Words Without Borders released its September 2011 edition which includes three short stories from Spanish Language writers and a review of Sergio Chejfec’s newest book, among other things. I wasn’t familiar with any of the writers included in this edition. Slavko Zupcic is from Venezuela and wrote what I thought was the strongest story of the bunch about a man who steals books only to have the author die a day latter. The Mexican author Guadalupe Nettel’s story was OK, about the breakup of a relationship via gardening. It had its moments until he decided he was a cactus, which should have been funny but became tedious. I skimmed Eduardo Halfon’s story before giving up quickly. I don’t like stories about writers and writer’s conferences. Maybe I should have given it more time, but I have no patience for that.
El País reports that Javier Sáez de Ibarra has won the first Premio Internacional de Narrativa Breve Ribera del Duero (International Prize for Short Stories Ribera del Duero). I don’t know what weight to put in awards, even ones that come with €50,000. However, the article and accompanying interview has some interesting items that makes me want to find an example or two of his writing.
The short story is a genre that is not well esteemed by editors, little ready by readers, and not well understood by critics: there still are those who criticize a story that doesn’t have a surprise. Inovations are not well received.
“El cuento es un género poco estimado por los editores, poco frecuentado por los lectores y mal comprendido por los críticos: todavía hay quien le reprocha a un relato que no tenga efecto sorpresa. Las innovaciones no son bien recibidas”.
He also said that the Internet is helping to save the shor story.
In a certain sense the short story has taken refuge in the Internet. There are many blogs that publish stories and those that criticize stories. An example? El síndrome de Chéjov, Vivir del cuento, Café y Garamond, La luz ténue or the critic Fernando Valls’s.
“En cierto sentido, el cuento se ha refugiado en Internet. Hay muchos blogs que publican cuentos y en los que se hace crítica de cuentos. ¿Algún ejemplo? El síndrome de Chéjov, Vivir del cuento, Café y Garamond, La luz ténue o el del crítico Fernando Valls”
I’m not sure if I believe that in the US we pay more attention to short story writers. He did list a few other autors of note: Hipólito G. Navarro who was on El publico lee and sounded interesing; from Peru Fernando Iwasaki; from Guatemala Eduardo Halfon; from Mexico Pedro Ángel Palou; and from Spain Luciano G. Egido y Juan Carlos Márquez.