Book reviews, Culture

Authors for Ciudad Juarez

For a city in conflict like this one in Chihuahua, Mexico, culture is a tool that plays a fundamental role in fighting the terror instilled by the ongoing violence. Its literary festival will take place from the 30th of August to the 2nd of September this year.

Eduardo Estala Rojas

The published work that is created by the literary group Authors of Ciudad Juarez, has earnt international support from various cultural and artistic communities from three different continents. It is a union of citizens, authors and readers who have one common purpose: “To make sure people have access to literature, that young people know the authors of their city and motivate them to read and write.”

Thus expressed Edgar Rincon Luna, the poet and graphic designer who then added, “Authors complain about the lack of readers, and we dedicate ourselves to finding them, and also to find new creators. To support them from the start will help us, as well as Ciudad Juarez, in developing better literature.”

Road Map

Rincon Luna confirms that, as a member of the Organizing Committee, he writes some letters or notes, takes part in the planning of the 2nd Meeting of Ciudad Juarez, and also gets in touch with the authors he is interested in taking part in the event.

He also co-edits, designs and produces the company Road Map, along with his wife and children, and they distribute these freely on the public transport of Ciudad Juarez. In the same way, Rincon Luna coordinates the literary workshop in the 12th federal district.

In Poorer Areas

“One has to keep in mind that, due to the terror instilled by this war since the end of 2007, the borders lost our public spaces and gave up the city to crime,” comments the journalist and writer Antonio Flores Schroeder.

“Ciudad Juarez,” he adds, “remained culturally neglected, so the spaces dedicated to artistic circulation were left practically nullified. Before this situation, the movement designed, amongst its main objectives, the reactivation of the promotion, creation and placement of as much the artists as the doomed spaces for this end.”

“The participation of the Authors of Ciudad Juarez in both socially and economically-poorer areas, has been important in the past few months, above all in the surrounding districts where violence is commonplace. There we made sure that many students became interested in reading and writing”, remarked the journalist.

Flores Schroeder forms part of the Organising Committee of the 2nd Meeting of writers of Ciudad Juarez. His role consists of gaining support for the meeting: sponsorship from hotels, restaurants, establishments and governments.

Along with Edgar Rincon Luna and Yuvia Chairez, he submits the selection of writers that will take part in the literary festival, which takes place from the 30th of August to the 2nd of September this year.

Antonio Flores Schroeder is responsible for circulating the project and is the link to the media for Authors of Ciudad Juarez. He also coordinates the Operating Committee, which is in charge of doing readings at schools.

Citizen Participation

“Throughout society there are authors, the artists who take charge in rescuing the social fibres of a community. We try to give a voice to all those who since their literary creation call for a structural changes which will resolve a city’s call for help like ours,” adds the writer Yuvia Chairez.

Chairez maintains the blog and web page of Authors of Ciudad Juarez. On a par, she works with the contacts from the private schools: at primary, preparatory and secondary levels, where they do readings and events. She is a co-founder of the literary workshop La Batea.

International Project

For his part, the editor and poet Uberto Stabile signals that in “a city in conflict, like Ciudad Juarez, culture is a tool that plays a fundamental role in fighting the terror instilled by the ongoing violence.”

“All violent acts,” he explains, “are destined for physical and moral destruction, as much for the individual as the social group. Culture permits awareness and the development of attitudes that reform public and social life, such as the self-esteem of the citizen. The work which is developed by the Authors of Ciudad Juarez goes much further than literary fact; it allows them to make out the light of a new horizon of coexistence from the holes which the bullets leave behind in our collective conscience.”

Stabile will collaborate on the project Authors of Ciudad Juarez “creating an international network which, in the form of an earthquake, triggers replicas of the activity of the Authors of Juarez throughout the rest of the world.”

His job is to coordinate the simultaneous readings that will take place on the 1st of September in, up to now a total of 111 cities in 21 countries and 3 continents, whose epicentre will be Ciudad Juarez.

The writers that have confirmed their participation at the 2nd Meeting of the Authors of Ciudad Juarez are Guillermo Samperio, Alberto Chimal, Edgar Clement, Claudia Guillen, Rafa Saavedra, Ricardo Pelaez Goycochea, Daniel Espartaco, Augusto Mora, Uberto Stabile, Elman Trevino.

In Spain

Months after being in Mexico, the Authors of Ciudad Juarez will travel to Spain.

A presentation of the project of this group, with the brand of the XXII International Meeting of Independent Editors (EDITA), will take place on the 4th and 5th of May 2012, which will be celebrated in Punta Umbria, Huelva.

*Eduardo Estala Rojas:

(Translated by Sabrina Chapman)

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