The new Government of Peru generates controversy by modifying its official delegation to FIL Guadalajara | Culture


International book fair of the city of Guadalajara in December 2019.
International book fair of the city of Guadalajara in December 2019.Hector Guerrero

The Government of Pedro Castillo came to power without the capital’s vote and with the majority preference of the citizens of regions and native peoples. Therefore, in his first interview with a newspaper at the end of August, the Minister of Culture, Ciro Gálvez, a Quechua-speaking lawyer, said that he would review the list of the official delegation to FIL Guadalajara, the most important fair in Latin America. , to include intellectuals from some of the “55 different cultures” that exist in Peru. The 60 names of the country invited of honor to FIL had been made public before the change of government, on July 27, by the outgoing minister of culture, Alejandro Neyra, and the director of FIL, Marisol Schulz. The new list, released this Wednesday, has caused discomfort among the writers who were called off, and among those included: seven of these have withdrawn in protest to the changes in the list.

The writers with the highest profile excluded from the Peruvian delegation are the narrators Katya Adaui, Karina Pacheco and Gabriela Wiener, recognized for their work and for their feminist positions. All three have published books this year. Historian Carmen McEvoy was also excluded from the invitation.

In a statement, the Ministry of Culture announced on Wednesday that it was expanding the number of members of the delegation for the main Latin American publishing event, “in order to have a greater diversity of authors from the regions.”

In the previous list, a third of those included represented the regions outside of Lima; In the new list of 69 people, 33 were born outside the capital. In the delegation announced in July there was almost gender parity: 33 men and 30 women; in the new one there are three more women, but after removing four women and three men: the narrators Renato Cisneros, Cronwell Jara and Jorge Eslava.

The Ministry of Culture mentioned Wednesday as another of the exclusion criteria “the participation of some writers in international book fairs in recent years.” Asked by this newspaper, the entity reported that it rejected the participation of authors who made up the official Peruvian delegation in 2018 at the Santiago Book Fair (Filsa).

However, Adaui suspects that she and Wiener, Pacheco, have been excluded for being “uncomfortable writers because of their feminism.” Gabriela, Karina and I are politically committed to a country project that also includes and celebrates diversity in writing. Males are not replaced; to women yes, with others. In the item called ‘writing’ on the list, out of 45 guests, only 18 are women “, notes the author of the storybook Geography of darkness, published by Foam Pages.

Adaui recalls that in his speech this week at the United Nations, President Pedro Castillo said that women matter. But “how are we thinking about Peruvian literature in the face of the Bicentennial – which is why Peru is the guest of honor – if it starts from the premise of an inclusion that excludes?”

“To a certain extent, by excluding ourselves, there is an attempt at censorship or an attempt to make our work invisible, as female authors,” agreed Pacheco, who has just published her new novel The year of the wind and she is the most important narrator in Cusco.

The writer and also director of the Ceques publishing house, Pacheco, explained that the Government’s decision to modify the official delegation reflects a basic ignorance of the operation of an international book fair, since “they harm internal and external organizers, since many of us were scheduled not only for activities at the headquarters, but in colleges or universities. In addition, they disorganize the thematically planned tables ”.

When the Ministry of Culture was consulted about the impasse that it is causing the FIL, it responded that it is “adjusting the programming of activities in order to incorporate the new members of the delegation. The University of Guadalajara is already aware of the modification ”.

“What we need is a long-term and decentralized cultural and editorial policy, so that when we have to make a list of representative writers from all over the country, we are not improvising and we have different possibilities. Cultural and educational policy is not improvised, and support for publishers is required ”, stated Grecia Cáceres, a Peruvian writer living in Paris who has participated in official delegations at previous fairs.

Rejection and resignation

After noon on Thursday, nine authors had already declined to participate. The first was the narrator Juan Carlos Cortázar. “Beyond the details, the clumsy and simplistic way in which the current ministerial management of the Ministry intends to guide cultural policies is becoming increasingly clear. If like this, in such a non-transparent way and without criteria on the table, they exclude such relevant people from the national literary endeavor, I tremble to think how more complex things will be handled. I don’t feel comfortable in a delegation like this. Furthermore, I do not feel comfortable with the mistreatment of writers that I read. Let someone else occupy the space “, said on Facebook the author of the novel As if they were afraid of us.

The poet and editor Victoria Guerrero, 2020 National Literature Prize winner, highlighted the confusion of the exclusion criteria and the lack of seriousness with those who had already been publicly presented as official guests two months ago. “If one reviews the list, the criterion that they have already been to international fairs is not met,” the author told this newspaper, who was not called off but has resigned from participating in FIL.

Additionally, the author of children’s literature Micaela Chirif, the narrators Gustavo Rodríguez, Alonso Cueto and Rafael Dummet, and the playwright Mariana de Althaus have resigned from the official delegation. The journalist Nelly Luna resigned from the official delegation in August, after Minister Gálvez reported that he would review the list to avoid having only representatives “of the aristocracy” and socioeconomic sectors A and B. At the end of Thursday the author resigned. non-fiction Teresina Muñoz-Nájar and journalist Joseph Zárate.

Gálvez’s management in the Culture sector has received other criticism because he has not yet named replacements for the vice minister of Interculturality, the director of the National Library and the president of the state media.

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