Saturday, November 22, 2014

 

Back in Portugal


For the past 10 ten days I have been back in Portugal. I was invited as the Guest of Honour to the Fórum Fantástico literary festival. I have been to many of them before, including the first one back in 2004. Ten years later I see that the event is growing in strength and vibrancy.

My presentation was about how Latin American writers have influenced British writers. The focus of the festival was primarily on Julio Cortázar, who was born 100 years ago. I spoke about Cortázar but also Roberto Bolaño, Macedonio Fernández, Adolfo Bioy Casares, Felisberto Hernández, Cabrera Infante, Álvaro Mutis and Gabriel García Márquez. I enjoy talking on stage with a microphone to an audience, something that would have been unimaginable to my younger self. Ten years ago at the Fórum there was no stage and no microphone, only me standing in a classroom and reading a story I had just finished writing.

So much has happened during my visit that I am at a loss to summarize everything. I had the pleasure of being invited to make a radio broadcast by the excellent Joana Neves. This broadcast is now online and it is in English. I read three stories by Donald Barthelme with lots of introdoctory banter and inter-story chit-chat. The broadcast can be listened to here.

In subsequent blog entries I will talk more about my amazing Portugal trip, including a three day beach walk, 80 km in total distance, from Figueira da Foz to Aveiro.

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