Festival Eñe

Literature, naturally

11/10/2022 · By Roberto C. Rascón
The Festival Eñe programme has been extended and will span 17 days, from 11 to 27 November.
The Festival Eñe programme has been extended and will span 17 days, from 11 to 27 November. © Maira Villela

Festival Eñe, which celebrates its 14th edition in Madrid and Málaga, is back with a brand-new category: the Festival Eñe Talento a bordo Award. This award will be granted to an emerging talent in Spanish literature, topping off an event that will feature Argentina as guest country, 80 literary activities, and more than 150 guests. Its leitmotif: “naturalness.”

The 14th edition of Festival Eñe, which will be celebrated between the 11th and the 27th of November, will bring together scores of leading figures from the Spanish literary world. Rosa Montero, Elvira Lindo, Juan Mayorga, Luis García Montero, Juan José Millás, Sara Mesa, Bernardo Atxaga, and Joaquín Sabina, among others, make up a staggering line-up rounded off with writers such as Eduardo Sacheri, Lucía Lijtmaer, Martín Caparros, Andrés Neuman, and María Negroni representing the guest country: Argentina. An unmissable event for lovers of literature and other arts, since the festival includes other artistic manifestations, like music or theatre.

“For us, this is recognition of the wide reach Argentinian literature has had across the world in recent years,” Paula Vázquez, Director of Cultural Affairs of the Argentinian Chancellery, declared during the opening ceremony. As well as announcing the guest country, another of the main attractions of this event revealing the programme was discovering its leitmotif. This is how the literary director of this edition, Lola Larrumbe, from the Librería Alberti bookshop, puts it: “When it seems like human beings are irreversibly moving away from nature towards a world increasingly inhabited by machines, it’s worth pausing and returning to the original source of literature to repair that oversight. Nature is the source of fantasy and imagination, the primordial fire of language.” This proposal declares the power of literature as the most natural creative act and its festive gathering nature around words.

“Nature is the source of fantasy and imagination, the primordial fire of language" — Lola Larrumbe

Festival Eñe Talento a bordo Award
The 2022 edition will include a new category, the result of the collaboration between the event organiser and Iberia: the Festival Eñe Talento a bordo Award. Its purpose is to recognise the literary vocation of Spanish-language authors with emerging professional careers and Pol Guasch will be the first winner. This 24-year-old Catalan writer and poet published his first novel, Napalm en el corazón, in 2021. Guasch has been chosen by a jury made up of well-known cultural journalists: Javier Rodríguez Marcos, writer and literature coordinator at Babelia (El País); Laura Revuelta, chief editor of ABC Cultural; and Jesús Marchamalo, journalist, writer and collaborator of the programme El ojo crítico on Radio Nacional de España (RNE), together with Gemma Juncá, Iberia's Marketing and Brand Director.

This award goes hand in hand with the Festival Eñe Award, which recognises a writer’s entire career, and which will be granted to Rosa Montero. This writer and journalist from Madrid, author of novels like The Madwoman of the House, Historia del rey transparente, or La ridícula idea de no volver a verte, follows Almudena Grandes on the list of winners, who couldn’t attend the award ceremony last year due health reasons —she passed away a few days later—. Since its creation, other winners include Mario Vargas Llosa (2020), Javier Cercas (2019), Gioconda Belli (2018), and José Manuel Caballero Bonald (2017). Both Pol Guasch and Rosa Montero will receive their awards during a gala held at the Círculo de Bellas Artes (Teatro Fernando de Rojas) on the 19th of November.

A great programme
The Festival Eñe literary fair offers an extensive programme: from conversations to recitals or meetings. The numbers say it all: 80 events in 32 spaces in Madrid and Málaga, with more than 150 protagonists across 17 days. Also, for the first time, the event will host two programmes focused on the Basque and Catalan languages, curated by Bernardo Atxaga and Llucia Ramis, respectively. “We've wanted to shine a spotlight on authors who write in the State’s co-official languages,” said the director of festival, Luis Posada. A clear commitment to go above and beyond: more activities, more venues, guests, days, languages, and awards.

Festival Eñe’s programme, which can be found in full here, will be hosted at dozens of venues. In Madrid, the Círculo de Bellas Artes, the Teatro de la Abadía, and the Biblioteca Regional Joaquín Leguina will be swarming with activity during the three weekends. The Cervantes Institute, the National Library, the Royal Academy, the Casa de América, the Residencia de Estudiantes, CentroCentro, the Fundación Casa de México, and the Real Jardín Botánico will be some of the cornerstones of the Eñe Week. Madrid’s bookshops will also offer a specific programme. Here is a small selection:

> Biblioteca Regional Joaquín Leguina
Gabi Martínez. Origins of Literature. Literature in Spain
Friday, 11th of November, 6.30 p.m. Sala de Encuentros

Lucía Lijtmaer and Laura Fernández. Stories of places where people would like to live
Saturday, 12th of November. 8 p.m. Salón de Actos

> Círculo de Bellas Artes
Erri de Luca and Valerio Rocco. To keep my sight clear, I started looking at the sky
Friday, 18th of November. 6 p.m. Teatro Fernando de Rojas

Héctor Abad Faciolince and Mercedes Cebrián. The city is human territory
Saturday, 19th of November. 12 a.m. Teatro Fernando de Rojas

Uxue Apaolaza, Fermin Etxegoien, and Elvira Lindo (A window into Basque literature)
Saturday, 19th of November. 5.30 p.m. Salón de Baile

Festival Eñe Award. Award ceremony and conversation with Rosa Montero
Saturday, 19th of November. 8 p.m. Teatro Fernando de Rojas

> Cervantes Institute
Joaquín Sabina, Juan G. Vásquez, and Luis Gª Montero. Novels to understand the world
Tuesday, 15th of November. 8.30 p.m.

> Blanquerna Cultural Centre
Enric Casasses, Carles Rebassa, and María Callís. Poetry (A window into Catalan literature)
Wednesday, 16th of November. 7 p.m.

> Residencia de Estudiantes
Juan José Millás and Juan Luis Arsuaga. Homo in search of meaning
Monday, 21st of November. 7.30 p.m.

> Spanish Royal Academy
José María Merino and Juan Gómez Bárcena. Ñ generation
Tuesday, 22nd of November. 7 p.m.

> Olavide. Bar de Libros
Reading by Andrea Abreu
Tuesday, 22nd of November. 7 p.m.

> Teatro de la Abadía
Chantal Maillard. Dramatized reading of Medea
Saturday, 26th of November. 7 p.m. Sala Juan de la Cruz

Also, between the 24th and the 27th of November, Málaga will host José María Pou, Rosa Montero, Juan Cruz, Nuria Labari, Daniel Mordzinski, Chantal Maillard, Carlos Pardo, Sara Mesa, Luis Muñoz, Niño de Elche, Mariano Peyrou, and Ana Griott, among others.