Madrid's LIBER 99

by Adán Griego

WESS Newsletter

Spring 2000, Vol. 23, no. 2

Association of College & Research Libraries
© American Library Association

In October of 1999 several WESS Members (Everette Larson from Library of Congress; Jeffry Larson from Yale; Eudora Loh from UCLA and Adán Griego from Stanford) were part of a group of 12 US librarians invited by the Federación de Gremios de Editores de España ( to attend LIBER 99. The book fair, similar to Book Expo (formerly ABA) alternates between Madrid and Barcelona every year. Argentina was the featured country this year.

LIBER is not open to the public, but rather to "profesionales del libro." And like most book fairs, the big publishers command the largest and most visible stands.

Grupo Planeta
(Planeta, Seix Barral, Ariel, Destino and Espasa Calpe)

Grupo Berteslman
(Plaza y Janes, Círculo de Lectores, Debate, Galaxia Gutemberg and Lumen)

Grupo Anaya
(Alianza, Cátedra, Siruela)

Grupo Santillana:
(Alfaguara, Taurus, and El País Aguilar)

The two large independent publishers are Tusquets and Anagrama (, founded in 1969. They have consistently published works of high quality, both in translation and original writings of Latin American and Peninsular authors.

The competition between the conglomerates went beyond the walls of the exhibit halls. As is customary in books fairs, several "presentaciones" of books were scheduled. The Real Academia de la Lengua gathered in the small Castillian town of San Millán de la Cogolla (site of the millenary discovery of the glosas emilianenses, considered to be the first written document in Spanish) to unveil its Ortografía de la lengua española (Espasa Calpe). Not to be left behind, Santillana "presented" its Diccionario del español actual, a major reference work 30 years in the making with 4,600 pages and 75,000 entries in two volumes.

Treasures were discovered both in and out of LIBER. Inside we found an aisle devoted completely to the different Ministries as well as regional state publishing. The Junta de Andalucía and its Asociación de Editores ( 500pp. catalog was just a reminder of how much more needs to be covered in our collections. Another interesting discovery was a directory of Spanish publications Indice: directorio nacional de publicaciones. (see annotation in the new publications of note column by Jeffry Larson)

Outside LIBER, the book adventures continued as Jeffry Larson and I visited three other bookstores. We started at the Chueca section, once a drug and prostitution hangout, now a vibrant neighborhood that has been revitalized by Madrid's gay community. At Berkana (, the store's manager gave us a history of GLQ publishing in Spain. Among the titles we saw were those published by Editorial Laertes and Editorial Gay Lesbiana (EAGLES), both of which publish translations and original works in Spanish. We found the men's monthly Zero (see below) and a very recent lesbian publication Nosotras (see below). The latter appeared to have gone totally mainstream with an ad in the Sunday magazine of El País announcing its 5th issue.

Next we visited Visor, located by the Universidad Complutense. Visor is perhaps the largest and best known publisher of poetry in the Spanish language, its output includes not only translations but also works of both Latin American and Peninsular poets. We found a few samples of literary/cultural journals, which we supplemented at our last stop of the day at the Antonio Machado bookshop. It was at the latter that we found the richest selection of serials, some of which do not appear in the Catálogo de Revistas Culturales de España (*

Newspaper publishing has always been an interesting phenomenon in Spain. On the one hand there are the "no one reads anymore" clamors and yet a place like Madrid can boast several dailies. In 1997, ABC, the oldest daily (1903) in Spain ( saw part of its editorial staff leave to start La Razón, ( calling it a "diario independiente de información general." At first, there were claims of the new daily having a circulation of 500,000. And with the literary supplement El Cultural produced in non-newsprint paper it became the latest intellectual chic. With the literary supplements of Madrid's competing dailies published on Saturdays, (ABC Cultural and Babelia of El País), the new publication seemed assured of dominating Sundays. Two years later La Razón saw its cultural supplement go away to another competing daily, El Mundo ( Now in its 12th year the latter looks and feels very much like El País (, but with a circulation of about 285,000, it is still no match. El País now has editions published in Mexico and Buenos Aires and seems to have eliminated its onion-skin paper international edition. It is in turn part of the Santillana conglomerate and owns the bookstore chain Crisol (

One of the activities planned around LIBER was a panel discussion on "El futuro habla español" with Mexican writer Carlos Fuentes and Argentine author Tomás Eloy Martínez, joined by the president of the Real Academia de la Lengua. But at last minute Fuentes was not able to attend, much to the disappointment of the audience but the author of Santa Evita gave an eloquent speech on why the future speaks Spanish, even in the United States, where "el sonido sajón está iluminado con el sentido trabaja en inglés, pero se come en castellano...el lenguaje de la vida íntima, de la vida secreta..."

Although US movies are ever present, just like all over Latin America. Unlike other Spanish speaking countries, Spain enjoys a more vibrant film industry that goes beyond Almodovar, much of which is not shown in the United States except for the film festival circuit. Of the 50 or so films being shown, about 25% were either domestic or joint productions. Veteran actor and writer Fernando Fernan Gomez gave a stellar performance in El lenguaje de las mariposas in his role as a rural school teacher at the start of the Civil War; Solas presented the story of a young woman who left a suffocating small town only to experience the harshness of city life; director Bigas Luna (Jamon, Jamon, 1998) ventured into the 18th century in its portrayal of the love affair of Goya and the Duchess of Alba in Volaverunt. And, of course, Almodovar's Todo sobre mi madre, having just won at Cannes, was also in the "cartelera."

N.B. On a subsequent visit in February of 2000, I made my way to the Cineteca Nacional's small book store where I found the complete set of Agr (see below); a history of the Goyas (Spanish Oscars) and several other film publications (catalogs of film festivals) that do not seem to be covered via the usual vendor distribution channels.

*Selected list of recent serials not in the Catalogo de Revistas Culturales de España. None have RLIN or OCLC holdings, unless noted.

Agr: coleccionista de cine. (#1 diciembre 1999).
Avda. Castilla La Mancah, 119 posterior 28700 SS de los Reyes Madrid.
ISSN: 1139-9635.
3,000 pesetas per issue.
Includes text and rich illustrations (mostly) in color of film history (domestic and foreign) in Spain. Notes that it can be bought at newsstand but the limited printing (3000) makes it more of a collector's item. Four issues published so far.

Acotaciones: revista de investigación teatral (#2, enero-junio 1999).
Editorial Fundamentos, Caracas 15-3 ctro. Drcha. 28010 Madrid.
ISSN: 1130 7269. RLIN: LC and NYPL.
2,000 pesetas per year.
Published twice a year by the Real Escuela Superior de Arte Dramático. In its "2a época," this issue contains 175 pages devoted to Spanish theater; includes abstracts in English.

La alegría de los naufragios:revista de poesía. (#1&2, 1999).
Calle Murcia 24 Bajo. 28045 Madrid.
ISBN: 84-8374-069-9.
$US68 per year.
Published by Huerga y Fierro Editores. The 233 pages include not only essays on poetry but also selections from a variety of well known contemporary poets. There are a few translations with biographical information. Also includes black/white illustrations.

Condados de niebla: revista de literatura, (#19-20, 1999).
Gran Via, s/n. 21003 Huelva. ISSN: 0214-6681. RLIN: only vendor acquisitions record.
[No price information but I paid 1,500 pesetas.]
Published by the cultural office of Huelva's regional government. Already on its 15th year. It is not only a creative writing venue (poetry) but also includes essays on Lorca and Haikus in Spanish. Rich in colorful illustrations and a few facsimile inserts.

Contrastes: revista cultural. (#7, diciembre-enero 1999-2000).
Asociacion Contrastes Revista Cultural Uruguay 1 pta. 6 Valencia 46007.
ISSN: 971139568006.
This profusely illustrated little magazine looks and feels like Grand Street, with articles on flamenco, film (Hitchcock and Bogart); performance art and Borges. At the end of very section there is "recommended" work/piece with an extensive review as well as a calendar of cultural events. Even an add for RENFE, the state owned train, is very artistically done.

La ilustración liberal: revista española y americana. (vol 1, #4, octubre-noviembre 1999).
Gran Via 6, Oficina 602 28013 Madrid.
ISSN: 1139-8051.
12,000 pesetas per year.
Social science journal, special issue devoted to Cuba. Also includes an article on the legal rights of homosexuals and an open letter from colorful Venezuelan president to its Supreme Court.

La modificación: revista mensual de información. (#1, noviembre 1998-#10 septiembere 1999).
C/Conde de Aranda, 3-4th Madrid 28001.
10,700 pesetas per year. or
Cultural monthly richly illustrated, covers film/literature/theater /music/ arts. Includes an interactive section "el lector participa" where readers submit their essays or creative writing. Articles cover wide range of contemporary culture not only Spain but throughout the world.

Microfisuras: cadernos de pensamiento e creacion (#9, outono 1999).
Apartado 756, E-362000 Vigo.
ISSN: 1137-747 X.
9,000 pesetas per year.
Quarterly publication covering cultural criticism in social sciences and humanities. Articles are in both Spanish and Galician. There are also translations into Galician of creative writings by both Spanish and non-Spanish authors. Some issues devoted to special topics: "la cuestión oriental," "las fronteras."

Pasajes: revista de pensamiento contemporaneo (#1, septiembre-diciembre 1999).
Arts Grafiques 13 460010 Valencia.
ISSN: 1575-2259.
4,000 pesetas per year.
Published by the Universitat de Valencia, this new publication aims for wide coverage in arts, humanities and social sciences. Cover story on "usos politicos del pasado" includes several articles on the holocaust, supplemented with b/white illustrations, with a book review section.

Nosotras: revista lesbiana. (#3, septiembre 1999).
Ediciones Mairi S.L. Unipersonal Apdo. 031 48600 Sopelana-Bizkaina.
6,500 pesetas per year.
Bimonthly lesbian publication. Includes cultural news (interviews, book and film reviews) and coverage of political and social topics. Very good quality paper, richly illustrated in color and black/white.

Renacimiento: revista de literatura. (#23-24, verano 1999).
C/Mateos Gago, 27 41004 Sevilla.
No ISSN. RLIN: listed as vendor record only.
1,500 pesetas per issue.
Published quarterly (and irregularly) by Editorial Renacimiento, this literary journal includes creative writing, essays and book reviews. The prologue to this issue notes that it's a philanthropic enterprise of the publisher, unlike many other literary journals that end up "marrying" official sponsorship. It would rather continue as independent and "assume the risks of single life."

Rosa cúbica: revista de poesía. (#19/20, invierno-primavera 1999).
Passeig de San Jon. Pral 2a. 08010 Barcelona.
ISSN: 1133-2131. RLIN: Harvard, LC and UC-Santa Barbara (one issue only); OCLC: University of Cincinnati.
2,500 pesetas per year.
Quarterly publication started in 1987 sometimes with double/triple issues, 10 have been published. There is a summary of the TOC of all past issues, some of which are already out of print. Poems and articles are from (and about) Spanish-speaking authors as well as translations. Very good quality paper with black/white illustrations.

Zero: la primera revista gay de información y estilos de vida en español. (issue #11, 1999).
Pa. Sa. Ma. Sol. Torres Acosta, 2 28004 Madrid.
ISSN: 1575-0566.
US$5 per issue.
Gay men's monthly magazine. Covers news of interest to Spain's gay community. Very much like similar publications in the United States (Advocate and Out). Web site under construction.

Adán Griego
Bibliographer for Latin American & Iberian Collections
Stanford University

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