Sunday, February 12, 2006

Carlos Fuentes in South Africa

The University of the Witwatersrand’s School of Literature and Language Studies is pleased to announce that the second Nadine Gordimer Lecture will be given by the distinguished Mexican writer and public intellectual, Carlos Fuentes.

Born in Panama in 1928, Fuentes has spent parts of his life in the United States, Switzerland, Chile, Argentina and France. Since the age of 16, when he went to study law at the National Autonomous University, he has adopted Mexico as his home country. A diplomat and public intellectual who speaks and writes with immense authority and range especially on Latin American history and cultural affairs, Fuentes has won major awards in Europe and Latin America, notably the National Prize for Literature in Mexico and the Miguel Cervantes Prize. Much of his early work, in novels such as 'The Death of Artemio Cruz', was concerned with Mexican national identity.

More recently, he said the following: "There are now 30-year old Mexican writers who do great novels in which Mexico isn’t even mentioned...You have an absolute freedom in Mexican writing today in which you don’t necessarily have to deal with Mexican identity. You know why? Because we have an identity...We know who we are. We know what it means to be a Mexican. Now the problem is to discover difference - not identity but difference: sexual difference, religious difference, political difference, moral differences, aesthetical differences..."

Gordimer has said of Fuentes: "He has brought up in his grasp with the rubble and uncut gems, the confusion of our human existence, something of the truth. And he has achieved the imaginative maturity of the intellect by which he has been able to give us, through his art, a share of the truth. That is all a writer can do."

More information here

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