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Latin American Authors Still Rely on Publishers in Spain

Latin American authors who have built a following beyond their home countries have done so thanks to their contractual arrangements with Spanish publishers, a study released on Wednesday revealed.

Latin American literature “still needs to make the leap to Spain,” said Ana Gallego, a professor at the University of Granada who was involved in the study, titled “Letral: Trans-Atlantic Trends and Studies in Literature.”

Conducted by Spanish, Cuban and U.S. academics and promoted by the government of the southern Spanish region of Andalusia, the goal of the study was to “ascertain the differences between Latin American and Spanish authors in terms of their writing, the social, cultural and publishing context and the contemporary cultural milieu,” Gallego said.

Trans-Atlantic literary studies to date have dealt mainly with areas such as the rewriting of the colonial era, translations and the historical vanguards.

This latest study, however, covers new ground, including the circulation of literary texts from the perspective of the publishing market and the importance of epistolary writing as a vehicle for intellectual exchange between Latin Americans and Spaniards, she said.

The experts examined the publishing market from the 1960s, when the publishing of Mario Vargas Llosa’s works by Barcelona’s Seix Barral helped spark the first boom in Latin American literature, to the present.

The study also notes that the number of Latin American authors who are not only published in Spain but can live from their writing in that country has grown steadily since 2001.

“The Latin American literature circuit in most cases passes through Spain,” the professor said.

Referring to epistolary writing, the expert said that genre establishes a different type of communication pact, “a meaty link” between the works of writers on both sides of the Atlantic.

According to Gallego, these works serve “as a type of writing laboratory and a mode of intellectual exchange.”

The results of this research have been uploaded to the project’s Web site – – and can also be found in the pages of Revista Letral.