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Literary Festival 2012: Latin America: Between social realism and magical realism


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Speaker(s): Rolando Bompadre, Matías Néspolo
Chair: Dr Francisco Panizza

Recorded on 3 March 2012 in Wolfson Theatre, New Academic Building.

As tense as a thriller, as vivid as an undercover documentary, Matías Néspolo’s first novel, Seven Ways to Kill a Cat, examines a place of crime and deprivation. Set in Buenos Aires at the time of Argentina’s financial crash, and seen through the eyes of twenty-year-old Gringo, it tells the story of two boys on the cusp of adulthood who have no choice but to join the gang warfare that rules their community. While its depiction of Buenos Aires rings true in every detail, the barrio could be any place of urban deprivation.

With fellow argentine author, Rolando Bompadre, he will discuss society and politics in Latin American literature.

Rolando Bompadre teaches Spanish and Italian at the University of Aberdeen, and is author of La víspera de los asesinatos, which was among the finalists of the 1st Premio Tusquets Editores de Novela.

Rosalind Harvey has lived in Lima and Norwich, where she fell in love with Spanish and translation, respectively. She now lives in London, where she translates Spanish and Latin American fiction. She has translated Hector Abad’s prize-winning memoir Oblivion and Enrique Vila-Matas’ latest novel Dublinesque with Anne McLean, and her translation of Juan Pablo Villalobos’ Down the Rabbit Hole has been shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award. In autumn last year she was one of the first translators in residence at the Free Word Centre.

Born in Buenos Aires in 1975, Matías Néspolo studied literature, going on to write poems, short stories, journalism and then Seven Ways to Kill a Cat, his acclaimed first novel. He has been living in Barcelona since 2001 and, in 2010, was selected by Granta as one of their best young contemporary Spanish-language novelists. Seven Ways to Kill a Cat is recommended by English Pen.

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