Latin America literature travels abroad

The world’s largest book fair opened in Germany and many countries in Latin America gets a second chance.

"By 2000 the interest began to fall and fall and fall in Germany and now no longer see the bottom of the hole," Straußfeld said in a debate in which also participated the Chilean writer Andrea Jeftanovic, Mexican Alejandro Estivill, Colombian Juan Esteban Constain and Peruvian Renato Cisneros.

"The four writers who are with us are all recognized in their countries and none of them are translated into German," he added as an example of this loss of interest, before inviting others to find the reasons for this phenomenon.

Jeftakovic hypothesized that right around 2000 there were a series of aesthetic changes in Latin American literature, but publishers are still looking for the "boom" and the magical realism kind of works.

For Constain, in recent decades there has been a crisis of "exoticism and the idea of the noble savage," being the reason why everywhere in the world is written differently.

However, in Europe still ask for that mythical sense to Latin America and she added, "when we do not offer it, they reject us."

According to Cisneros, Latin America passed from "magical realism to tragic realism" and the more recent writers address conflicts with a literary height production, he predicted, will be "a matter of time that Latin American literature regain the prominence it had once”

Estivill, meanwhile, pointed to the fact that Argentina and Brazil lose strength as publishing centers in Latin America and the overdependence on the Spanish publishers.

One reason for optimism, from his point of view, is that recovery trends are currently observed.

Michi Straußfeld closed the debate with the desire that "in Latin literary agents stand to defend Latin American literature throughout the world and to promote translations".

He also stated that Colombia, Peru and Chile should submit a joint bid to be guests of honor at the Frankfurt Book Fair and that Mexico must go ahead to return again to that category.

"If Flanders and the Netherlands (Flemish culture is the guest of honor this year) come together, why won’t we be able to join three Latin American countries?" He asked.

Straußfeld, at first, had recalled that the great reception of Latin American literature in Germany began in 1976, when he was the guest of honor in Frankfurt at the initiative of the then director of the Fair Peter Weidhaas, assistant to the debate today.

Later, literatures of specific countries started receiving a boost, as Argentina and Brazil, guests of honor in 2010 and 2014, respectively.

The path for Latin American literature is long but it will grow stronger than it has ever been, and opportunities like this one open the door again.

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