Benengeli 2023, International Week of Literature in Spanish, is a festival that promotes literature in Spanish and is held at the Instituto Cervantes in Sydney, Tokyo, Manila, Brussels, Toulouse, Manchester, Tangier and Los Angeles.
Thomas Nulley-Valdés, lecturer in Spanish Studies at the ANU School of Literature, Languages and Linguistics (SLLL), said the name of the festival has been taken from a metafictional gesture at the heart of Miguel de Cervantes’ Don Quixote.
“Miguel de Cervantes, the author and narrator in Don Quixote, invents a fictional Muslim historian called Benengeli, who Cervantes credits as the original writer of the manuscripts detailing Don Quixote’s adventures. Similar quixotic themes exist in the work of Adolfo García Ortega, such as a focus on the relationship between fiction and history, and the blurring of the lines between author and narrator,” he said.
Spanish author, translator and editor Adolfo García Ortega interacted with members of The Australian National University (ANU) and the general public as part of the International Week of Literature in Spanish that was held as part of the Benengeli 2023 Festival on 19 May 2023.
During his interaction, Mr Ortega read excerpts from the novel The Birthday Buyer, his first novel that was translated from Spanish to English. “I believe that a writer writes because the novel chooses him not because he chooses to write the novel,” he said.
The visit of Mr Ortega to ANU was hosted by the Instituto Cervantes in collaboration with the Embassy of Spain and the universities of La Trobe, Monash, RMIT, and ANU. The event at ANU was held in collaboration with the Embassy of Spain in Australia and the School of Literature, Language and Linguistics.
“Events like this are great for our students and scholars, and really put ANU Spanish Studies on the map with the local community and internationally,” Thomas Nulley-Valdés said.