Mexican Literarture: Why you should be reading a few bad hombres and mujeres
With author and editor Gerardo Cárdenas
Co-sponsored by the Lit & Luz Festival
Join us for a “primer” on Mexican Literature!
Have you been missing out on Mexican literature? Do you not know where to begin? Come by for this free crash course.
Considered the center of Latin American and Spanish-language literature. Learn why, for decades, Mexico City was a hub for the publishing industry, as well as literary magazines and reviews.
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of Juan Rulfo. Writers, publishers, editors, and critics are engaged in an ongoing debate about his books, his influence on Mexican and Latin American literature, and his influence on 21st Century Mexican Lit. For the second half of the 20th Century, Mexican Literature had basically three pillars: Rulfo, Octavio Paz, and Carlos Fuentes. It was a male-centered, Mexico City-centered view of fiction, non-fiction, and poetry, and only a handful determined what got published, what got read, and what got reviewed. And it was sanctioned, funded, and supported with government funds.
In the late 20th Century, Mexican Literature changed profoundly. Women authors came into view and quickly took center stage. Authors no longer need to be validated by Mexico City in order to be read and followed. Independent publishers came also into the picture, although government funding is still a hotly debated matter.
These days, there is a spillover of Mexican Literature into the United States for a number of reasons: immigration—authors who have decided to move to the US and “escape” from the centralized control of the Mexican government’s literary hubs; the gradual increase of literary translation; and the emergence of a native Spanish-language literature in the US.
This decentralization and gender diversification of Mexican Literature has led to an unprecedented situation in the 21st Century: there is no canon. Nobody has taken Rulfo’s place, or Fuentes’s or Paz’s for that matter. Mexican Literature has become harder to define by topic, style, angle, etc., but in the end, this can really take it to a different plane.
In this talk, Cárdenas will not only dive further into how the recent changes in Mexican literature came to pass, but also offer insights and recommendations on contemporary Mexican authors.
Through events like Lit & Luz, Chicagoans get a unique sense of what modern Mexican literature is like, connect with authors, read them, and interact with them.
LIT & LUZ FESTIVAL OF LANGUAGE, LITERATURE, AND ART
Lit & Luz Festival one-of-a-kind series of events featuring renowned authors and visual artists from Chicago and Mexico City in cultural exchange and conversation. This series of readings, conversations, artist talks, performances which culminates in a Live Magazine Finale, highlights new translations and artistic collaborations—showcasing some of the most innovative contemporary writers and artists from both countries. The festival take place in Chicago in the fall, followed by a events in Mexico City in early winter.
Lit & Luz is produced by MAKE Literary Productions and partners.
Gerardo Cárdenas is a Mexico City-born writer and journalist. He lived in Mexico City, Miami, Washington, D.C., Brussels and Madrid before settling down in the Chicago area in 1989. He is the author of the short story collection A veces llovia en Chicago (2013), the poetry collections En el pais del silencio (2015) and Silencio del tiempo (2016), the play Blind Spot (2016) and the editor of the short fiction antology Diaspora (2017). He has won several local, national, and international awards, and his poetry, short fiction, and articles have been published in print and electronic outlets and anthologies in Mexico, the United States, Spain, Venezuela, Chile and the Dominican Republic. He also occasionally jumps on stage for Teatro Aguijon on the North Side for whom he has acted in a few plays, and wrote and acted in an adaptation of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.