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Posts Tagged ‘Venezuelan literature’

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Venezuela has been strengthening its diplomatic and economic relations with Belarus, a process that will see a new embassy established in the capital city of Minsk later this year. Also in the works is a Simon Bolivar Latin American Cultural Center.

This month, Belarus has invited Venezuela, along with 20 other countries, to participate in the Minsk International Book Fair which lasts from February 11th – 15th.

After the book fair, a Venezuelan historical exhibit called “Latin American Revolution” will display placards and posters from the 1960s to commemorate the social movements of that era.

The Venezuelan Ambassador to Belarus, Américo Díaz Núñez, says that cooperation and friendship between the two nations is growing fast, and has touched issues ranging from culture to technology. Later in the year, Venezuelan artists will participate in Belarusian events and festivals.

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Venezuela’s International Book Fair arrives in Caracas tomorrow. It has toured all 24 of the country’s states, and makes its final stop Friday in Parque Los Caobos.

The fourth annual event involves more than just the buying and selling of books — it also includes educational events and workshops on a wealth of topics, including science fiction writing, fantasy literature, and publishing alternative media. More than 400 writers and artists from 20 countries are participating, as well as 150 different publishers.

The International Book Fair celebrates the achievements of the many thousands of students and educators who helped make Venezuela an “illiteracy free territory” in 2003. Social programs in education have indeed increased the country’s demand for books.

The President of the National Book Center, Marisela Guevara, says the fair shows that Venezuela is becoming “a nation of readers.” Read more in Spanish here.

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A new and innovative children’s book from Venezuela has just come out in English and is delighting U.S. readers both young and old. It is called “The Black Book of Colors” (El libro negro de los colores).

The story, by authors Menena Cotin and Rosana Faria, offers a vibrant description of colors — for example, “red is sour like unripe strawberries and as sweet as watermelon.” Textured pictures and braille make the book thrillingly accessible to young people who are visually impaired.

The School Library Journal calls it “Fascinating, beautifully designed, and possessing broad child appeal, this book belongs on the shelves of every school or public library committed to promoting disability awareness and accessibility.” Want to know more? Check out a Washington Post review, see more pictures, or buy it on Amazon.

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Thanks to Venezuela’s Ministry of Culture, many classic works of Latin American literature are now available online for free.

To check it out, visit Biblioteca Ayacucho. You can download PDFs files of books in Spanish ranging in publication date from the early 17th century to the late 20th century. Many famous Venezuelan writers are included in this digital “book shelf”: essayists Simón Bolívar, Andrés Bello, Francisco de Miranda, and Rufino Blanco Fombona; poets Manuel Díaz Rodríguez, Jose Antonio Ramos Sucre, and Gustavo Pereira.

Another writer represented in the online collection is the Cuban visionary, José Martí. His essay, “Our America” is a critique of the U.S. written during his exile in New York in the late 1800s. Don’t judge them by their covers, for these are crucial books: some were banned in their day, and others were the basis for key political ideologies (e.g. pan-Americanism, indigenism, or socialism).

Once again, Venezuela is leading the way in democratizing access to culture!

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Some say that poetry is a dying art. This is not the case in Venezuela, where the World Poetry Festival is hosted each year. The fifth annual event is taking place this week.

This time around, the World Poetry Festival is dedicated to the Venezuelan writer Gustavo Pereira. Pereira hails from Margarita, an island off the coast of Venezuela. He is one of Venezuela’s most famous literary figures, and has published over 30 books.

Pereira told a Caracas newspaper: “now poetry is being written in Venezuela like never before. The participation of young people, who line up to get into poetry readings, is a source of pride. When writing poetry becomes a common activity, we can really sense that we are in the process of making a life-changing transformation.”

Also attending the events in Venezuela this week are prominent poets from all over Latin America as well as countries around the world including France, Turkey, New Zealand, South Africa, Angola, and Palestine.

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Five years ago yesterday, on her 88th birthday, the Mexican actress and style icon María Félix passed away in her sleep. She acted in some 48 movies during the 1940s, ’50s, and ’60s, and is remembered as perhaps the most beautiful star of the Mexican silver screen.

What launched María Félix to fame, though, was an early role in the film adaptation of the Venezuelan novel, Doña Bárbara. Written by Rómulo Gallegos and published in 1929, Doña Bárbara is the tale of a wealthy rural family led by a cruel and domineering woman. It is a love story that portrays Venezuelan society in the early 20th century as torn between tradition and modernity, civilization and barbarism.

Today, Doña Bárbara is still considered by many to be Venezuela’s most legendary and lasting fictional work. When the film version came out in 1943, the epic story — as well as Mexican knockout María Félix — won the hearts of moviegoers all over Latin America. To see for yourself, watch a clip below.

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At a glance, Latin American literature can seem dominated by magical realism, the genre synonymous with Gabriel García Márquez and his momentous novel, 100 Years of Solutide. Venezuela never had its major author of the Latin “boom” period, but that doesn’t mean the country lacks literary traditions worthy of export.

gonzalezOne of Venezuela’s many under-appreciated authors, Adriano González León (pictured here), passed away earlier this month. He was best known for his book, País Portátil (Portable Country), which was published in 1968 and made into a feature film in 1979.

The tale of one rural family, País Portatil narrates the political and economic crisis of the 1960s in Venezuela. The struggle of each generation to overcome obstacles and stand up for their rights is an underlying theme – no surprise, for González is known for railing against the dictatorship of General Marcos Pérez Jiménez.

País Portátil is the best-known work by Adriano González León, but he hated the thought that his long career would be defined by only that book. González also wrote Viejo (Old Man), a novel that came out in 1995 and made an impression on at least one reader; Gabriel García Márquez once commented that he wished he had written it.

Others have called González’s writing “a different way of looking at the world” by combining poetry and prose in a unique style. He also used memory as a literary device to “create a dialogue between the present and the past.”

Like Latin American writers of his generation, González had a cross-over career as a politician; he served as Cultural Attache to the Venezuelan Embassy in Spain during the 1990s.

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