Mexico City or China. Does this echo themes you’ve
explored in your writing?
VL: I don’t think I’ve explored this in my writing in any
direct way, but there is indeed a kind of extra-territoriality
in book fair pavilions. The world fair “pavilion”, as such, is
a 19th-century invention, and definitely still feels like a trip
to that past–at least in terms of the kind of discourse and
performative ideology that surrounds them.
NC: You have lived in various places, and are now in
New York. Do you think of yourself as a Mexican writer?
VL: I think of myself as a Mexican person who grew
up in South Korea, South Africa and India, and who now
lives in NY. But I don’t write from the specific niche of
any nationality. I write about people, not about types.
Sometimes those people happen to be Mexican–others not–
but what and who I write about never represents anything
but itself. My characters certainly don’t represent nations.
I don’t represent a nation either. For better or worse,
literature is quite unlike football.
NC: I believe that your books are all written in Spanish,
but that you do write in English. Can you imagine writing
books in English, or will Spanish always feel right for the
ideas you explore?
VL: The language I choose to write in grows out of the
material and issues I am working with. I will write a book
in English when I know it cannot be written in any other
language but English. This does not undermine translatability.
I think everything and everyone is eventually translatable.
But writing is different. The process of creating something
with language, from scratch, has to grow naturally, and in
a deep and often tense relationship with that particular
language. Otherwise, what you write is born dead–that is,
born as mere text and not as literature. ■
Valeria Luiselli will be in conversation with Catherine Taylor today at
11.30am in the English PEN Literary Salon–followed by a book signing.
Valeria Luiselli was born in Mexico and lives in New York.
She is the author of the internationally acclaimed novel Faces
in the Crowd (2012) and the book of essays Sidewalks (2013),
both translated into multiple languages and published by
Granta in the UK. Her most recent novel is The Story of
My Teeth (Granta 2015). In 2014, she was the recipient of
the National Book Foundation’s “ 5 under 35” award.
NC: Have you attended book fairs and festivals before?
What can authors gain from them?
VL: I have. I think book fairs are less for authors and more
for other key members of the publishing industry. But the
possibility of meeting other authors, of coming across books
you otherwise might have never had the chance to find, of
listening to other members of your guild, and catching up
with your publishers and friends definitely humanises the
pavilion machinery and acts as a counterbalance to the
strange loneliness of breakfast buffets in hotels.
NC: A book fair pavilion seems to have no national
characteristics, but may be roughly the same in London,
Visit ECW Press on the Canada Stand 5D150
The ultimate guide to the great detective,
with in-depth and fun analysis of the hit TV
show. Explores the characters, links to Arthur
Conan Doyle’s original stories, and includes
biographies of stars Cumberbatch and Freeman.
t Biography Business Drama
Canadian fiction Canadian poetry Entertainment Games History Hobbies Humor Literary collections
Chronicling Taylor Swift’s rise to international
stardom, this book includes details on her
2012 album Red and coverage of all her recent
adventures in the spotlight.
aphy Business Drama Canadian fiction Canadian poetry Entertainment Games Health Hst
es Humor Literary collections Literary criticism Memoir Mystery Pets Photography Popular sc en
elp Science fiction Sports Travel TV companion guides True crime Wrestling Young adult Biog ap
ess Drama Canadian fiction Canadian poetry Entertainment Games Health History Hobbies Hum
ry collections Literary criticism Memoir Mystery Music Pets Photography Popular science Se -h
ce fiction Sports Travel TV companion guides True crime Wrestling Young adult Biography Bu ne
Canadian fiction Canadian poetry Entertainment Games Health History Hobbies Humor
ions Literary criticism Memoir Mystery Music Pets Photography Popular science Self-help S
fiction Sports Travel TV companion guides True crime Wrestling Young adul
Biogr i ory
Hobbi i ce
Self-h r hy
Litera lf elp
Scien si ss
Find more curiously compelling books