There were many other authors from Spain, Mexico, Argentina, and Columbia. It was a good chance to meet authors and artists from around the world. Here are some names to watch for in the future as I expect that their books will find their way into English. I discovered Argentina author Ernesto Mallo (La Aguja En El Parjar), Columbian author Antonio Garcia Angel (Recursos Humanos), and Mexican author Miguel Cane (Todas Las Fiestas de manana).
Paco Ignacio Taibo II leading the guitar players in song.
The head of the festival is internationally acclaimed author Paco Ignacio Taibo II. I am currently reading The Shadow of the Shadow by Paco Taibo and can highly recommend it. This novel is set in the time shortly after the revolution in Mexico and Paco covers a group including a journalist, poet, lawyer and ethnic Chinese labour organizer (who can’t speak Chinese but nonetheless substitutes ‘l” for “r” in his speech. The book is not only funny but a hugely entertaining murder mystery.
Miguel (right) sharing a moment with principal festival translator Diego (left) at the Don Manuel Hotel, Gijon, Spain.
Also at the Semana Negra were graphic artists, cartoonists, and illustrators. This was a seriously talented group of people. At lunch and dinner I would watch them talking and making sketches on the paper tablecloth. Some of the artists I talked with included the legendary Mexican artist, Eduardo del Rio Garcia (Rius). Rius is a highly political artist and his creations hit home hard. Sergi Alvarez y Sagar Fornies and Lorenzo Gomez share a dark vision of politics and the oppression of the small guy. Hunt Emerson from the UK is a multi-talented artists, with graphic books, comics, and illustrations to his credit. Hunt was kind enough to draw a wonderful cartoon on the empty space on the back of my name card, the one that hung around my neck throughout Semana Negra. Dean Ormstom’s Vampire may be the most chilling images ever about the long-toothed demon. Carles Santamaria y Pepe Farrugo captures the evil of corporate board rooms along with the corporate power games. Los Otros y Nosotros homes in on the comedic tragedy of life with a series of urban images ranging from hitch-hiking beauties to a Goya like giant hovering over a city and dragging the countryside into his grasp.
, one of America’s foremost cartoonist and illustrators was at the festival from the beginning. He has a book titled Fantastic Art of Arthur Suydam and I highly recommend it. His cutting edge alien images are haunting. Arthur has also done the art for the Tarzan, The Lost Adventure, Brer Rabbit, The Wind in the Willows, and Batman. His art is in high demand in the States. Each day Arthur holed up in his room drawing for work owed back in New York.