The news conference to announce this year’s BCNegra provided some clues about the focus of this year’s edition of Barcelona’s annual literary festival dedicated to noir and crime fiction. The venue for the event in the city’s historic Born neighbourhood was half-hidden amid dim alleyways in a clandestine atmosphere reminiscent of the prohibition era of the United States.
Inside, Barcelona’s councillor of culture, Xavier Marcé, was present alongside the writer Carlos Zanón, who in 2017 took over curation of the literary festival from the event’s founder, Paco Camarasa, whose memory Marcé paid tribute to before going on to summarise this year’s 19th edition.
The councillor explained that there will be some 50 activities this year with the participation of 153 writers taking part in round tables and discussions, alongside film screenings, itineraries, reading clubs, and even a literary cabaret paying tribute to French novelist Boris Vian, written and performed by Lluís-Anton Baulenas.
The venues in the city hosting most of these activities will be the legendary La Paloma dance hall, the Jaume Fuster library and the Mooby Bosque and Filmoteca de Catalunya cinemas, although there will be other events and parallel activities taking place in various community centres, libraries and cultural venues around the city.
The first thing Zanón did at the conference was to announce this year’s winner of the festival’s Pepe Carvalho Lifetime Achievement Award, which will go to the popular Norwegian author, Jo Nesbo, a former economist who has published 30 books, 13 of which feature his unorthodox detective, Harry Hole. If that wasn’t enough, Nesbo is also a musician who tours every summer with his band, Di Derre.
“He richly deserves this award both for the Harry Hole series and for the stand alone novels. This award goes to the author, but it is also a tribute to Nordic detective literature, which has provided the genre with so much vitality,” said Zanón. Nesbo will receive the award at a ceremony in the city hall on February 8 at 6 pm. The following day, the Nordic writer will be in conversation with the journalist Xavier Bundó, which will be followed by a screening of the film The Snowman (2017), directed by Tomas Alfredson and based on a book by Nesbo.
Explaining why espionage and the world of spies was chosen as the focus for this year’s edition, Zanón commented: “Through what we post on social media and the monitoring of our online consumption, we have lost a level of privacy that we would have fought for just a few decades ago. New technology has made it possible for all of us to be spied on and for all of us to easily become spies.”
Many of the authors taking part are international and include such names as Alan Parks, Kike Ferrari, Alicia Giménez Bartlett, Andreu Martín, Eduardo Mendoza, Rosa Ribas, Toni Hill, Rosa Montero, Bernard Minier, Marc Pastor, Carles Porta, Chris Offut, Empar Fernández, Maribel Torres, Silvestre Vilaplana, Damià del Clot, Tuli Márquez, Xavier Aliaga, Aro Sáinz de la Maza, Anna Maria Villalonga and Àlex Martín.