, what obsessions they have as writers and how they knit together new narratives in their imagination". She will also interview French author and film director Philippe Claudel. Neuman will take part in the panel discussion with Pola Oloixarac and Agustín Fernández Mallo on "The novel: that useful artefact", which will explore the novel's "open and iconoclastic genre" and how "everything is possible in its vast territory". He'll also be included in the "Favorite Book Gala"--a popular and fun festival event. Both were judges of this year's RCN and the Ministry of Education's story competition for students (along with Fernando Gaitán, Beatriz Robledo, Roberto Burgos Cantor, and Juan Gossaín), and will participate in the judges' panel discussion and award ceremony.
- Much has been made of Granta's new "The Best of Young Spanish-Language Novelists" issue (and deservedly so!), which includes four members of the Bogotá 39. Three Percent is continuing to showcase all participants--members Andrés Neuman, Santiago Roncagliolo, and Alejandro Zambra have been discussed, and I look forward to the upcoming post on Rodrigo Hasbún.
- Last month, Antonio Ungar won the 2010 Premio Herralde de Novela for Tres ataúdes blancos. In an interview with El Espectador, Ungar talked about how his novel could not help but reflect our political reality:
“Sigue siendo la realidad, pero una más dura, una deformada, y utilizo el humor para abordarla. Porque en Colombia tras una matanza, esa misma tarde ya hay un chiste, reírse de lo trágico es algo muy colombiano, hay algo que conecta la risa y la muerte”.
("It continues to be the reality, but a harder one, deformed, and I use humor to tackle it. Because when there's a massacre in Colombia, there's already a joke ready that same afternoon. Laughing at tragedy is very Colombian--there's something that connects laughter and death.")
"Antes de empezar", the 23-page excerpt Anagrama has posted (as a PDF), fully demonstrates the tendency: Ungar's clever black humor takes off from the very first page.