'The lengthy goodbye': the competition that dignified the crime novel in Spain says goodbye after 20 years | Elementary | Culture | EUROtoday

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Javier Sánchez Zapatero (seated) and Àlex Martín Escribà, on Tuesday at the Spanish Interpretation Center in Salamanca.
Javier Sánchez Zapatero (seated) and Àlex Martín Escribà, on Tuesday on the Spanish Interpretation Center in Salamanca.Emilio Fraile

They are unknown to most of the people, however these two professors with their sharp eyes and affable fashion are guilty, or at the least a part of the blame, for the truth that the noir style has achieved the literary standing it deserves in Spain. One scorching day in June 2004, of their final 12 months as Philology college students, Àlex Martín Escribà and Javier Sánchez Zapatero determined to create the Congress of Novels and Black Cinema of Salamanca, a beautiful journey as educational because it was playful that’s closing after 20 editions. . “We never thought we would last this long. When we put 'First Congress' on the poster we asked ourselves: first of what? “We did it for fun and we are very satisfied, but this is exhausting,” they instructed EL PAÍS final Tuesday, the day of the beginning of this The lengthy goodbyea Chandlerian title with which they’ve named their final congress.

In a panorama through which greater than thirty crime novel festivals are held annually unfold all through Spain, this one stood as a wholesome anomaly: educational, with a want to dignify and examine the style, its traditional territory has been been the school rooms of the University of Salamanca, removed from the same old hustle and bustle of this kind of assembly. This 12 months, the final, they’ve moved to the sturdy headquarters of the Bank of Spain, now transformed into the Spanish Interpretation Center. There, on Tuesday, utilized readers and students of the style could possibly be seen altering from one classroom to a different to take heed to the totally different lectures, as much as 4 at a time, that are a part of a program that efficiently mixes writers with doctoral college students or specialists of various backgrounds. nature: this version, for instance, had the participation of the neurobiologist specialised in imaginative and prescient Conchi Lillo.

But let nobody be confused: Martín Escribà and Sánchez Zapatero insist on the playful facet of a competition that can also be the story of an unbreakable friendship between its two administrators. “If we can be recognized for anything, it is that we have broken the uncomfortable line between cultured and popular literature. We have opened a closed door for many years,” summarizes Escribà.

The annual assembly has been increasing its sphere of affect. As the years glided by, it has collected an plentiful bibliography, audio system from world wide have joined in, and a criminal offense novel topic has even emerged through the educational 12 months. Why, then, abandon such a candy spot for them and for the style? “Sorrow, relief and nostalgia” are the three most repeated phrases once they discuss in regards to the finish. “It is a round figure and we like round figures. If not, we would have to leave it within five,” they joke. “It is better to leave things than for them to leave you. It's sad because it's a total of 76 days of our lives and we had a great time,” Sánchez Zapatero concludes. 76 days of Congress behind which hide hundreds of hours of work and a feeling of fatigue at the end of the road. “The illusion has not been lost but it has been transformed. We saw that the festival was showing signs of exhaustion,” they clarify, one finishing the opposite's reflections.

The deceased Domingo Villar (left) and Alexis Ravelo, during the 2019 congress.
The deceased Domingo Villar (left) and Alexis Ravelo, during the 2019 congress.Maria Marcos Ramos

This is the other cause of dissolution: the university framework has played a paradoxical role. On the one hand, it has been the ideal context to attract experts and authors; also a solid support, especially in the early years, when they were not so well known. On the other hand, it has limited the social growth of the festival because the university creates a bubble effect, explain the directors of the congress, who have not found sufficient public or private support. “We tried to make him grow, but he has already given everything he could give. It is an impossible leap. We lacked money to open ourselves to authors from the United States and Europe. If an Ellroy or a Lehane had come…”, laments Martín Escribà.

Do you regret anything? Before answering they look at each other and speak without words, a deep-rooted habit. “With perspective we would do different things, but regret it, no. Maybe, I do think that with less wear and tear it would have turned out the same. Yes indeed. And we would have liked to create something from the quarry, but there has been no line of continuity,” Escribá summarizes.

Absences and longings

Manuel Vázquez Montalbán (who died before the first edition), Javier Coma or Juan Marsé, whom they invited repeatedly and from whom they always received a kind handwritten letter of dispensation, are some of the names that they would have loved to see in the classrooms from the University of Salamanca. diehard fans of El crack, in the absences chapter they have a special mention for Alfredo Landa, whom they invited with the courage and simplicity of two young people who had nothing to lose: they consulted the Yellow Pages and called his house. The actor attended them and accepted the invitation, but shortly afterward he became seriously ill. Yes, José Luis Garci could be there, one of the many illustrious names in cinema who have participated in the congress.

Now, in two decades the best of the genre in Spanish has passed through Salamanca: from one of the founding fathers, Francisco González Ledesma, to Carlos Zanón or Claudia Piñeiro, invited this year along with Alicia Giménez Bartlett: the best of the novel black on both sides of the ocean, the summary of 20 years of good literature. Giménez Bartlett is, precisely, the winner of the XI Pata Negra Domingo Villar Prize, an award with which they have built, “almost unintentionally” a canon and which has rewarded, among others, Esther García Llovet, Alexis Ravelo and Julián Ibáñez. “We have a debt with Domingo Villar [fallecido en 2022, el autor vigués había ganado el premio que ahora lleva su nombre en 2019], an immense writer, a generous friend, so we are thinking about continuing him in some way,” they explain. “The match disappears but not the mark,” Sánchez Zapatero reassures. They will continue in some way, tirelessly, in a task to which Phillip Marlowe himself would take his hat off.

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