You might remember I told you I was going to Madrid, with my mother, to help with a book event. Literania 2017 was organised by the Asociación Internacional de Autores Independientes (International Association of Independent Authors) and Ediciones Proust (Proust Editions) to promote and help readers discover independent authors and small publishing companies that do not have access to the big book events and find it difficult to get their books accepted by standard distributors. It took place in el parque de la Vaguada (Vaguada Park) from the 28th of April to the 7th of May.
Apart from many stalls of paperbacks from small publishing companies and a large varieties of authors covering all genres (from children’s books to poetry and new annotated editions of classics), there were other events programmed that proved popular: we had many authors who shared their knowledge and experience with us (Alberto Vázquez Figueroa, Rocío Castrillo, Enrique Laso [who kindly recommended my translations], Fernando Fominaya, Ana Nieto Churruca, Ana González Duque, Ainhoa Escarti), fabulous musicians (Miss GI, Dúo Okendo, My Left Hand, Kinnia, Pedro de Mingo, Artabe), poets that offered us wonderful recitals, children’s authors who amused the children with their interactive stories (I enjoyed, among others, stories about a house made of cheese, a fabulous donkey and a bee who wasn’t the best at collecting pollen ), there were book signings and presentations, we collected second-hand books that we helped find a new home, and we raffled wonderful gifts for Mother’s Day (that in Spain this year was the 7th of May).
I would lie if I told you everything went swimmingly. Talking about swimming, we had very bad weather with heavy rain that almost had us and the books floating down to the Manzanares (and yes, it was very cold too), we had electrical problems (and had to rely on a generator), getting water for the food stalls was also complicated, and let’s say that some things didn’t run particularly smoothly, especially the first couple of days.
I was with my mother and another author (Isabel Mata) taking care of the general stall. We had so many books that it was difficult to get organised and we kept getting books throughout the event. It was a joy to be surrounded not only by the physical books but also by so many colleagues I had only met through social media. It was great to recognise and meet people in the flesh, have a chat with so many about all kinds of things (food, weather, writing, future stories, personal experiences, translations…). We bonded over the time and we were like a big family.
I shouldn’t forget the members of Radio Universo Literario who were there throughout the event and not only interviewed authors and recorded presentations and music performances but also shared their own poetry and helped with everything.
And María Blazquez who provided us with gifts and kindly helped organise the raffle. Fantastic.
And, what can I tell you of the public? Some of them were really encouraging and asked us to come back next year. We had some neighbours come, visit, and buy books every day. I also had a lady who gave me her address and invited me to go and see her if we needed anything. We had many parents looking for books for their children, eager young readers, keen historians fascinated by a book about Galileo and Pope Urbano VIII, a book about History of Madrid told by a cat was the runaway bestseller of the fair, although we also had great sales for short story and fantasy books, and children’s books (Mi amigo, un burro (My friend, a donkey) was a favourite, and I love it)…
I had fascinating chats with authors and aspiring authors, talked to several publishing companies and my mother was adopted as the mother of all and was made an Honorary Member of the Cooperative. And we got great feedback from the majority of the assistants.
We weren’t so lucky with the food side of things and let’s say that finances will be ‘interesting’.
I’m not sure where things will go (especially as some projects might take up a lot of my time in the near future) but I definitely loved being a bookseller for a few days and I still hope it might play a big part in the future.
Thanks so much to my Mom, Lusa Guerrero, Ramón Somoza and his son, Alan, Isabel Mata, Lydia, Pilar, Carlos, Ricardo, Andrés, Pierre, Alberto, Fran and Fran, Jordi and family… etc., etc., etc… And thanks to you for reading. Remember to like, share, comment and CLICK!