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Award-Winning Chilean Author Alejandro Zambra To Begin Phoenix Residency

Written by Ofelia Montelongo Category: Literary Issue: September 2017
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Alejandro ZambraAward winning Chilean author Alejandro Zambra begins his literary residency in Phoenix next week.

Presented by CALA Alliance (Celebración Artística de las Américas) in partnership with Changing Hands Bookstore, Palabras Bilingual Bookstore, and Cardboard House Press, the Bonsái author will participate in a series of free literary events in the Valley including a bilingual workshop at Palabras Bilingual Bookstore, a visit to Arizona State University and a lecture and book reading at Changing Hands Bookstore. (Event details below.)

Zambra represents a new age in the Latin American literature. The New Yorker named him the Latin America’s New Literary Star. In 2010, he was named one of Granta’s Best Young Spanish-Language Novelists.

The acclaimed writer has been considered the next Roberto Bolaño (Chilean novelist posthumously awarded the National Book Critics Circle Award and called “the most significant Latin American literary voice of his generation by the New York Times) and his works have been published in the New Yorker, Paris Review, Harper’s and Tin House, among others. His internationally celebrated novels, filled with originality and humorist satire, have been translated into more than ten different languages.

Often, his stories explore his upbringing in the authoritarian Chile of the ‘80s, creating genuine storytelling with authentic and relatable characters.

Zambra’s visit is CALA Alliance’s first literary residency, which the organization anticipates being a positive inspiration for the local bilingual community. “The impact for the community will be the celebration of bilingual spaces in a very deliberate way,” says Casandra Hernández Faham, Executive Director of CALA Alliance, a Phoenix-based non-profit that creates shared art experiences to increase cultural understanding between people of the Americas. “We want to connect writers who write in Spanish with other authors.”

Among other Hernández’s objectives is to create bilingual spaces where literature in Spanish is celebrated. She believes Zambra’s stories of community resonate with our state’s current society and political environment and it will create a dialogue among the participants of the events.

“[Zambra] is someone who meditates profoundly in terms of a psychological and emotional spaces that people inhabit under authoritarian rule and difficult political circumstances,” says Hernández. “I think the deep exploration presented in his books has an interesting connection with the moment we are living right now.”

The author will be sharing his knowledge and innovative thinking throughout the following events:

“How to Forget How to Write Fiction: Taller Bilingüe” – October 3-5
This three-day bilingual workshop invites 12 writers to learn from Zambra about the ways in which he reinvents fiction by breaking conventions of writing. Palabras Bilingual Bookstore, 1738 E McDowell Rd., Phoenix, calaalliance.org/calendar/zambraworkshop.

Alejandro Zambra visita ASU – hablando sobre ficcion – October 5
The author discusses his work in this free event, open to the public.
Noon-1 p.m.
ASU, Tempe Campus, Room COOR, asuevents.asu.edu.

Changing Hands Reading – October 5
Zambra caps off his visit with a bilingual reading and lecture at the Downtown Changing Hands Bookstore. He’ll read from his acclaimed novels Multiple Choice, Bonsai, The Private Lives of Trees, Ways of Going Home, and My Documents.
7 p.m.
Changing Hands Phoenix, 300 West Camelback, Rd., Phoenix, changinghands.com