Jekyll and Hyde: Double lives explored at Barcelona crime fiction festival

Laura Lippman, Claudia Piñeiro, Youssef El Maimouni and Leonardo Padura will take part in BCNegra, February 6-12

BCNegra's Carlos Zanón and Barcelona City Council's Jordi Martí  launch the BCNegra 2023 program at the Wax Museum of Barcelona
BCNegra's Carlos Zanón and Barcelona City Council's Jordi Martí launch the BCNegra 2023 program at the Wax Museum of Barcelona / Pau Cortina
Catalan News

Catalan News | @catalannews | Barcelona

February 6, 2023 11:58 AM

February 6, 2023 12:04 PM

Things are going to get a little bit darker, a little bit more mysterious in Barcelona this week, as the city hosts the 18th edition of BCNegra, a book festival celebrating crime and noir fiction. 

From February 6-12, the El Molino theatre and Aribau Multicines cinema will host roundtables and discussions with some of the genre's leading authors, with a particular focus on the theme of double lives

It is no surprise then that Robert Louis Stevenson's Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde is this year's featured classic novel, with Italian writer Leonardo Sciascia and the noir comic Blacksad also in the spotlight. 

But it is contemporary crime fiction that features in the majority of the 80 or so events scheduled throughout the week, with some 125 participants, including local authors such as Núria Cadenes, Ray Loriga, Dolores Redondo and Youssef El Maimouni, and international writers including Laura Lippman, Leonardo Padura, Claudia Piñeiro, Petros Márkaris and Tahar Ben Jelloun. 

Literary tour and book clubs 

Barcelona is a UNESCO city of literature and every year for BCNegra, Biblioteques de Barcelona (Barcelona Libraries) organize a literary tour, tracing the footsteps of some of the hardboiled detectives and seedy lowlifes who prowl the city's novels. 

This year, the route has been designed by the writer and poet Xavier Theros, based on his book La fada negra (The Black Fairy), winner of the 2017 Josep Pla Award, set in a dirty, claustrophobic mid-19th century Barcelona. 

Libraries across Barcelona will also host spin-off events related to BCNegra, including three book club sessions, open to all, with authors Graziella Moreno, Jon Bilbao, Mariló Àlvarez. 

Beyond books: music, theatre, cinema 

While books are of course the protagonists of BCNegra, the festival also includes a supporting cast of music, theatre and cinema events as part of the 2023 program. 

Singer-songwriter Albert Pla will perform a selection of his "darkest and blackest" material in a concert on February 6 in El Molino. 

Padi Padilla stars in Ada Castells' one-person play, 'Monólogue: La mes bella del mó', directed by Ferran Utzet, one of the festival's three shows, alongside a theatrical trial and a performance by officers from the Scientific Police division of the Mossos d'Esquadra, the Catalan police. 

Two films will be screened at Aribau Multicines: Stockholm, directed by Rodrigo Sorogoyen, and Lost Highway, directed by David Lynch, with a further three film screenings at the Filmoteca de Catalunya. 

Streaming service Filmin has once again teamed up with the festival, curating two lists of films – one themed around doppelgangers, and the other a selection of film noir. 

Filling the Sink podcast 

Catalonia has a rich literary heritage, one which has attracted many interntional writers. Listen to the podcast below to learn more. 

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