Some seven years ago, Granta, a journal that has become synonymous with the finest literary writing coming out of the United Kingdom – to say nothing about it featuring some of the best writing coming out of the United States – published its first issue of Granta en español.
In “a culmination of a dialogue” with the Spanish-speaking world it initiated back then, Granta published The Best of Young Spanish Language Novelists last year. Just as its landmark issue from 1983 spotlighting young novelists from the U.K. (Salman Rushdie, Kazuo Ishiguro, Martin Amis, Julian Barnes, Pat Barker, Ian McEwan, Graham Swift among them) and its 1996 issue doing the same for American young novelists (Sherman Alexie, Edwidge Danticat, Jonathan Franzen, Jeffrey Eugenides, Ethan Canin, Madison Smartt Bell, Lorrie Moore, Steward O’Nan, David Guterson, Elizabeth McCracken were on that list), the special issue marks another noteworthy survey from the journal.
“In ten years’ time, we will see if our choices were correct, how many of the writers in this collection will have lived up to their promise, how many of them will endure,” the co-editors of Granta en español, Aurelio Major and Valerie Miles, boldly state in the issue’s foreword. (Major and Miles also served on the selection jury.)
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A few of the 22 chosen writers will be touring the U.S. in May as part of a program titled “Building Bridges: Spanish and English Language Writers in Conversation.” Sponsored by a plethora of cultural organizations – the Spain-USA Foundation, the Embassy of Spain, Ministry of Culture of Spain, Duomo Ediciones (let’s just say all of Spain, basically) and, of course, Granta en español — the program kicks off on the West Coast before heading to the East.
On May 16 at Elliott Bay Book Company in Seattle, the program will feature narradores Andrés Barba, Javier Montes, and Alberto Olmos with David Guterson in conversation with Valerie Miles, Elliott Bay owner Rick Simonson and Anthony Geist, the chair of the Spanish and Portuguese Department at the University of Washington.
On May 17, the show comes to Books Inc. Opera Plaza in San Francisco. The same narradores will be joined by Andrew Sean Greer and Yiyun Li. The moderators will be Miles and ZYZZYVA Managing Editor Oscar Villalon.
These are the only stops out here. So though the events are a few weeks away, you might as well plan accordingly now.