Matadero Madrid center for contemporary creation

Enrique Vila-Matas in conversation with Sonia Fernández Pan

March 24

Friday, 20:30h



Casa del Lector
Auditorio Casa del Lector

A tragic lack of seriousness

Enrique Vila-Matas’ work continually defies the classifications that are so common in literature. Erasing the boundaries between fiction, essay and biography, his literary corpus is an artistic construction in constant evolution that draws on his life experiences, his adventures as a reader and indeed also as a writer (he introduces the greatest possible freedom in writing by “boldly venturing”. “For freedom, as well as for honour, one can and should risk one’s life”) and a provocative and playful attitude that give rise to a bold, metaliterary narrative. When discussing his A Brief History of Portable Literature (Historia abreviada de la literatura portátil) (Anagrama, 1985), Ignacio Martínez de Pisón defined him thus: “His early work can now be considered with the benefit of hindsight. Much of his later literature is already heralded in these barely a hundred or so pages: his aversion to the most staid forms of the novelistic tradition, his to-ing and fro-ing between life and literature, his disdain for the psychologism of realist narrative, a cultural genealogy that draws from the avant-garde, a distinguished flâneur attitude... His extremely serious humour was already apparent in that book: Vila-Matas introduced himself as a literary Buster Keaton". He arouses international admiration, and his originality is acknowledged by his contemporaries. As Emmanuel Carrère puts it: “There is something in Houellebecq, and in Vila-Matas and Roberto Bolaño, that reminds me of how Philip K. Dick acquitted himself in the world, and it is something entirely his own, unique, brilliant”.

Enrique Vila-Matas (Barcelona 1948) is one of the most well-known, prestigious and original writers that Spain has produced in recent decades. His works, which successfully span different genres in which his distinctive and incomparable style is always to the fore, have been translated into 37 languages and have received numerous awards such as the Médicis-Étranger, the Rómulo Gallegos, the City of Barcelona, the Prix du Meilleur Livre Étranger, the Herralde, the National Critics' Prize, the Chilean Critics' Circle Prize, the Ennio International Prize, the Formentor Prize for Literature and Literature, FIL 2015, the National Culture Prize of the Catalan Government 2016, the Von Rezzori Prize 2012, the Ulysse Prize 2016. He is also a Knight of the French Legion of Honour. His latest novel is the acclaimed Montevideo (Seix Barral, 2022).

Sonia Fernández Pan writes, undertakes (in)dependent curatorial projects and produces podcasts. Friendly conversation, desire and entropy are part and parcel of her research methodology. The editor of several books, she has recently published Edit with Caniche Editorial: a compilation of continually re-edited texts in which one gesture picks up from the previous one and anticipates the next one to establish an analogy between writing and the dance floor. An altogether erratic reader since she was a child, she writes intermittently yet continuously thanks to different artistic impulses.

Enrique Vila-Matas (c) Outomuro
Main Festival Collaborator
Magnetic loop

Magnetic loop

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Sign language

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Reduced mobility

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