Monday, January 27, 2014

January escape: Colombia

One of the best things about my job is being able to travel the world and see literary events. I do this to see as many writers and as many different kinds of events that I can (even writers I don't particularly like: what is it about them that's engaging, I ask myself when I am in the midst of one of their events...) but it's also a great opportunity for me to meet other Festival directors to discuss future collaborations, promoting Quebec literature in other countries, meeting publishing and literary professionals from around the world.

I almost never leave at this time because it's an extremely busy time of year, but due to the success of our Premio Metropolis Azul for Spanish-language writing, I decided I really needed to visit the Hay Festival in Cartagena, Colombia. In its 9th year, the Festival lineup this year looks incredible: from David Foenkinos and Virginie Despentes to Cees Noteboom from Ricardo Piglia and Gael Garcia Bernal to Irvine Welsh. It's going to be such a great week! And a great opportunity to meeting movers and shakers in the Latin world: Argentine film festival directors, Chilean writers, Mexican bookfair organizers, etc.

On the way, I'm making a stopover in New York to see a show at the 92nd Street Y (whenever I visit NYC, I have to see something here or at Symphony Space). And one of my favorite noodle shops in Hells Kitchen.

The hardest part is knowing how to pack for a trip like this: minus 11 in Montreal, 2 in NYC and 32 in Cartagena. I need casual, dressy, cold weather, hot weather, winter boots and nice shoes.

I'll be updating when I can (one can never predict internet access or reliability in certain regions of Latin America)...

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