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“The initial response after we
launched the company was humbling.
The Cubans were so delighted that
a foreign publishing house was
finally delving deeper into the
literary community,” said Pinilla.
Typically, the only books that are
widely published in Cuba are prize
winners or books promoted by the
government. Private publishing
houses are all-but-nonexistent, due to a lack of
resources, they said.
Parrilla and Pinilla say that there is a community of 70
to 80 established writers who are potentially world class
and deserve international attention. They cite Historias
del Más Acá by Daniel Burguet, a book of dark short
stories, as just one example of a book that could attract
a top publisher abroad. Another is Eduardo del Llano’s
La Calle de la Comedia, a satire of Cuban society. “The
books tend to be dark, but funny,” said Pinilla. “We
think the stories are fresh and different–there’s no
internet, so reading is entertainment. The books reflect
this. When it comes to writing, different is attractive.
Cuba is both different and attractive. We think other
publishers will agree.”
The London Book Fair sees the debut
of the catalogue of Guantanamera, a
publishing house founded by Enrique
Parrilla, ceo of Seville-based
publishing house Lantia, along with
his Lantia colleague Chema Garcia
and Daniel Pinilla, a journalist who is
serving as publishing director of the
company, writes Ed Nawotka. The
publisher, which launched officially at
the Havana Book Fair this February, is putting 46 new
Cuban books up for rights sales for the first time.
Guantanamera was born after Pinilla spent the first three
months of 2016 in Cuba writing his own travel book,
Hasta El Mojito Siempre (Samarcanda), and discovered
an untapped well of literary talent.
“Two or three years ago we offered a consulting service
and noticed that the quality of the work coming from
Cuba was stunning and there was a lot of talent there,”
said Parilla. “But there were a lot of challenges: logistics,
banking and access, and there was no public internet
access until last year. But we made it happen.”
The catalogue includes fiction, poetry, essays, sociological
books, theatre, science fiction and humour. The books are
published in Spain in Spanish for global distribution.
Daniel Pinilla and Enrique Parrilla
M&S Cafés will host fortnightly “talk-in” sessions where
people can meet to talk and share their stories. The events
will take place after hours, and will be led by trained
volunteer facilitators. Frazzled Café was trialled in M&S
offices and stores last year.
Frazzled Café is a not for profit and soon to be registered
charity created by Ruby Wax and run by Elizabeth Morrison
and Anna D’Onofrio. Its name comes from Wax’s
bestselling book A Mindfulness Guide for the Frazzled.
The shortlist for the 2017 Wellcome Book Prize was
announced at the London Book Fair yesterday.
How To Survive a Plague (Picador), David France (USA)
When Breath Becomes Air (The Bodley Head), Paul
Mend the Living (MacLehose Press), Maylis de Kerangal
(France) trans Jessica Moore
The Tidal Zone (Granta), Sarah Moss (UK)
The Gene (The Bodley Head), Siddhartha Mukherjee (USA)
I Contain Multitudes (The Bodley Head), Ed Yong
The winner will be announced on 24 April.
Ruby Wax launches Frazzled Cafés at M&S
TV personality and author Ruby Wax held a “mindfulness
moment” at Olympia yesterday to mark the launch of her
Frazzled Café at Marks & Spencer stores. Her photocall
included big hitters Tom Weldon, ceo of Penguin Random
House UK, and LBF director Jacks Thomas.