Spanish language magazine launches in London
This month sees the launch of a new Spanish-language literary magazine in London – Alba Londres.
The magazine, put together by a small team of volunteers, is the third version of Alba Revista, with previous editions having launched in Paris and Beijing.
Vida London caught up with Catalan-born poet Jessica Pujol, editor of Alba Londres, for an insight into the magazine’s plans.
“We want to publish two magazines a year, about 100 pages. It’s like a journal,” she explained. “It’s about the intercultural relations between Latin America, England and Spain, between the Spanish language and the English language.”
The magazine is aiming for a blend of poetry, short stories and articles that pursue modern themes and are crafted by a new generation of writers. This includes work by writers that may have been published elsewhere but hasn’t been seen by a wide audience. “This is what we like most – unpublished work and translations that haven’t been done before,” Jessica said.
“It’s about the intercultural relations between Latin America, England and Spain”
Among the 13 writers appearing in the first edition of Alba Londres are Chilean poet and filmmaker Alfonso Grez; Barcelona-born writer David Roas; Dublin-based poet Roisin Keane; and Tila Rodríguez-Past, a Mexican-American-English multidisciplinary artist.
Another highlight of the first issue is a comic-book adaptation of Borges’ Dreamtigers by Rebecca Dyer, a freelance illustrator from Brighton. Dyer is behind the acclaimed cartoon blog Being and Tim, which has been described as “like Calvin and Hobbes but more pretentious” and, in the words of Nick Cave, “very moving”.
Alba Londres will be available from the website, which will contain highlights of the magazine. “The goal in the long term is to have one website where you can have the three Albas: one in Beijing, one in Paris and one in London,” Jessica said.
The print run will be several hundred copies and retail at a very reasonable £5. “We’re negotiating because at the start we wanted it really low,” Jessica said.
At least initially, Alba Londres is being supported by its Paris sister mag, and has no sponsorship.
“To ask for money from the government or cultural entities, you have to have an organisation, an entity,” Jessica explained. “If it sells, if people respond, if there is a positive atmosphere, we’ll put more effort into creating an organisation and asking for sponsorship.”
For now, the fledgling magazine won’t carry adverts. “At the start it’s always clean, and then you go putting in adverts, and it’s not the same,” Jessica said. “You have to start with the minimum and put in adverts that are related to the theme.”
Jessica is currently working on a PhD in literature at UCL. Born in Mataró, near Barcelona, she writes poetry in Catalan and has been working on a series of poems for the last year – the same length of time it has taken to bring Alba Londres together.
Jessica’s academic focus is on Argentinean writer Julio Cortázar (1914-1984), best known for his experimental 1963 novel Hopscotch. Alba Londres is not Jessica’s first magazine – she also ran the literary magazine Cronopis in Barcelona for several years (the title of which was inspired by another Cortázar book).
Jessica has been in the UK for three and a half years, and offers a philosophical view on her home country. “At the beginning I missed Spain. [But] I changed and I started thinking, I’m not here, I’m not there. I’m in the two places. When you understand that it, it changes a lot.
“I go four times a year and if I want, I can go tomorrow. I’m not in California, I’m two hours away. It can take as long to get from South London to North London as it takes to go to Spain! It’s not a big deal now.”
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