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You Will Not Be Born Again: Catalan Literature Now

April 2017

Image: Jordi Guillumet & Mònica Roselló, Ten Visions. Reading between Streets, photograph, 2004.
Image: Jordi Guillumet & Mònica RosellóTen Visions. Reading between Streets, photograph, 2004.

Our latest issue includes work from seven thrilling writers from Catalonia who explore both cosmopolitan Barcelona and the less familiar Catalonia of immigrants, of sleepy towns and painful betrayals, of haphazard alleyways and marginal lives, for a nuanced portrait of this complex region. Four of the seven writers are appearing in English translation for the first time.

In fiction, Pep Puig and Najat El Hachmi look at the hard realities imposed by family from two very different angles. Borja Bagunyà’s wild party brings Gatsby into the twenty-first century. Mercè Ibarz explores the mysterious origins of Alleyway S, a street whose myriad transformations mirror those of Barcelona, while Marta Rojals contributes an essay on the chronically underemployed. Finally, we present poetry from Francesc Garriga and this year’s Carles Riba Prize-winning poet Maria Cabrera. Guest editor Jordi Nopca’s introduction situates their work in the long, vibrant tradition of Catalan literature.


We gratefully acknowledge the collaboration of the Institut Ramon Llull.

A Literature on the Rise
By Jordi Nopca
Catalan literature’s survival has been hard-won in a context that remains unfavorable economically, socially, and politically.
Translated from Catalan by Megan Berkobien
ways of knowing and other poems
By Maria Cabrera
i know the fear in your eyes at dawn. and the crackle of flames, the hidden creaking of the woods, the madness of the birds beating paths in the air.
Translated from Catalan by Mary Ann Newman
You’ve Likely Never Been to a Party This Big
By Borja Bagunyà
In a house like this you imagined all the stories had happy endings.
Translated from Catalan by Scott Shanahan
We Could Have Studied Less
By Marta Rojals
We swallowed up everything they told us . . . We were the pride of our homes.
Translated from Catalan by Alicia Maria Meier
The Street
By Mercè Ibarz
On the street, in Alleyway S, the olive tree still grows.
Translated from Catalan by Martha Tennent
Two Poems
By Francesc Garriga
the voices of a body spent / venture new rhymes, / i can’t fathom what they mean to say
Translated from Catalan by Adrian Nathan West
The Foreign Daughter
By Najat El Hachmi
I’ve chosen a life where I should be illiterate like my mother.
Translated from Catalan by Peter Bush
My Uncle
By Pep Puig
That thing about the bikini would get the gang all riled up.
Translated from Catalan by María Cristina Hall