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British critics praise Catalan contemporary writers Marc Pastor and Jordi Puntí

Contemporary Catalan literature is being well received amongst British critics. The BBC recently interviewed Catalan writer Marc Pastor on the hit show ‘Meet the Author’ to introduce the English translation of his novel ‘La Mala Dona’ (known as ‘Barcelona Shadows’ for UK readers), which was published by Pushkin Press in January 2nd. Critics have also praised ‘Maletes perdudes’ (‘Lost Luggage’), a novel by Catalan writer Jordi Puntí, who took part in the British Library’s European Literature Night last May. Another English publishing house has bought the rights of ‘Jo confesso’ (‘I confess’), a Catalan best-seller by author Jaume Cabré, and plans to publish it on 2015.

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12 February 2014 10:09 AM

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ACN / Paula Solanas

London (ACN).- Catalan authors are being very well received amongst British critics. Writer Marc Pastor was recently interviewed on the hit BBC show ‘Meet the Author’, hosted by Nick Higham, to introduce the English translation of his novel ‘La Mala Dona’. The book was published by Pushkin Press on January 2nd, known as ‘Barcelona Shadows’ for UK readers, and described as “magnificent” during the interview. Critics have also praised ‘Maletes perdudes’ (‘Lost Luggage’) by Catalan author Jordí Puntí, who took part in the British Library’s European Literature Night last May. On the other hand, British publishing house Arcadia Books bought the rights of ‘Jo confesso’ (‘I confess’), a Catalan best-seller written by Jaume Cabré that will hit the shelves in 2015.


During the BBC interview, the presenter praised ‘Barcelona Shadows’, highlighting that is based on true events. It explains the story of Enriqueta Martí, also known as “The Vampire of Raval”, a woman who murdered and kidnapped children in Barcelona at the beginning of the 20th century. According to Pastor, the famous assassin was “surrounded by rich people, casinos and mansions” at night. By contrast, during the day she “looked like a homeless person, dressed in black, kidnapped children and drank their blood”.

Apart from his writing career, Pastor is a member of the scientific squad of the Mossos d’Esquadra, the Catalan Police force. As he said, his experience in the field of criminology helped him find the inspiration for ‘Barcelona Shadows’. The novel intends to reflect Barcelona’s atmosphere at a period when it was perceived as “one of the best cities in Europe” although it was a focus of diseases and social issues.

Catalan literature reaches British media

BBC journalist Nick Higham highlighted that ‘Barcelona Shadows’ was originally written in Catalan and asked the author why he does not write in Spanish remarking that “it would reach a larger audience”. Marc Pastor commented that he made this choice to contribute to Catalan literature and that he already has a wider reach thanks to translations into Spanish and English.

‘The Financial Times’ also praised the novel in a review by Julius Purcell, who described Pastor’s work as “convincing” and compared it to Peruvian writer and 2010 Nobel Prize for Literature Mario Vargas Llosa. Jane Jakeman, a journalist from ‘The Independent’, defined the book as “highly recommendable” and emphasised its “extremely lively writing”.

Aside from Pastor’s warm welcome in London, Catalan writer Jordi Puntí has also been acclaimed by British critics. His novel ‘Maletes Perdudes’ (‘Lost Luggage’), which was published by Short Books, came out on the Anglo-Saxon market last April. Relevant newspapers such as ‘The Financial Times’, ‘The Independent’ or the ‘Daily Express’ included reviews about the book. Puntí took part in the British Library’s European Literature Night last May.

On the other hand, during the London Book Fair, publishing house Arcadia Books bought the rights to Jaume Cabré’s novels, a best-seller writer in Catalonia. ‘Jo confesso’ (‘I confess’) and ‘Les Veus del Pamano’ (‘Voices from the River’) may hit the British shelves in 2015.

Authors like Puntí and Pastor contribute to expand the presence of Catalan literature in the British market, which grew exponentially during 2013. Novels such as ‘The Body Hunter’ by Najat El Hachmi, ‘Dark Vales’ by Raimon Casellas and ‘The Diamond Square’ by Mercè Rodoreda were translated into English last year.

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  • The BBC interviewed Marc Pastor to introduce 'Barcelona Shadows' (by BBC)

  • The BBC interviewed Marc Pastor to introduce 'Barcelona Shadows' (by BBC)