Institut Ramon LLull

The 42nd Toronto International Festival of Authors features Eva Baltasar in conversation with Fernanda Trías

Literature.  Toronto, 24/09/2021

Two of the world’s most buzzworthy writers come together to discuss their first books to be translated into English, with interviewer Martha Batiz. Eva Baltasar, the #1 Catalan bestseller, introduces us to a bold lesbian narrator in Permafrost (translated to English by Julia Sanches), whose need for change sparks a journey across western Europe, dotted with lively inhibitions and hilarious observations. 

Uruguayan writer Fernanda Trías, one of the women writers forming the ”new Latin American Boom”, presents The Rooftop (translated to English by Annie McDermott). The story follows a woman who chooses to live closed off to the world, in a rundown apartment building, with only her rooftop as her recess to the world around her. Both books powerfully describe the desperate struggle between freedom and solitude through two very different female experiences.

Eva Baltasar has published ten volumes of poetry to widespread acclaim. Her debut novel, Permafrost, received the 2018 Premi Llibreter from Catalan booksellers and was shortlisted for France's 2020 Prix Médicis for Best Foreign Novel. It is the first novel in a triptych in which Baltasar aims to explore the universes of three different women in the first person. The author lives a simple life with her wife and two daughters in a village near the mountains.

Permafrost, translated from the Catalan by Julia Sanches, was published by And Other StoriesPermafrost’s no-bullshit lesbian narrator is an uninhibited lover and a wickedly funny observer of modern life. Desperate to get out of Barcelona, she goes to Brussels, ‘because a city whose symbol is a little boy pissing was a city I knew I would like’; as an au pair in Scotland, she develops a hatred of the colour green. And everywhere she goes, she tries to break out of the roles set for her by family and society, chasing escape wherever it can be found: love affairs, travel, thoughts of suicide.

Full of powerful, physical imagery, this prize-winning debut novel by acclaimed Catalan poet Eva Baltasar was a word-of-mouth hit in its own language. It is a breathtakingly forthright call for women’s freedom to embrace both pleasure and solitude, and speaks boldly of the body, of sex, and of the self.


Reshaping the World Through Stories: 42nd Edition of the Toronto International Festival of Authors (TIFA)

Freedom and Solitude: Eva Baltasar & Fernanda Trías

October 22, 2021 at 4:00pm EST

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