Catalonia: Place of a Language - World Literature Weekend 2011

Three very different Catalan writers came together to talk about how a besieged language can offer refuge, and how place, history and identity are knitted into that language. Najat El Hachmi’s semi-autobiographical novel The Last Patriarch describes how the daughter of a domineering Moroccan father, growing up in urban Catalonia, is able to forge her own identity through the discovery of the Catalan language. Teresa Solana is the award-winning author of two comic noirs that satirise Catalan politics and literary society, A Not So Perfect Crime and A Short Cut to Paradise. Carles Casajuana is the author of The Last Man who Spoke Catalan (not yet translated into English), a comic novel that pits two writers, one Catalan and one Castilian, the last inhabitants of a deserted apartment building, against one another as rivals in language and love. Our chair for this event was Barcelona-based literary translator Peter Bush, who has translated both Najat El-Hachmi and Teresa Solana.Catalan novelists Najat el Hachmi, Carles Casajuana and Teresa Solana, chaired by Peter Bush, discussed their work and the experience of being Catalan novelists.