dimarts, 30 de desembre de 2008

Behind the Spanish Barricades, by John Langdon-Davies to be published in Spanish

As 2008 goes by and 2009 comes closer, we are very happy of announcing the deal for Spanish rights of John Langdon-Davies 'Behind the Spanish Barricades'. A book originally written in 1936 by one of the most reputated UK journalists of his time. The book will be released by Península Ediciones in 2009, during the 70th anniversary of the end of the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939).

'Behind the Spanish Barricades' was originally published in the UK in 1936 and the new publishing house Reportage Press reissued it in 2007.

Langdon-Davies came to Spain to report on the May Day celebrations in Madrid for the British newspaper 'News Chronicle'. By the time he returned in August, the Civil War had broken out and many of those he had seen celebrating now lay dead. 

On this second trip in August 1936 he drove into Spain on his motorbike with his fifteen-year-old son. In five weeks, and from behind the Republican barricades, Langdon-Davies wrote this extraordinary eyewitness account, now republished for the first time after the original 1936 edition. It chronicles not only the atrocities of war in differents regions of Spain such as Madrid, Aragón or Catalonia and episodes such as the bloody siege of Toledo’s Alcázar, but also the human face of the conflict - and even its comic moments.

John Langdon-Davies (1897-1971) was a journalist, war correspondent and author of more than forty books. A man of boundless curiosity, he wrote prolifically and his many works include: Dancing Catalans (1929) a study of the Sardana, the emotionally and politically charged national dance of Catalonia; Air Raid (1938) and Finland: the First Total War (1940). In 1937 he co-founded the charity Plan International along with aid worker Eric Muggeridge.
Some of his Works have also been published in Catalana: : La setmana tràgica de 1937 i altres vivències de la guerra civil a Catalunya : els fets de maig (Edicions 62, 1987); and Mites i felicitat dels catalans (Pagès Editors 1988).

The first chapter, in English, of Behind the Spanish Barricades is available in the following link: http://www.reportagepress.com/pdf/pdf-book-17.pdf

‘The book, written like a true journalist in five weeks, is a very vivid portrayal of the front line and is an authentic piece of war reporting (…) by an extraordinary man’.
- Nigel Chapman, Director General of the BBC World Service.

‘John Langdon-Davies’ Behind the Spanish Barricades remains such a vauable work seventy years alter its first publication’.
- Paul Preston, London School of Economics

The Spanish rights deal has been made by SalmaiaLit on behalf of Il Caduceo Literary Agency

diumenge, 28 de desembre de 2008

An interview in Germany

Last October 2008, Bernat Fiol participated in the Frankfurt Book Fair's Fellowship programme. It was a truly amazing experience and there's no room anywhere to write down everything that was learnt, shared, experienced, etc.

A German online magazine devoted to the publishing industry, BuchMarkt, interviewed each of that year's 16 fellows. By clicking here you can check the interview with Bernat and with the other participants.

dissabte, 6 de desembre de 2008

Bienvenidos a Welcome, by Laura Fernández

Editorial Elipsis has published the new novel by Laura Fernández, a delirious fable about society: Welcome to Welcome.

"As in a fight between Aristophanes and Elmer, from The Muppets, the absurdity has finally triumphed. If Alfred Jarry was brought back to life, he would live in Welcome". La Razón

"Laura Fernández, our particular Brautigan, has taken a yet undiscovered pill. Have no qualms about testing it. It gives you (...) lots of laughs and no hangover" Philipp Engel, Fotogramas

Welcome. A future world. Full of shopping malls, residential estates and big Stars. A place where politics, journalism and any other event of public life runs like a TV Show. But reality (a striking one indeed) is about to burst onto this happy world. An unidentified flying object has just crashed into one of Welcome’s shopping centres. Thousands might be dead…

The city’s main newspaper (The Welcome Times), magazine (Nasty Tongues) and TV
 (Welcome TV), set off to cover the news and compete between themselves. Is it all about a new advertising campaign? Is it a new sit-com? Is the mayor facing a revolt? Is it that Rondy Rondy, the mythical disappeared author, has come back? Or is it really a true UFO driven by a fury alien? 

In any case, you are about to find out about everything and, in the process, you will meet the intrepid journalist Lu Ken, the dwarf mayor Claudio Arden, the only survivor of the accident, Sarah Du, the great diva Anita Velasco, the candidate to the Welcomitzer award Clark Roth and many others… and you arrive in the best moment because, after this accident, Welcome (the genuine and only centre of the future civilized world) will never be the same. You are warned.

Laura Fernández (Terrassa, 1981) is a freelance journalist. She’s now a contributor to El Mundo, Qué Leer, Mondo Sonoro and Go-Mag. Before this she worked in other media and in TV. She’s also the author of Dos y dos son cinco (Two plus Two are Five), published by Basarai.

Read a review about the novel here: http://www.elmundo.es/2008/10/03/catalunya/2512298.html

dijous, 13 de novembre de 2008

Azafrán (Saffron) by José M García Marín sold in Russia

Shortly after the Frankfurt Book Fair, last October, SalmaiaLit, on behalf of RocaEditorial, granted Russian Rights of Azafrán, by José Manuel García Marín. The novel will be published by Arabesque, an imprint of AST Group.

The year is 1252. What nowadays is Spain was then a series of Christian and Muslim kingdoms that sometimes co-existed in peace and some others did not...

Mukhtar ben Saleh, a Muslim teacher, is sick of the Christians ruling his village in the south of Spain and decides to leave it in search of another place in which he can live amongst his equals. His equipment is poor: a copy of the Koran, some clothes and the quill that was given to him by the imam.

Mukhtar will wander around the old but still splendorous al-Andalus, and his steps will lead him through the streets of its most important cities: Seville, Cordoba and Granada.

He will soon realize that his journey isn’t only physical: all over his way he finds different characters that teach him different things. Mukhtar will discover a path of wisdom in which the three religions that co-exited at the time converge: The Islam, Christianism and Judaism.

Alongside with Mukhtar we will witness the fascinating everyday life of a distant period of our History. We’ll meet a Muslim surgeon, we’ll attend a Jewish feast in Cordoba and we will see the way of life of booksellers, traders, merchants... we will also see how women had an important role in the making of a cultural and religious universe, depicted in Azafrán with elegance and precision.

Azafrán is a historical novel of self-developement, discoveries and  multiculturalism, and the story of a man who loved his fellow citizens.

“Azafrán shows us how the three religions, Muslim, Christian and Jewish, contributed to the diversity that made al-Ándalus an unrepeatable place”  El País.

Rights sold in Russia (Arabesque/AST Group).

dijous, 11 de setembre de 2008

No silêncio de Deus, by Patricia Reis, already in bookshops

The new novel by Patrícia Reis, 'No silêncio de Deus' has been released in Portuguese bookshops today (Sept 11th).

Dom Quixote, its publisher, has also launched a promotional video that you can also see here:

dilluns, 8 de setembre de 2008

A beautiful article by Cynthia Ozick

The September issue of Standpoint Magazine (UK) contains a very beautiful and inspiring article by Cynthia Ozick entitled 'Writers, Visible and Invisible'
I am happily surprised by the fact that some of the things Ozick says have a lot to do with yesterday's post in this blog (the one about the article by Cuban author Ronaldo Menéndez)

Amongst other things Ozick says:
  "Writers’ invisibility has little or nothing to do with Fame, just as Fame has little or nothing to do with Literature. (...) What writers prize is simpler, quieter and more enduring than clamorous Fame: it is recognition. Fame, by and large, is an accountant’s category, tallied in Amazonian sales. Recognition, hushed and inherent in the silence of the page, is a reader’s category: its stealth is its wealth".

"Writers are hidden beings. You have never met one – or, if you should ever believe you are seeing a writer, or having an argument with a writer, or listening to a talk by a writer, then you can be sure it is all a mistake."

"Writers are what they genuinely are only when they are at work in the silent and instinctual cell of ghostly solitude, and never when they are out industriously chatting on the terrace."

I leave the parts about Henry James, Rilke, and publishers and agents to you. To read it all, just click here.
(Copyright of Cynthia Ozick's photo above: Jon Chase/Harvard News Office)

dissabte, 6 de setembre de 2008

local writers and international markets

I'm almost using the same title that Ronaldo Menéndez (Cuban writer) has used in his article of today's 'Babelia'. 

In this article, he explores a situation that is common to many writers from Latin America: they find it hard to get published in countries other than their own and, above all, here in Spain. 
For many of them being published in other Spanish speaking countries means leaving behind the label of 'local' writers and becoming 'international' authors (obviously, we could also use 'successful' instead of 'international'). Menéndez says that the difficulties in achieving this goal contribute to the creation of certain myths among writers. Myhts that can become painful and damaging for those writers who subscribe them. 
Myths that sustain the everlasting confrontation between a center and a periphery.

I won't comment the whole article but I wanted to stress that I believe this situation, the myth of internationalisation (or success) is not endemical of authors living in Southern America and wanting to get published in Spain (as a gate towards a wider market). I think the same happens in English, French, Portuguese, etc... speaking countries.

From my experience I've seen that it is hard that an Angolan author published in Angola will see his/her work published or distributed in Portugal.  But, and this is what I'd like to stress, many 'central' writers also find it hard to reach the so-called 'periphery'. Not all writers from Spain get published in (let's say) Argentina or Panamá. 

And not all writers from US or UK get published in New Zealand... so, at the end of the day, and as Ménendez wisely points out the danger of promoting and encouraging those myths is that they can become a source of anguish and self-marginalisation.
It is also true that as long as there are Mexicans published in Spain, and Brazilian published in Angola, and Nigerian published in Australia, etc. there is hope for books to travel abroad, and even to get translated into other languages. In a way, this is one of the reasons why we, literary agents, exist.

The literary industry has nothing to do with the individual writer who in his/her solitude strugles to put words toghether in order to deliver us a text. So, writers, get to write, publishers and agents, get to read, and the rest... get to the closest bookshop and ask for books by authors who live far away from you!

dimarts, 2 de setembre de 2008

Morder-te o Coração by Patricia Reis shortlisted for the Premio Portugal Telecom de Literatura 2008

Patrícia Reis (b 1970) began her journalistic career in 1988 working in different Portuguese and international media: ‘O independente’, ‘Sábado’, ‘Marie Claire’. She moved to New York to work at ‘Time Magazine’ and back in Portugal she produced a TV show entitled ‘Sexulidades’ and collaborated with the newspapers ‘Expresso’ and ‘Público’and the magazine ‘Elle’. She now lives in Portugal and is the publisher of her own magazine ‘Egoísta’ and partner of the Design Atelier 004.

She is the author of the photo-novel Beija -me (Kiss Me, 2006), the novella Cruz das Almas (Cross of Souls, 2004), and of the novels Amor em Segunda Mão (Second Hand Love, 2006) and Morder-te o Coração (To Bite your Heart, 2007), all published by Dom Quixote. Her new novel, entitled No silencio de Deus (In God’s Silence), will be published in Portugal in September 2008 and in March 2009 in Brazil (by Lingua Geral)

Morder-te o Coração (2007) is a "hallucinating love story that takes us through the mazes of desire and solitude" (according to author Ines Pedrosa), and drags us to the limits of the conventions of genre, sex and love. Patrícia Reis' transparent and communicating writing wins body and thickness in this polyphonic narrative orchestrated by the obsession of a Great and Ideal Love (that infinite light that simultaneously blinds and enlights the intimate truth of each one of us).

The novel tells the story of a woman and a man who had been lovers, their story of accords and discords, her escape, his search and attempt to start all over in Stockholm, memories of childhood, the voice of an African lover they both shared. All in all, a hooking insight on the many faces of love and sex.

As the title suggests, this book bites our hearts with equal doses of tenderness and sharpness, of joy and pain.

“Quando te pedi para me morderes o coração era só para me certificar que ele existia no meu peito. Tu preferiste beijar-me, nunca me mordeste e, assim, fiquei sem saber."

(When I asked you to bite my heart it was just to make sure it existed in my breast. You choose kissing me, never biting, and thus I remained unsure.)

To visit the website of Premio Portugal Telecom de Literatura click here

The novel is also published in Brazil by Lingua Geral. All rights (except Portuguese) are free.


dimarts, 5 d’agost de 2008

Antònia Vicens’ Dry Land translated into German

Valentia has published the German translation of Terra Seca (Dry Land).

Antònia Vicens is a Veteran of Catalan Literature. Since she won the Sant Jordi Award in 1967, with only 26 years of age, she has published over twenty titles characterized by her finely crafted irony and her genuine sense of aesthetics. Some of them have been translated into Spanish, German, or Italian.

Terra seca tells us about the sorrows of a failed politician with high ambitions, a dinner to which the guests will never arrive, a group of women trapped by their condition and a neurotic man that despite being the protagonist of the novel does not take part in the action.

Half way between reality and nightmare, this novel stands as a symbol of the lost dreams of a young and idealistic generation who lived the Spanish political transition into democracy back in the late 1970s.

The novel was originally published in Catalan and was shortlisted for the Ramon Llull Novel Award. It was then translated into Spanish by Planeta.

Antònia Vicens (Majorca, Spain, 1941) was born and brought up in the grey world of the Franco era and the limitations of Balearic society, Antònia Vicens astonished both public and critics alike with her first novel, 39º a l'ombra (39ºC in the Shadow, Sant Jordi prize, 1967), translated into German (Elfenbein Verlag, 2001) and reissued many times in Catalan. Vicens' prose is at once spontaneous and poetic, with a great capacity to recreate Mallorcan speech in literary form. This has been followed by further novels, and more prizes, such as the 1981 Ciutat de Palma Prize and the 1984 Ciutat de València Prize; her latest novel is Ungles perfectes (Perfect Nails, Proa, 2007).
Last year, one of her short stories was included in the anthology Willkomen in Katalonien. Eine literarische Entdeckungsreise (Germany, DTV, 2007).

Tierra seca, by Antònia Vicens

Rights available: World (except German, Catalan and Spanish)

Mizé, by Ricardo Adolfo. German editon out

In a few days (August 9th) the translation into German of Ricardo Adolfo's 'Mizé' will come out, published by Bloomsbury Berlin.

Set in the outskirts of Lisbon this is the story of a man who loved the idea of loving a woman, and a woman who loved the idea of being loved by many men. It’s a research on living in an imaginary dimension created by ambitions and wishes, where an ensemble of suburban characters struggles to fulfil their dreams – while struggling with their petty conditions, the daily grind, and bigger aspirations than they could possibly handle.

With a very peculiar point of view, these characters take us into an exploration of double moral standards, ambiguity and into the grey zones that we all operate in. 'Mizé' is a story of fiction versus fiction, where truth doesn’t exist, but lie doesn’t either.

Mizé was originally published in Portuguese in 2006 by Dom Quixote.

Rights sold: Bloomsbury Berlin (Germany) in a pre-empt, Querido (Netherlands) and SumaSantillana Group (Spain).

For other rights contact info@salmaialit.com

dilluns, 28 de juliol de 2008

Turkish rights of 'The Transylvanian Effect', by Juan Ramón Biedma, sold to Kirmizi Kedi

I’m happy to announce the sale of Turkish rights of Juan Ramón Biedma’s ‘El efecto Transilvania’ (The Transylvanian Effect) to Kirmizi Kedi Yayincilik. The novel was published in Spanish last April 2008 by RocaEditotrial.

Intersecting fantasy, thriller and horror, Biedma transforms Seville, the book’s setting, into a surrealistic parallel of itself to tell us about schizophrenia.
The story follows Eme, a teenage boy who has just been released from the hospital but has no recollection of how or why he landed there in the first place. As a series of uncanny events unfold around him (enormous drawings appear suddenly on the ground, plants bloom living animals instead of flowers, hundreds of black kites rise from a single neighborhood), Eme begins to suspect that it all has something to do with the recently opened replica of the Peruvian pyramid of Mahuachi. As Eme attempts to solve the mystery and save his recently abducted love interest, he is continually thwarted by the Transylvanian Effect, a psychological haze inflicted by the lunar cycle.

Critics have compared the work to those by Poe, Lovecraft, Boris Vian, and Jean Ray, and in 2009, RocaEditorial will publish a sequel that finds Eme and the other characters as adults. The working title is ‘El humo en la botella’ (Smoke in a Bottle).
Rights available: World (except Spanish and Turkish). Contact info@salmaialit.com for more information.

divendres, 4 de juliol de 2008

Greek rights of The Edge of Grass, by Harkaitz Cano, sold to Konidaris Publications

I'm very happy to announce the deal for Greek rights of Harkaitz Cano's novel El filo de la hierba (The Edge of Grass), which will be published in Greece by Konidaris Publications.
The novel (123pp.) is published in Basque and in Spanish (Lettera/RocaEditorial).

Despite his youth, Harkaitz Cano (b. 1975) is consolidated as one of the best contemporary Basque writers. His mixture of modernism, poetical insight and an accurate narrative rhythm comes at equal parts from the classics of literature, the comics, the cinema and the music. His works, with echoes of Raymond Carver and Paul Auster, have received important awards such as the 2005 Critics Award (for his collection of short stories Neguzko zirkua –Winter Circus). His last published novel, El filo de la hierba (The Edge of Grass) has received the Euskadi Award for Literature. It is a Modernist fable set in New York with Adolf Hitler and Charles Chaplin as main characters.

The hipothesis of the Nazis invading the USA is nothing new in literature and it has fascinated authors such as Philip Roth in The Conspiracy Against America or, even before him, Philip K. Dick in his masterpiece The Man in the High Castle. Harkaitz Cano departs from this premise to build a short and poignant allegoric story about freedom.

The novel begins with Hitler on board of a German battleship en route to New York. Far away from dying in his bunker in 1945, the Führer has won World War II. After the conquest of Europe, his next objective is New York, and afterwards America. The British actor and filmmaker Charles Chaplin, tortured and as a prisoner of the Führer, is also a passenger of that ship. He is a victim of Hitler’s rage in revenge for his film The Great Dictator.

Many years before, in 1886, a Frenchman called Olivier Legrand travelled as a stowaway in the same ship that transported the Statue of Liberty from France to New York. The statue, of 225 tons of weight, was made out of 300 pieces that were packed in more than 200 cases. The only piece that wasn’t packed in a case was the crown of the Statue, inside of which Olivier hid during the four weeks of the journey through the Atlantic ocean.

El filo de la hierba interlocks between the lives of Chaplin and Legrand until they both meet each other in a New York occupied by the Nazis (Chaplin had managed to escape from Hitler's vessel but is severily ill) and the old Frenchman, who is now almost 90 years old, decides to hide Chaplin in his small appartment, where the actor will slowly recover. From this moment on, with Wagner’s music sounding all over the city and with Hitler trying to take control over Hollywood, the reader will be kept on tenterhooks until the end of the novel.

As the title suggests, this short novel is just like the flexible and soft grass, which edge is sharp as a knife.

Translation rights (except Greek) are available. Contact: bernat@salmaialit.com

dimecres, 28 de maig de 2008

10 short chapters about changes in the World of Books

Robert McCrum, the literary editor of 'The Observer' (UK) has left his job after ten years. The newspaper 'The Guardian/Books' publishes a very interesting decalogue written by McCrum that summarizes his experience of ten years from his privileged position.

As the article says "When he started it was a world of 'cigarettes, coffee and strong drink'. But that has all changed - new writers, big money, the internet, lucrative prizes and literary festivals have all helped revolutionise the books world".

Read it all by clicking here!

dimarts, 27 de maig de 2008

Modotti, by Ángel de la Calle - a great Graphic Novel

Tina Modotti (in the picture by Edward Weston, in 1923) was a woman of the 20th Century: photographer, actress, muse to writers and artists, politically engaged, free, poliphacetic, and witness to many important events and artistical landmarks.

Editorial SinSentido has published a graphic biography of this extraordinary character created (text & illustrations) by Ángel de la Calle: 'Modotti: Una mujer del siglo XX'

De la Calle tells us about Modotti's life, a continuing adventure. A beautiful Hoolywood star at an early age, she moved to the post-revolutionary Mexico where she became actively engaged with the communist party, took thousands of photographs and also became the lover of almost as many men... she also was friends with artists of her time such as Mayakovsky, Bernard Tavern, Antonio Machado, Neruda, Diego Rivera, John Dos Passos, Frida Khalo...

She lived her time, from the glamourous 'Belle Epoque' to the Europe of the Totalitarism in the 1930s, lived Spain during the Civil War and flew back to Mexico escaping from Franco. She died there years after, alone and in a taxi.

In 'Modotti' Ángel de la Calle becomes himself a character who incidentally finds a picture of Tina Modotti and starts investigating about her life. Thus, the book becomes not only a biography of the photographer but also a hooking voyage of discovery, admiration and devotion towards her personality and her work.

Tina Modotti's life, now revisited by Ángel de la Calle in this magnificent graphic novel, stands alone as an exampe, and a lesson, of personal freedom.

Here you have the first page of the book (in English translation). Click on it to enlarge and read it.
Translation rights have already been sold in Italy and in Brazil.

dilluns, 26 de maig de 2008

good perspectives for book sales

Last week RocaEditorial's blog pointed out that despite the warnings of a global crisis, sales figures in the Spanish book industry were not bad at all. In fact, some hints may prove that in 2008 more books will be sold in Spain than in the previous year.

All in all, this could be seen as good news for the industry (and for all those who make their living out of it, agents and authors included). However, the everlasting question remains: is this growing tendency as beneficial to small publishers as it to big groups? Are new, or not still consolidated authors, to experience an increase in sales of their titles? Or is it that a new genre, the 'Megaseller' as some have already labelled it, is emerging and it takes with him the increase in sales? The debate, as always, is open and interesting.

On Saturday, the newspaper 'El País' published an article following Roca's thesis: See both articles by clicking the highlighted items, or just follow these links:


divendres, 2 de maig de 2008

Small Publishers - Big challenges

There's a very interesting article in today's edition of 'El País' about the new independent Spanish Publishers. In a time in which the debate about reading rates, editorial saturation, crab literature vs literary quality, etc... is hot and controversial, a group of empreneurs struggle against big pubishing groups to get the most precious trophy: readers.

Amongst these independent and small publishers we can find: Libros del Asteroide, Minúscula, Periférica, Sexto Piso, Funambulista, Páginas de Espuma, Gadir, Nórdica, Barataria, Bartleby, Ediciones del Viento, Laetoli, Menoscuarto, Candaya, Global Rhythm, Cabaret Voltaire, Rey Lear, Melusina, Berenice, KRK, Bassarai, Abada, Katz, Marbot...

Read the whole article by clicking HERE.

In the meantime, another interesting article about the much-talked-about Kindle (Amazon's electronic reader device) announces that Amazon is strongly pushing efforts to promote again it's device... The article appears on 'The Mootley Fool', a website devoted to stock investments.

As the article says, "less than half of the Kindle reviewers have given the device Amazon's highest five-star rating. If these are the early adopters who didn't flinch at the $400 price tag, the reviews won't get much better until Amazon either improves the features or lowers the price".

Could this be a hint that sales of the Kindle are not as high as expected? Or is it just that it hasn't taken off yet? As they always say, the future will tell...

divendres, 18 d’abril de 2008

Darling Jim, by Christian Moerk

Here you have a short synopsis of this amazing and terrifying novel set in Ireland. Learn more about its author Christian Moerk at http://www.christianmoerk.com/

By accident, a young mailmain in a Dublin suburb finds a slain woman’s diary in the dead letter bin. From beyond the grave, she reveals the secrets of the most tragic love story he’s ever heard. But that’s not the end of the tale. It’s only just begun.

Now young Niall is enveloped by the mystery about the itinerant storyteller Jim, who travelled around Ireland, enrapturing audiences with his macabre tales. Horrific murders were being committed wherever he went. The victims were young women, who bore an all too frightening similarity to the victims in Jim’s own fictional plots.

Three young sisters in a small town were the only ones who begun to suspect that these were more than mere coincidences. They began to investigate Jim’s past. But they should never have tried to peer behind the storyteller’s mask. For behind the polished charm lurked something else much better suited for dark fiction than the light of present day.

As Niall finds another sister’s diary, he now understands what happened to two of the three sisters. But the third has vanished, and hides somewhere in the wilds of western Ireland. He must now find her while there’s still time. Or they’re both forsaken.

And in the woods, the wolves from Jim’s stories begin to gather.

DARLING JIM is a modern, gothic thriller with elements drawn from classic mythology.

Rights sold:
Denmark: Politiken, USA: Henry Holt & Co (pre-empted in a six-figure deal), Norway: Schibsted, Sweden: Lind & Co (hardcover), Pocketförlaget (paperback) and Earbooks (audio-book), Netherlands: De Geus (after auction), Germany: Piper Verlag (pre-empted in six-figure deal.

Back from London

The London Book Fair is over and everybody is already back in their offices. Everybody that I talked to agreed that this has been a very quiet fair and that there have been no surprises or very hot books. In general, everybody has had time to meet their contacts and talk quietly with them without the pressure of being in the middle of an auction.

I was very happy to see many of my contacts and friends, and they all were enthusiastic and thrilled about SalmaiaLit (some of they still have to memorize the name of the agency, but I'm sure it won't take long!).

On Tuesday evening the Spanish ambassador in the UK held a reception at the Spanish Embassy which was attended by many people involved in publishing Spanish books. Important translators such as Nick Caistor or British publishers such as Bill Swainson (Bloomsbury), Daniela De Groote (Arcadia Books), Kirsty Dunseath (Orion Books) or Claire Wachtel (Sceptre) had the opportunity to talk with Spanish publishers and agents and get first hand information about new authors and successful books.
During the fair I met some SalmaiaLit's authors who lived in London, and I was introduced to a new one, Patricia Rodríguez. El Aleph Ediciones will publish her first novel, entitled 19 pulgadas soon. We reached an agreement of representation for foreign rights and now I'm looking forward to reading her novel (which I received inly a day before the fair).
Another novel I'm looking forward to read (in fact I've already read the first 40 pages) is Darling Jim, by Danish author Christian Moerk. SalmaiaLit will represent Spanish rights via Nordin-Loud Agency.
A bestseller in Moerk’s native Denmark, Darling Jim is a gothic tale of suspense drawing on elements from classic mythology. Narrated largely through the diaries of two murdered sisters who became involved with a handsome, beguiling stranger, this tragic love story and riveting thriller unfolds as a local postman reading the diaries attempts to find the mysterious survivor of the fate which claimed the Walsh sisters. The novel has already been published in Danish (Politikens) and it will soon be translated in: USA: Henry Holt & Co (pre-empted in a six-figure deal), Norway: Schibsted, Sweden: Lind & Co (hardcover), Pocketförlaget (paperback) and Earbooks (audio-book), Netherlands: De Geus (after auction), and Germany: Piper Verlag (pre-empted in six-figure deal.
I've got a busy, but surely entertaining, weekend ahead!!

divendres, 11 d’abril de 2008

Drac Party'08 - Bcn April19

I'm very happy that this year we'll have the second Off-Sant-Jordi Drac Party. It all began last year, when a group of friends who worked in literary agencies and publishing houses in Barcelona decided to hold a friendly meeting to celebrate Sant Jordi (the international day of the book), inviting people from the publishing industry not only from barcelona but from all over the world.

This year's party will take place on April 19th, very soon! I'm really looking forward to it.

Trago amargo (Bitter Drink), by F.G. Haghenbeck

A few weks ago we got a proposal by email (salmaiabooks@gmail.com) from a Mexican author who was offering us to read a novel he had written and published in Mexico. It wasn't available in the rest of Spanish speaking countries. I had a quick look at the synopsis and some things caught my attention: John Huston, The Night of The Iguana, Puerto Vallarta and cocktails... a quite interesting bunch of appealling issues. I decided to read it and to my surprise I found an excellent novel which I devoured in a couple of hours... It was Trago amargo, by F.G Haghenbeck

The novel Trago amargo, published by Joaquín Mortiz and the Consejo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes (México) is one of tose stories that ‘one writes at ease, like being at home’ says Francisco Gerardo Haghenbeck (Mexico City, 1965). With this work the author was unanimously awarded the National Una Vuelta de Tuerca Award to the best crime novel.
Trago amargo is a story of intrigue, an accurate historical depiction of Hollywood, a very unique ambience and a funny compendium of the best and most famous cocktails of the world. It also has tastes of road movie, adventure and detective stories.
At the beginning of the 70s, John Huston decides to shoot his film The Night of the Iguana (based on the play by Tennessee Williams) in a virgin lanscape very close to Puerto Vallarta. An impressive crew of Holywood starts is to be part of the cast, including Ava Gardner, Sue Lyon, Deborah Kerr and Richard Burton, who is dating Elizabeth Taylor. There are more journalists than iguanas on the village, all expecting to take the best pic of the couple.

Each of the stars receives a present from the Director: a golden gun with silver bullets. But the joke turns to something serious when one of those guns is used to shot and kill someone.
Sunny Pascal, a half american and half mexican beatnick detective, is in charge of solving the crime, which soon gets complicated by further murders, blackmailing, stolen jewels and a plot that involves the Mexican mafia.

The novel keeps advancing and unveiling its mysteries chapter by chapter, amongst cocktail recipes, explanations about their origins and suggestions about the music that best fits every drink.

F.G. Haghenbeck is a multidisciplined Mexican author, -and the only Mexican who has written scripts for ‘Superman’ (DC Comics).
He is also the co-author of Crimson (Wildstorm/Time Warner 1999-2001); author of Alternation (Image Comics, 2004) and of other comics.

He now lives in Puerto Vallarta where he devotes his time to writing more Sunny Pascal novels, and also comics.

Ricardo Adolfo, Mizé and a New novel

I'd like to give some information about two novels by Angolan-born Portuguese writer Ricardo Adolfo. The first one, Mizé, was his debut novel and has had some success both in Portugal and abroad. Now he has finished a new novel entitled Many Things Happened to Me After I Died, which will soon be published into Portuguese.
Set in the outskirts of Lisbon Mizé is the story of a man who loved the idea of loving a woman, and a woman who loved the idea of being loved by many men. It’s a research on living in an imaginary dimension created by ambitions and wishes, where an ensemble of suburban characters struggles to fulfil their dreams – while struggling with their petty conditions, the daily grind, and bigger aspirations than they could possibly handle.

With a very peculiar point of view, these characters take us into an exploration of double moral standards, ambiguity and into the grey zones that we all operate in. Mizé is a story of fiction versus fiction, where truth doesn’t exist, but lie doesn’t either.

Mizé was originally published in Portuguese in 2006 by Dom Quixote.

Rights sold: Berlin Verlag (Germany) in a pre-empt, Querido (The Netherlands) and Suma – Santillana Group (Spain). In Spain the title has been changed to La peluquera de Lisboa

The next excerpt is from Publishing Trends (July 2007 issue): http://www.publishingtrends.com/copy/07/0707/0707IntBest_DifferentBooks.html

International buzz is building over Mizé, the Portuguese novel by Ricardo Adolfo that appeared last year from Dom Quixote.
Berlin Verlag recently nabbed German rights and in a hush hush deal, film rights were just sold to a major film company, so far nameless. Rumor has it the location will be changed from Lisbon to a British city, possibly Manchester or Liverpool.

The novel centers on Palha, a young man who still lives with his parents in the unglamorous suburbs of Lisbon, who desperately wants to fall in love. His life proceeds as expected until one magical night when he finds himself drinking with Mizé, the beautiful and sought-after neighborhood hairdresser. After a night of unprecedented passion, she agrees to marry him.

Soon after he begins conjugal life in a small apartment, Palha is faced with an insurmountable project at work and seeks advice from his old bar cronies. As is typical, they completely misunderstand his predicament, thinking he’s received a big promotion instead, and so they rent a couple porn movies to celebrate.

To his horror, Palha discovers the star of the movies is his own Mizé. After confronting her, his life begins a downward spiral which culminates in his attempted murder of a leading porn producer.
Palha seeks solace with Mizé’s best friend, Carla, who shares with him the difficulties of being a single mom. They get to know each other better and eventually, it dawns on them that they themselves had shared a night of passion several years before.
Many Things Happened to Me After I Died
a new novel by Ricardo Adolfo

In an unfamiliar country, a young immigrant family can’t find their way back home. They don’t speak the language and they’ve no idea where they are. And if they want help they will have to put their dream of a new life at risk.

With the help of a fraudulent job agent, Carla, Brito and their baby son run away from their poor southern homeland to a rich northern island in search of a better life, only to discover that the road Brito was supposed to work on has already been completed and the house that awaits them has to be shared with several other families. It’s a hard blow, but Carla manages to find a job and hold the family together. She goes from being a housewife to being the money-earner, the force that never loses hope, while Brito struggles to keep his chin up and seems no longer able to make a single correct choice.

Eventually life settles, and one of the family’s distractions becomes the occasional Sunday trip out to see the shops; but one afternoon, on the way home, a tube malfunction strands them halfway. This most common of transport problems in the island’s biggest city becomes a tragedy for the couple who don’t know a word of the local language, and who have no idea where they are. Scared and confused, they start to wander, only to find themselves getting even more lost. Their brief and sheltered life on the island hasn’t prepared them for this, nor to interact with all its different inhabitants – the mere sight of two women in burqas seems to become a life-threatening situation.

Night falls; driven by despair they accept a ride from a stranger, not knowing where he plans to take them. For a moment a happy ending is in sight but when the stranger stops in front of a police station, Brito’s criminal past instinctively makes him run away, dragging his family with him. At first invisible, lost immigrants, they become wanted fugitives; with the police on their tail they’re forced into hiding and to spend the night on the streets. Carla snaps, and tries to run away with the baby, but Brito brutally stops her. Husband and wife become enemies fighting for their own survival. Racked with guilt, Brito tries to absolve himself and ends up stealing a homeless man’s sleeping bag to keep his family warm.

The next day dawns; by the morning light they see they are more lost than ever. Carla has to find her way to work or else she’ll be fired, but Brito realises that they will be wandering the city streets forever if they don’t stop running away and if he doesn’t step forward. But his risky plan to find their way home might cost them their dream of a new life on the island.

Ricardo Adolfo is an Angolan-born Portuguese writer. Currently he is based between London and Amsterdam. In 2006 his debut novel Mizé. Mizé was very well received in Portugal and has subsequently been translated into Spanish (Suma) under the title of La peluquera de Lisboa, with German (Berlin Verlag) and Dutch (Querido) editions to follow in 2008/09. In 2007 he co-created the short film There’s Only One Sun with award-winning director Wong Kar-Wai.

Adolfo is currently working on “Stella” (the film adaptation of Mizé) to be directed by Margaret Williams and produced by MJW Productions and Tubedale Films.

Many Things Happened to Me After I Died is Ricardo’s third book and continues to explore some of the author’s favourite themes, such as the mixture between the banal and the uncanny, and the peaks of tension in the ordinary and mundane.

His work has been praised for its “…maverick writing, sober and elevated, with an amazingly fine-tuned sense of oral syntax. The dialogue is perfect. Nothing in literature is harder than ‘natural dialogue’…” Fernando Venâncio, writer and critic.

dijous, 10 d’abril de 2008

El efecto transilvania, Juan Ramón Biedma

I'm now reading a book published by Rocaeditorial, one of our clients, entitled 'El efecto transilvania' and written by Juan Ramón Biedma (http://www.juanramonbiedma.es/).

It is a very promising book half way between fantasy and thriller. In fact, it is like a description of a long, complex and multilevelled nightmare. Some critics here are comparing it to the best works of Poe, Lovecraft, Boris Vian or Jean Ray.

The story takes place in the Spanish city of Seville, but Biedma converts it into a surrealistic city, a parallel world. In the novel we have a 14 years old boy who has just left hospital, but he does not know why was he sent there, or what was his illness. His family keeps it a secret, even to him. In fact, ha has been sent to Seville to live with his grandmother after his father suffered a weird accident.

The child, called Eme, feels that something unusual is happening in the city. A series of uncanny events sharpen this sensation while the city is thrilled because of the opening of an exact replica of the Peruvian pyramid of Mahuachi. Soon Eme realises that the pyramid is responsible for the strange events that take place: enormous drawings appear suddenly on the ground, there are plants that generate living animals instead of flowers, a little girl's phantom scares the priest of a church, big owls fly over the city and, everyday, hundreds of kites are raised form a precise neighbourhood...

In between, Eme is attracted to a girl called Peña, who has a golden piercing and the ability of moving objects with her mind. But there's a sinister man who follows her everywhere, and one day she is kidnapped.

Eme and his friends will look for her, but our protagonist is driven crazy because of the 'Transilvania effect' (a confusion of one's own mind that has to do with the phases of the moon). Eme starts hesitating and feels immersed in a nightmare that blurs his past and his future, his friends and his enemies...

Next year Rocaeditorial will publish a sequel of this novel that could be read separately in which we will find Eme and other characters of the novel as grown up adults... all in all it sounds really intriguing!

already launched!

This week I've 'officially' introduced SalmaiaLit to publishers both from Spain and abroad.

I must say that I'm very happy for all the e-mails and phone calls I've received congratulating me for the launching of the agency. It is very reassuring to see that good professionals from all over the world share one's enthusiasm and respond positively to new projects. I want to thank them all for their kind words, support and all their valuable tips and comments to help me keep improving.

The London Book Fair begins Next Monday (April, 14th) and I'm very much looking forward to it, and to meet colleagues with whom I've been in touch in the past. The best thing about book fairs is the incredibly huge amnount of information that you receive in just a few days. Everybody tells you about forthcoming books, new and promising authors, and lots of gossiping!

I can't wait to start talking about SalmaiaLit's books and authors and see if any creates what we call a 'buzz' (a chain reaction between publishers, agents, scouts... in which everyone ends up talking about the same book or author).

dimarts, 11 de març de 2008

Liza Marklund - Swedish Queen of Crime

A couple of weeks ago Nordin-Loud Agency (Sweden) asked SalmaiaLit to represent one of their most successful authors, Liza Marklund, for Spanish languague.

Liza Marklund was born in 1962 and works as a journalist and writer. She lives together with her husband and three children in the South of Spain, where she has recently moved. Her books have been translated into more than 20 languages.
In 2003, her novel ‘The Red Wolf’ was number 12th in the Publishing Trends international best-sellers list.

The novel with which we are beginning is entitled ''Nobel's Last Will'' and it's the sixth novel by the author about journalist Annika Bengtzon.

It takes place in Stockholm the last few weeks before Christmas. It starts out with a spectacular attack against the traditional Nobel dinner in the Blue Hall, which is celebrated every evening on the 10th of December. The controversial winner of the Medicine Award, an Israelian scientist is shot and wounded on the dance floor. His partner, the female chairman of the Nobel committee at Karolinska Institut is shot and killed.

Annika Bengtzon is covering the event for her newspaper, Kvällspressen (The Evening Press). But instead of writing the story, she becomes a witness in the police investigation. Her inside perspective takes her far into the work of the police – and the mind of the killer.

It turns out that the solution of the crime is hidden in the will of Alfred Bernhard Nobel, the man who invented dynamite and founded the Nobel awards. But which will? Did he leave only one? That’s a matter of consideration…

Rights of this novel have already been sold in Germany/Hoffman & Campe, Rowoholt; Holland/De Geus; Finland/Otava; Denmark/Fremad; Norway/ Piratforlaget; Iceland/Ari Utgafa and Italy/Marsilio Editore. Besides, the original novel was on Swedish best-sellers lists for over six months.

Some publishers are already reading it in Spain and we look forward to hearing their final decision about it!

divendres, 8 de febrer de 2008

graphic novels, comics and artists

I must confess I'm not a specialist in the field of comics and graphic novels, but I've read some and I developed a kind of need to know more, so I'm devoting part of my time to learn about the genre (shall we call it a genre?).

Besides I also made some contacts and I'm very happy to have reached agreements of representation with two brilliant young authors/artists. They both are Finnish and they both were completely unknown to me until I found references to their work in different websites.

Their names are Jenni Rope and Tommi Musturi.

Jenni's graphic novel is entitled 'Monday', and it is a beautiful and poetical work. In Finland it's been published by Napa Books. In Napa they also have a gallery and an agency of Illustrators, which Jenni owns.

Just see a sample of Monday here:

It combines white, orange and brown and it's about a man who wakes up on a Monday morning and tells us what he does and what he thinks... He also tells about his dreams, about his wonders.

Jenni Rope is an artist and illustrator. Born in 1977, lives and works in Helsinki, Finland. Jenni graduated from the University of Arts and Design in Helsinki in 2002, after studying painting and graphic design in Helsinki and animation in London.
Since 1996 she has been active with her own art exhibitions, making illustrations and comics for various magazines in Finland and abroad. As the other founder of Napa, she has worked as a curator and designer for all the Napa's books as well as their group exhibitions. In addition Jenni has done many record cover designs and animation videos for bands. She mostly works with pencil, ink, and collage techniques.

In Spain we could see a sample of her art in the magazine ''Una casa para siempre nº1'' (Borobiltxo Libros)

Tommi Musturi has published a couple of remarkable graphic novels: 'The First Book of Hopes' and 'The Second Book of Hopes'. Here you have a quote from http://forbiddenplanet.co.uk/blog/?p=5000 in which they tell us about those two shining stars:

"The First Book of Hope opens with an idyllic scene, a small house near a lake where an older man is spending his retirement time in leisure and laziness. He has thrown away his cuckoo clock and doesn’t even notice when the radio mentions a nuclear explosion. His days are filled with eating, smoking and rare bouts of activity, when he decides to start exercising, or goes on a fishing trip on the lake.

Overall, our hero is a Ware-like melancholic, who ponders heavily upon life and wonders where everything went. Luckily, there’s his wife (at least, I assume it’s his wife that sometimes talks off-screen) who tries to offer him solace and in the end tells him the obvious: “Just come out of the rain”. In other words: if you can’t pick yourself up, no-one can.
The atmosphere in the First Book of Hope is mildly melancholic and, well, hopeful, with its lush sunrise on the cover and everything. The Second Book of Hope starts with images of destruction and devastation. Even though it’s only a dream, it feels real to our hero, who gradually loses all grip on his life. He dresses shabbier every day and wanders around in his meandering fantasies. His wife, again, tries to keep him afloat with useful truths as “it will last as long as we live”, and, when asked “what to do about this life?” the answer “Just live”. It’s no use, though, and while locusts eat our hero’s wheat, he rides into the sunset, after shooting his own shadow.

They’re not uplifting reading material, these books of Musturi’s but thanks to his art, they are small masterpieces of emotion and poetry. Musturi’s style resembles, not unlike his main character, Chris Ware’s in its lack of movement, and its use of iconic imagery. However, while Ware loses himself in his page layout, lettering and compulsive detail, Musturi keeps a steady pace. Each image is as big as the others, and eight images fill a page. No image dominates the others and colour is limited to tints of blue and yellow or red.

The books can also be read page by page like as a series of aphorisms in cartoon format. Open the books on any page, just read the page and you will find a poem of Zen-like profoundness that has enough to have you ponder over it yourself for the rest of the day."

‘The First and the Second Books of Hope’ have been translated into to English by Bries Publishers (Belguim) and into French by La 5è Couche (Belgium).
The Finnish editions are published by Like.

Tommi Musturi (b. 1975) is a Finnish comic artist and editor for the award-winning anthology Glömp. His work includes participations in numerous fanzines and an on-going five book serie called The Books of Hope. He works in the organization of the Helsinki Comics Festival, works in 10-people comic art studio Kutikuti and runs publishing houses Boing Being and Huuda Huuda. At the moment he's working on a new book entitled 'Walking with Samuel' that should be out late 2008.


I hope I can find publishers for these books, as I'm sure many people will enjoy them as much as I did!!
More about graphic novels soon...

dimecres, 6 de febrer de 2008

taking off

Hi everyone,

Here I come with this new blog, devoted mainly to books and authors. My plans are to write about the writers and artists which I'll be representing through SalmaiaLit, an agency devoted to copyright representation that I'm planning to launch by the end of March/beginning of April.

Before all, I think I need to explain a couple of things such as the origin of the agency's name and why am I writing in English... well, Salmaia is an almost lost Catalan word (nowadays it isn't well known even among the Catalan speakers)
Salmaia is the name given to the mixture of salty and spring water. The kind of water that you would find when rivers merge into seas. I've chosen Salmaia because I think it gives the idea of gathering things together, of a meeting point. Translating this idea to books and literature was very appealling to me as I think the main role of a literary agency is to act as a meeting point between authors and publishers, between writers and readers. A kind of salmaia (mixture) of creativity...
Besides, Salmaia (and this is where I first met this word) is the title of a wonderful CD by one of my favourite singers, Maria del Mar Bonet. The whole CD is devoted to Mediterranean songs, a mixture in itself of different lands, styles and musics. There you can find songs from Turkey, Italy, Greece, the Balearic Islands... some musics are inspired by popular or folk melodies, some others have been composed (and played) by artists such as Zülfü Livaneli, a fine Turkish composer, singer and novelist, or the amazing 'Ensemble de Musique Traditionelle de Tunis'. Lyrics are also popular or by poets such as Joan Vinyoli, Albert Garcia and Isidor Marí.

The first of the 13 songs of the CD is entitled 'Merhaba', which in Turkish means 'Hello', so... Merhaba to this blog!!

Now, I'm writing in English because I have the feeling that by using this language I will be able to cover a wide range of readers. The ideal thing would be to translate every entry into different languages but I'm afraid I won't have the time to do it. However, I might be using other languages every now and then.

I'll be back in a few days telling you about more things!
This will be our website, still under construction http://www.salmaialit.com/