This is your chance: be patron of a great author!

I am delighted to inform you that Quentin S. Crisp, a great friend and great author, has just launched his Patreon page, so that you can become one of his patrons and support his writing projects.

This is the link:

Patreon Quentin S. Crisp

Seriously, if you care about literature, and about supporting great authors who have escaped the radar of the mainstream — which is usually a good thing as far as literary quality is concerned — , your money can hardly be better used. 

I’m not saying this because he’s my friend. The invitation in this blog may be inspired by friendship, but my appraisal of his work is not. (I am fairly objective in these things, and I don’t go about praising friends publicly indiscriminately.) Quentin’s devoted and disciplined commitment to literature go hand in hand with the depth of his thought and sensitivity. He has a brilliant, questioning mind, an inspired voice, and his work is worth all the support that you can give.

On Ciudad doliente de Dios, by Ana Elena González Treviño

For those who couldn’t attend the book launch of my novel Ciudad doliente de Dios (Doleful City of God) last 5th of December at the Residency of the Mexican Embassy in London, I am pleased to share the very generous and beautiful text read that evening by Ana Elena González Treviño PhD, Director of the Centre for Mexican Studies UNAM-UK at King’s College. The novel is inspired on William Blake’s Prophetic Poems. 

Please click on the link below:

Doleful City of God, book launch

Book launch, Ciudad doliente de Dios

I am happy to announce that my novel Ciudad doliente de Dios, recently published by Alfaguara, will have its London launch next 5 December, at the Mexican Embassy Residence, at 6.00 pm. The event will be in English.

The novel was inspired in William Blake’s Prophetic Poems. I will be in conversation with Ana Elena González Treviño, PhD, another Blake expert and head of the Centre for Mexican Studies in the United Kingdom.

The address is 48 Belgrave Square, SW1X 8QR.

You can confirm you’re attending at

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/book-launch-ciudad-doliente-de-dios-by-adriana-diaz-enciso-tickets-81730099929

Hope to see you there!

Cover Ciudad doliente de Dios cover

Stories for the Day of the Dead

Today, November the 2nd, is the traditional Mexican celebration of the Día de Muertos (the Day of the Dead), a perfect date to see the launch of A Miscellany of Death and Folly, described by its publishers, Egaeus Press, as ‘An entertainment including works from some of the finest authors of the weird and morbid working today’. 

I am most happy to be part of this miscellany with my short story ‘A Monument’, sharing its pages with other 15 authors. The book, again in Egaeus’ description, ‘is a lithographically printed, 250 page sewn hardback with colour endpapers; limited to just 300 copies’, and can be ordered here:

http://www.egaeuspress.com/Death_&_Folly

Egaeus Press’ books are jewels, and I hope you’ll enjoy this one!

***

Hoy, 2 de noviembre, es por supuesto Día de Muertos, un día perfecto para el lanzamiento de A Miscellany of Death and Folly, descrito por los editores como “un entretenimiento que incluye obra de algunos de los mejores autores de la literatura weird y mórbida hoy día”.

 Me alegra mucho ser parte de esta miscelánea con mi cuento “A Monument”, compartiendo el espacio con otros 15 autores. El libro, de nuevo en la descripción de Egaeus, es un “volumen de pasta dura de impresión litográfica, con 250 páginas, con guardas de color, y con una edición limitada a solo 300 ejemplares”. Se puede encargar aquí:

http://www.egaeuspress.com/Death_&_Folly

Los libros de Egaeus Press son unas joyas. ¡Espero que disfruten de ésta!

Una despedida, con gratitud / A Farewell, with gratitude

(Scroll down to read in English)

No conocí a Ramón Córdoba en persona, pero desde el primer email que me envió en marzo de 2018 para decirme que sería el editor de mi novela Ciudad doliente de Dios, supe que tenía en él a un amigo.  Su email no era nada más cordial, sino entusiasta y muy cálido. Supe también que era muy afortunada de que mi libro estuviera en manos de un editor con una carrera tan larga y brillante, que había dedicado su vida a la literatura.

Pronto nuestra correspondencia reflejaba la mutua confianza, y sentía que había sido mi amigo durante mucho tiempo. 

Mi gratitud fue también inmediata. Tras una lectura atenta de la novela, Ramón confió en ella y tomó la extraordinaria decisión de no hacerle recortes innecesarios a una novela de 700 páginas. Y digo que es una decisión extraordinaria porque no es fácil que una editorial comercial tome semejantes riesgos con autores que, como es definitivamente mi caso, no somos best-sellers.

El respeto por el libro que tenía en las manos y su comprensión profunda de lo que yo había tratado de hacer me llenaban de ánimo. Titulaba esos primeros correos “Reporte del navegante”, y durante el tiempo que llevó la edición me hacía sentir que el esfuerzo de sacar el libro a la luz era de hecho una travesía en la que íbamos juntos. Estuvo siempre atento a lo que yo deseaba que fuera el libro; amaba además a Blake, y fue un placer elegir con él las imágenes para la portada. Fue veloz para conseguir los derechos de reproducción del British Museum cuando el tiempo apremiaba y gracias a ello la portada, con esa imagen de The First Book of Urizen de Blake, es tan hermosa.

Inicié la escritura de Ciudad doliente de Dios en 1997;  ha sido mi proyecto de escritura más largo, aventurado e importante; durante años pensé que ninguna editorial querría arriesgarse con un libro así y durante el proceso de su producción estaba muy ansiosa. Ramón y Mayra González, directora literaria de Alfaguara, así como Rosa Beltrán, coeditora desde la Dirección de Literatura de la UNAM, hicieron un trabajo heroico, ahora sí que navegando por las complicaciones de producir una novela tan larga, pero fueron además un apoyo constante y firme, calmando mi ansiedad con su fe en mi libro, que es lo que todo autor sueña tener, y necesita, de sus editores, pero que por desgracia no siempre tiene. 

En el transcurso de la aventura, Ramón y yo hablamos de los paisajes contrastantes de Londres y la Ciudad de México; intercambiábamos breves noticias de flores, pájaros, ardillas; de los cambios que vivía México durante las elecciones, de la melancolía invernal. Un día me envió una foto del Río Bravo, cuando andaba en Coahuila. Había ido a dar una conferencia sobre “cómo es que leer importa”. Esas charlas, decía, eran una siembra. Tenía una forma muy generosa y a la vez desenfadada de recordarme que autora y editores íbamos de la mano; que la novela tenía un respaldo. Sus correos llegaban con su sentido del humor y también con un optimismo que se contagiaba.

A medida que se acercaba la publicación de la novela, Ramón fue de una gentileza y firmeza invaluables cuando me entró un ataque de pánico y compartí con él mi miedo de que el libro fuera en realidad una locura. La emoción de los días en que estaba a punto de entrar a imprenta era compartida, y en cuanto estuvieron impresos los primeros ejemplares me mandó una fotografía. Decía que era mi socio y cómplice y así lo sentí siempre.

Los dos últimos correos que recibí de Ramón hablan, uno, de su compromiso con el libro (para avisarme que lo enviaba a un concurso), el otro de su generosidad y calidez. Al día siguiente de que falleció mi queridísimo amigo Armando Vega Gil en abril, me envió un abrazo y, en lugar de palabras, que se quedan cortas ante la muerte y la tragedia, una fotografía de la Avenida Reforma vista desde arriba, inundada de jacarandas, como una cruz en flor. El título del email era “Tu ciudad, hoy…”, y se lo agradecí con el alma: la calidez, el afecto, la sutileza, la belleza misma de la foto. Ramón era mi amigo.

Nunca dudé de que la próxima vez que fuera a México celebraríamos todos juntos la aparición de la novela, ni de que podría agradecerles en persona a mis editores su fe en el libro, su trabajo, su apoyo inmenso. Estaba segura de que brindaríamos, de que podría darles un abrazo. A todos.

El fallecimiento inesperado de Ramón el pasado 19 de junio me dejó sin habla. Para esa celebración había contado con todo, menos con la muerte. Sé que perdí a un aliado y a un amigo, y México perdió a un editor y escritor apasionado, entregado por completo a la literatura: incansable sembrador. 

Gracias, Ramón. Mi gratitud es de verdad infinita. No sé si tendrás idea de cuánto lamento no haber podido decírtelo en persona y darte un abrazo. Ya nos lo daremos allá, a donde vamos todos.

***

I never met Ramón Córdoba in person, but from the first email he sent me in March 2018 to tell me that he would be the editor of my novel Ciudad doliente de Dios, I knew that in him I had a friend. His email wasn’t only cordial, but enthusiastic and very warm. I also knew that I was very lucky that my book was in the hands of an editor with such a long and brilliant career, who had devoted his life to literature.

Soon our correspondence was reflecting the mutual trust, and it felt as if he had been my friend for a long time.

My gratitude was also immediate. After carefully reading the novel, Ramón trusted it and made the extraordinary decision of not making unnecessary cuts to a 700-page-long novel. And I say this is an extraordinary decision because it isn’t easy for a commercial publisher to take such risks with authors who, as is definitively my case, are not best-sellers.

Ramón’s respect for the book he had in his hands and his profound understanding of what I had tried to do were a deep source of encouragement. He titled those first emails as “The Seafarer’s Report”, and during the time of editing he made me feel that the effort of making the book see the light was indeed a voyage in which we were together. He always paid attention to what I wished for the book to be; he loved Blake, and it was a pleasure to choose with him the images for the cover. He was quick to get the reproduction permission from the British Museum when time was short, and thanks to that the cover is so beautiful, with that image from Blake’s The First Book of Urizen.

I started writing Ciudad doliente de Dios in 1997; it has been my longest, most risky and important writing project. For years I had thought that no publisher would want to take risks with such a book, and during its production process I was rather anxious. Ramón and Mayra González, Alfaguara’s literary director, as well as Rosa Beltrán, co-editor with the Direction of Literature at the UNAM, carried out a heroic job, indeed navigating the complications in producing such a long novel, and were also a constant and firm support, soothing my anxiety with their faith in my book, which is what every author dreams to have and needs from her editors and publishers, but isn’t always lucky enough to find.

Throughout the adventure, Ramón and I talked about the contrasting landscapes of London and Mexico City; we exchanged brief news of flowers in bloom, birds, squirrels; of the changes Mexico was going through during the recent elections, of winter melancholy. One day he sent me a photograph of the Bravo River, when he was in Coahuila. He’d gone there to give a talk about “how reading matters”. Such talks, he said, were sowing. He had a rather generous and at the same time carefree way of reminding me that author and editors were walking hand in hand; that the novel had support. His emails came with his sense of humour and also with an optimism that was contagious.

As the publication of the novel came nearer, Ramón’s kindness and firmness were invaluable when I had a panic attack and shared with him my fear that the book might be in fact madness. The excitement of the days when it was about to go into print was shared, and as soon as the first copies were printed he sent me a photograph. He said he was my partner and accomplice, and I always felt it that way.

The last two emails I received from Ramon talk, one of his commitment to the book (to let me know he was sending it to a competition), the other of his generosity and warmth. The day after my dear friend Armando Vega Gil passed away, he sent me a hug and, rather than words, which are insufficient in the face of death and tragedy, a photograph of Reforma Avenue seen from above, flooded with jacarandas in bloom, like a cross of blossoms. The email’s title was “Your city, today…”, and I thanked him from deep in my soul: for the warmth, the affection, the subtlety, the beauty of the image itself. Ramón was my friend.

I never had any doubt that the next time I went to Mexico we would all celebrate together the publication of the novel, nor that I’d be able to thank my editors in person for their faith in my book, their work, their immense support. I was sure that we would drink a toast to it, that I’d be able to give them a hug. To all of them.

Ramón’s unexpected passing last 19 June left me speechless. For that celebration, I had counted on everything, excepting death. I know I lost an ally and a friend, and that Mexico lost a passionate editor and author, completely devoted to literature: an indefatigable sower.

Thank you, Ramón. My gratitude is truly infinite. I don’t know if you have any idea of how much I’m sorry I could never tell you this in person or give you a hug. We’ll hug I’m sure when it is time over there, where we all are going.

 

 

Rita. The Documentary

On 4th July, the UNAM Centre for Mexican Studies at King’s College will be screening a documentary on the life and work of my dear friend, the late singer and actress Rita Guerrero. Rita was the singer of Mexican rock band Santa Sabina, as well as of the Early Music Ensamble Galileo. She also conducted the choir of Renaissance music from the viceroyalty era at the Universidad del Claustro de Sor Juana (the choir is now named after her). She was an actress and activist as well, and a major figure in cultural life in Mexico.
The director of the documentary is Arturo Díaz Santana.
The screening is on 4 July at 6.00 pm, at 
King’s College London, Waterloo campus, Franklin-Wilkins Building
Room 1.60, SE1 9NH.
This is a free event. You can book here:
I will be introducing the screening.

Otra flor para Armando

Acabo de recibir el enlace de una bellísima carta para Armando Vega Gil (Armambo, de cariño, y como él mismo firmaba a veces). Es de Sandra Arau Esquivel. Es una carta cargada de dolor, pero también de lucidez y, finalmente, de serenidad. Entre el alud de chillidos vociferantes e increpaciones que ha rodeado la pérdida de nuestro amigo, Sandra elige un remanso de quietud, de aceptación del dolor y la forma más profunda del silencio para honrar el amor compartido y común humanidad, para seguir soñando en un mundo que no estará regido por el odio, la división y la venganza. 

Esta carta es, por supuesto, una forma de hablar con Armando, de traerlo a la vida y honrar el recuerdo de un hombre amado por muchos, por muchas.

Comparto con ustedes el enlace:

Querido Armambo

I’ve just received a link to a very beautiful letter to Armando Vega Gil (Armambo, a term of endearment which he sometimes used himself). It’s written by Sandra Arau Esquivel. It’s a letter full of grief, but also rich in lucidity and, ultimately, serenity. Amidst the avalanche of vociferous screeches and rebukes which have surrounded the loss of our friend, Sandra chooses a pool of stillness, of acceptance of grief, and the most profound form of silence to honour the love shared and our common humanity, to go on dreaming of a world which won’t be ruled by hatred, division and revenge. 

The letter is, evidently, a way of talking to Armando, of bringing him to life and honouring the memory of a man loved by many.

I share the link with you (in Spanish):

Querido Armambo