Saturday, June 27, 2009

Hay Festival in Cartagena - Jan 29 - Feb 1, 2009 gathers the world's top writers

From: The Examiner by Liliana Dones

Within the romantic walls of Cartagena de Indias, the magical and magnificent colonial fortress city on Colombia's Caribbean coast, the MAPFRE Hay Festival will begin its 4th Annual convention of some of the world's greatest writers from January 29 through Feb. 1st. The Hay Festival / Cartagena is a direct offshoot of the Hay-on-Wye Festival, founded in the town of the same name (thank me for not using "eponymous") in Wales by British actor and director Peter Florence, in 1988.

This year's Hay Festival / Cartagena will bring scores of writers who will convene to share ideas, among them, Salman Rushdie, president of the prestigious US Pen Club, but still probably best known for the Satanic Verses. Rushdie, whose latest novel, The Enchantress of Florence, will be published to coincide with the 2009 Cartagena Hay Festival, will hold a conversation with writer Eduardo Lago, director of the New York Cervantes Institute.

Professor Lago will also conduct a conversation with Junot Díaz, author of the highly celebrated The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, and winner of the 2008 Pulitzer Prize.

Other highlights among the scores of writers in attendance include Luis Sepúlveda, the Chilean author of the bestseller, The Old Man Who Read Love Stories; Mexican Alberto Ruy Sánchez, a well-known editor and writer, author of more than twenty books of essays, poetry, short stories and novels will converse with Luis Fayad and Leyla Bartet about "the Arab element in our writing/literatures;" Fernando R. Lafuente, Marianne Ponsford y Manuel Rodríguez Rivero in conversation with Pablo Jiménez Burillo on a "criticism of cultural criticism."

The British biographer, Gerald Martin, author of the ‘tolerated biography’ of Gabriel García Márquez, recently published in the United Kingdom, talks to Mario Jursich, director of the magazine, El Malpensante, about the more than 20 years he spent researching the biography of the Nobel Prize winner.

Martin Amis, the highly celebrated of British author of novels including, Money, Time’s Arrow, and most recently, House of Meetings, also a literary critic whose work appears in The Times, The Guardian and The New York Times, will be in conversation with Peter Florence, director of the Hay Festival, who started it all back in 1988.

Opening the Festival on Thurs 29 Jan, 12:30 will be Miguel Bosé and Juanes "Musicians in solidarity." The highly popular Miguel Bosé, a top-selling musician in Europe and South America, and actor in films by Pedro Almodóvar and Vicente Aranda, and the even more popular Juanes, ‘the most important figure in Latin music’ according to the Los Angeles Times, (winner of 12 Latin Grammys and included on Time magazine’s list of ‘The World’s 100 Most Influential People)’, talk to Roberto Pombo, director of El Tiempo, about their work with different NGOs.

Speaking of musicians-- there will be plenty of music-- a concert by the London-based group, Asian Dub Foundation, will feature their special mix of dub, drum and bass, reggae, punk, traditional Indian tunes, African instruments and rap; dance music that is committed to harmony among cultures, social change and dialogue from a critical and conciliatory viewpoint, underlining the interracial character of music. These “rappers with a cause”, as they have been dubbed by The Guardian newspaper, have played for audiences of 100,000 people, composed an opera about the Libyan leader Qadafi and created an non-profit organization, ADFDE, through which they teach music to marginalized young people.

Another headline concert will be given by Sarah Jane Morris, described by The Observer as ‘much more than a style, she is a force of nature,’ and as the ‘Queen of Jazz-Soul’ (Vogue, Italy) featuring blues, jazz and soul, accompanied by the guitarist Dominic Miller.

All conversations will be simultaneously translated from Spanish to English. Tickets can be purchased directly from the Box Office at the Teatro Heredia in Cartagena de Indias. Most events are 10,000 pesos (around $4.50 USD).

You have a week to book a flight, so get going!

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