Benengeli 2024: Humour or Tragedy, the Paths of Contemporary Literature

  • DATE

    12 June 2024

  • TIME

    6:00 pm to 8:00 pm

  • AGES

    All ages welcome


    Instituto Cervantes
    326-330 Deansgate, Manchester, M3 4FN

The Instituto Cervantes Manchester is delighted to announce its participation, once again, in the literary festival Benengeli 2024. International Week of Literature in Spanish. We invite you to join us for a week dedicated to literature, authors, and books, bringing together literature lovers from five continents.

This year, the festival delves into the fascinating debate of “Humour or Tragedy, the Paths of Contemporary Literature”. Get ready for an exciting week, packed with in-person and virtual activities designed to explore this profound dichotomy in contemporary literary creation.

Don’t miss our exclusive roundtable in Manchester, where distinguished authors such as Irene Gracia, Jesús Ferrero, Rodrigo Blanco Calderón, and Mike Gayle will share their perspectives on this topic, moderated by Valerie Miles. It will be a unique opportunity to engage in this debate and discover comparative viewpoints between writers from the UK and Spain.


About the panellist:
Rodrigo Blanco Calderón is a Venezuelan writer based in Malaga. He has been a university professor, editor, and cultural promoter. Currently, he teaches creative writing workshops and contributes to publications such as ABC, Letras Libres, and Rialta. He has published the novels The Night (2016) and Simpatía (2021), which was a finalist for the Booker International Prize 2024. Additionally, he has authored the short story collections Una larga fila hombres (2005), Los invencibles (2007), Las rayas (2011), and Los terneros (2018). For his work, he has received various awards, including the III Mario Vargas Llosa Novel Biennial in Mexico, the Rive gauche à Paris Prize in France, and the O. Henry Prize for Short Stories 2023 in the United States.

Jesús Ferrero graduated from The School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences in Paris. He is the author of novels such as Bélver Yin, El efecto Doppler, Las trece rosas, El hijo de Brian Jones, and Radical blonde, as well as the essay Las experiencias del deseo: eros y misos (Anagrama Prize) and the poetry collection Las noches rojas. He co-wrote the screenplay for Matador with Almodóvar, and his work has been translated into fifteen languages.

Mike Gayle. Born in Birmingham Mike Gayle graduated from the university of Salford with a degree in Sociology before moving to London to work in journalism. He wrote for a number of teen magazines as well as becoming an agony uncle. Subsequently he has written for a variety of publications including The Sunday Times, The Guardian and Cosmopolitan. He became a full-time novelist following the publication of his Sunday Times top ten bestseller My Legendary Girlfriend and has since written eighteen novels including his latest, A Song of Me and You. His work has been translated into more than thirty languages including Russian, Mandarin and Spanish. He has also judged a number of literary prizes including the Costas, the Betty Trask and British Book Awards.

Irene Gracia was born in Madrid and studied painting and sculpture at the Faculty of Fine Arts in Barcelona. She has published several novels, including Fiebre para siempre (Planeta, Ojo Crítico Award 1994), Hijas de la noche en llamas (Planeta, 1999), Mordake o la condición infame (Debate, 2001), El coleccionista de almas perdidas (Siruela and Círculo de Lectores, 2006), El beso del ángel (Siruela, 2011), El alma de las cosas (Siruela, 2014), Anoche anduve sobre las aguas (Pre-Textos, 2014. Premio de Novela Breve «Juan March Cencillo»), Ondina o la ira del fuego (Siruela, 2017), and Las amantes boreales (Siruela, 2018). She is also the author of several short stories featured in different anthologies and has a prolific body of artwork.

Valerie Miles is a writer and the editor of Granta in Spanish since 2003. She advises the Prado Museum on literary matters and is also the president of the selection committee for the international residency Writing the Prado. She has been a Fellow of the National Endowment for the Arts, and in 2013 curated the first exhibition on Roberto Bolaño’s private papers along with the team at the CCCB in Barcelona: Archivo Bolaño, 1977-2003. The exhibition was the result of several years of work in the author’s archive. Her bibliography includes the book Mil bosques en una bellota, as well as twenty-five monographs of Granta in Spanish and two in English. Her recent translations include Crematorio by Rafael Chirbes, a finalist for the Spain-USA Prize, Juan Eduardo Cirlot’s Diccionario de símbolos for NYRB, and she has edited Azar Nafisi’s book on Nabokov. She is currently working on the translation of Borges by Bioy Casares. She is a member of the Margellos Collection Committee at Yale University. Her translation of Eso también pasará by Milena Busquets was a finalist for the Dublin Prize and won a Pen Translation Award. She writes for publications such as The New Yorker, The New York Times, Granta, El País, and The Paris Review, among others.