Up Against The Wall with Valeria Luiselli and Álvaro Enrigue


Jerwood Kiln

07/10/2017 14:45 - 15:45

Past Event

“Poor Mexico,” someone once said: “So far from God and so close to the United States.” Two of Mexico’s most outstanding contemporary authors, Álvaro Enrigue and Valeria Luiselli, talk about what it's like to be Mexican writers in Donald Trump's America.


Valeria Luiselli

Valeria Luiselli was born in Mexico City in 1983. She published a book of personal essays entitled Papeles Falsos (Sidewalks) in 2010. Her first novel, Los Ingravidos(Faces in the Crowd) was originally published by Sexto Piso in 2011. Both titles have been published by Coffee House Press in the US and Granta in the UK. In 2014 she was named one of the 5 under 35 by the National Book Foundation in the US and her most recent novel, La Historia de mis dientes (The Story of My Teeth) was one of the New York Times 100 Notable Books of 2015, won the LA Times Book Prize for Fiction in 2016 and is shortlisted for the Impac Prize 2017.

Her essay Tell Me How It Ends was published in 2017. She completed a PhD in Comparative Literature at Columbia University and is currently professor of Romance Language and Literature at Hofstra University. Her work has been published in magazines and newspapers such as Letras Libres, the New York Times, the New Yorker, Freeman’s, El Pais and Harper’s and she is published in fifteen languages. She will be a judge of the National Book Awards 2017 and her new novel, Lost Children Archives, which she has written in English, will be published by Knopf in the US.


Álvaro Enrigue

Álvaro Enrigue (born in Guadalajara, Mexico) is the award winning author of four novels and two books of short stories. He has been translated into multiple languages, including German, English and French.
In 1996, Enrigue was awarded the prestigious Joaquín Mortiz Prize for his first novel, La muerte de un instalador (Death of an Installation Artist). Since then it has been reprinted five times, and in 2012 it was selected as one of the key novels of the Mexican 20th century, and anthologized by Mexico's largest publishing house, Fondo de Cultura Económica. His books Vidas perpendiculares (Perpendicular Lives) and Hipotermia (Hypothermia) have also been widely acclaimed.

Hypothermia, which offers an "unflinching gaze towards 21st-century life and the immigrant experience", was published in 2013 in the USA and England by Dalkey Archive Press in a translation by Brendan Riley. His latest novel, Decencia (Decency), has received praises in Latin America's and Spain's most relevant publications.

In 2007, he was selected as one of the most influential contemporary writers in Spanish by the Hay Festival's Bogotá39. In 2009, he was awarded a Rockefeller Foundation Residence Fellowship at the Bellagio Centre to finish the manuscript of his last novel, Decencia (Decency). In 2011 he became a fellow at the Cullman Center for Writers and Scholars of the New York Public Library, where he began working on his fifth novel.

On November 4, 2013, Enrigue's novel Muerte súbita (Sudden Death) was announced as the winner of the 31st Herralde Novel Prize, joining a distinguished list of works by authors from Spain and Latin America.