launch new books at
• THE historic San Carlos de La
Cabaña Fortress, the central site of the Book Fair
in Havana for more than a decade, is once again the
hotspot for book launches by specially invited
ALBA Literatura Prize 2010.
February 10-20, some 15 Latin
American and several European authors are sharing
with readers their most recent works, published, for
the most part, by Cuban houses.
No doubt of special importance is
the presence of Rigoberta Menchú, the indigenous
leader from Guatemala and 1992 Nobel Peace Prize
winner, with her children's book El legado
secreto, co-authored with Dante Liano, and
published by Nueva Gente.
It is a small book, but through its
pages, Menchú guides young readers on a journey
through her Quiché Maya roots with fables and
legends about nature, the traditions of this ethnic
group and family love.
Also very special is the book
América Nuestra: Integración y revolución, by
Luis Britto García, published by the Bolivarian
Alliance for the Peoples of Our America Cultural
Fund, an examination of Latin America's array of
problems and how revolutionary, integrating
solutions can be achieved for these related problems
as a whole.
The Venezuelan writer is the author
of more than 60 books. His outstanding novels
include: Abrapalabra (Casa de las Américas
Prize 1969), Rajatabla (Casa de las Américas
Prize 1970), Los fugitivos, La misa del
Esclavo (Andrés Bello Latin American Drama Prize
1980); Investigación de unos medios por encima de
toda sospecha (Ezequiel Martínez Estrada Prize
2005). In 2002, he received the National Prize for
Literature and in 2010 the ALBA Prize for Literature,
jointly with Cuban singer-songwriter Silvio
Continuing with the Bolivarian
Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA),
whose peoples are being honored by the 20th Book
Fair, Sol Linares, also from Venezuela, is to launch
her book Percusión y Tomate, which won the
first ALBA Prize for Fiction awarded in 2010.
Ecce Homo II is a book of poetry
that Ecuadorian writer Cristian Avecillas is
offering for the consideration of Cuban readers. As
he explained, the title is a biblical reference –
‘Behold the man', words used by Pontius Pilate
referring to Jesus Christ – but could also refer to
Federico Nietchze's philosophical essay, hence
Ecce Homo II. With this work, Avecillas
won the César Dávila Andrade Prize for Poetry
granted by the University of Cuenca.
For Avecillas, verse as an aesthetic
product has to be impeccable and beyond the poet's
conflicts. "The aesthetics are the façade of a house.
Within the house, poetry is the guest; the reader
has to feel at home in order to feel part of it. In
poetry, rhythm is fundamental, the notion of song
and an idea by way of metaphor, the poem has to be a
leap from beauty to truth."
Very newsworthy was the launching,
by Cuban publisher Arte y Literatura, of a Spanish
edition of Haitian writer Michèle Voltaire
Marcelin's Amours et Bagatelles (Amores y
cosas sin importancia). The prologue states, "Haitian
contemporary literature has erupted upon the scene.
It has reached enormous dimensions, given the great
quantity of important new authors, the diversity of
themes addressed and the variety of styles. It has
received international recognition over the last few
years, as is evidenced by the number of important
literary prizes won. Female voices have not been
left behind. The problems of Haitian women, of
Caribbean women, are expressed in all of their
magnitude, going beyond the usual topics, the sugary
sentimentalism of lost love."
Precisely in this work, Michèle
Voltaire Michelin, "…produces a subversion of
literary codes, of moral and social values, as well
as symbols, in accordance with a new vision of
reality and the imagined, of time and space… brought
to light, with the recounting of real Caribbean
problems as a starting point, it is an account of
what is not said out loud, of privately shared
confidences about women's thirst for love and their
sexual needs, told in a terribly uninhibited,
sometimes comical way."
Comedienne, painter and writer
Michèle Voltaire Michelin was born in Port-au-Prince
and has lived in Chile, the United States and Canada.
Her first novel was La désenchantée – La
desencantada in Spanish – and then in English,
Lost and Found.
The Planet Prize 1995 was granted to
Sucesos argentinos by Vicente Battista, who
is now launching the Arte y Literatura
edition. Critics have noted that Battista's work
contains all the characteristics of the so-called 'dark'
novel, while praising the fluency of the narration,
its humor and the author's ability to trace the plot,
with excellent technique. A thriller, just like
Cuban readers adore.
Another Argentine, the well-known
journalist and writer Stella Calloni, who has
decades of investigations into Latin American issues
to her credit, is presenting two titles, a second
edition of the extraordinary Operación Condor
and her most recent Evo en la mira. CIA y DEA en
Bolivia, which includes interviews with
President Evo Morales and Vice President Alvaro
Of her motivations for this book,
Calloni said, "The world, and especially Latin
America, would have to ask Bolivia for forgiveness,
for having forgotten what happened during colonial
times and since then, when the country was turned
into a laboratory for counterinsurgency and new
neo-colonial and imperial systems, which persist
The press has commented that Stella
Calloni has, in this latest great work, thoroughly
exposed different foundations and non-governmental
organizations, "which act on their own and under new
cover in other countries in the region, like the
Liberty Foundation, financed by USAID and UnoAmerica…"
At the same time, she follows the popular resistance
to dependence, which emerged with the struggles of
recent years, those known as wars, the water war,
the gas war and the struggle against the U.S.
military in El Chapare.
"Elected by the majority and despite
attempts by the United States empire to stop him, at
47 years of age, Evo arrived to govern a country
ripped apart and sacked without interruption for 500
years. The painful and contradictorily beautiful
story of a country where the people never ceased to
resist. Evo symbolizes this resistance," Calloni
That's not all. Canadian journalist
Keith Bolender is launching his book Huellas del
terrorismo (Editorial José Martí), in which he "tries
to give a human face to those who suffer the
consequences of this criminal policy against Cuba.
Extraordinary stories of survival, emotional and
physical pain, of anger and even hatred are told by
victims of this cruel reality." And from this same
publisher, Primer poeta de las Américas: José
Maria Heredia y Niagara, by poet and essayist
Keith Ellis, from Jamaica, who has won the Dulce
Maria Loynaz International Prize awarded by the
Union of Cuban Writers and Artists (UNEAC).
Three other special guests are on
hand with their books for children. Italian Carlo
Frabetti with his novel Las islas desventuradas;
from Austria, Ingeborg Maria Ortner with a bilingual
edition of El Oso Bruno and Ecuadorian Edna
Iturralde with her novel Simón era su nombre.
Just a few of the exciting titles,
the authors of which have chosen to introduce to
Cuban readers, at San Carlos de la Cabaña, the
fortress of books.