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ANTONIO MUÑOZ MOLINA, ACCLAIMED SPANISH NOVELIST, IN RESIDENCE AT BARD DURING DECEMBER AS PART OF THE CONTEMPORARY MASTERS SERIES Muñoz Molina Teaches Open Class on December 2; Gives Public Lecture on December 11
Jennifer Wai-Lan Huang
ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.—Antonio Muñoz Molina, one of Spain’s most renowned novelists, will teach an open “master class,” discussing his award-winning novel Sepharad, on Saturday, December 2, at 10:00 a.m. at Bard College. The class, part of Norman Manea’s “Contemporary Masters” series, takes place in room LC 115 of the Olin Humanities Building. Muñoz Molina will also give a public talk titled “The Experience of Fiction” on Monday, December 11, at 7:00 p.m. in the multipurpose room of the Bertelsmann Campus Center. Both events are free and open to the public.
“It’s a unique opportunity for all of us to have as interlocutor one of the most important contemporary Spanish writers and to discuss with him Sepharad, a book that mesmerized, through its unique mixture of history and art, so many of its readers,” says Norman Manea, Francis Flournoy Professor of European Studies and Culture and writer in residence at Bard College. “The masterful writing of Antonio Muñoz Molina reminds us of what Henry James once said: ‘It takes a great deal of history to produce a little literature.’ Here, a lot of history is the premise of major literature.”
Muñoz Molina’s recent novel, Sepharad—at once history, fiction, and memoir—draws from the Sephardic diaspora, the Holocaust, and Stalin’s purges to tell a 20th-century story connected by memory and exile. The contemporary narrative seamlessly shifts from past to present—evoking people both real and imagined and following routes of escape across countries and continents. Written in a style both lyrical and accessible, Muñoz Molina’s fiction makes him one of Spain’s most respected and popular authors. He has won every major literary award in Spain and twice been awarded the Premio Nacional de Literatura (the Spanish equivalent of the National Book Award). The English translation of Sepharad, published in 2003 by Harcourt, won the 2004 PEN/Book-of-the-Month Club Translation Prize.
Writing in The Washington Post Book World, Barbara Probst Solomon said, “Antonio Muñoz Molina is one of the most impressive of the contemporary crop of Spanish writers . . .” Michael Pye in The New York Times Book Review called Sepharad “[a] wonderfully alarming book . . . a net of images and horrors, of lives seen at surprising angles, all bound to the subject of Spain . . . and the fearful business of leaving it.” Daniel Mendelsohn, Charles Ranlett Flint Professor of Humanities at Bard College, writes in The New York Review of Books, “It is a measure of the meticulous and exacting artistry with which Muñoz Molina has constructed his vast and subtle, dream-like and wrenching book that he has arranged for the word ‘exile’ to be the last, devastating word in a work that is, I think, something of a masterpiece.”
Antonio Muñoz Molina was born in Úbeda, Spain, in 1956. He studied art history at the University of Granada and journalism in Madrid. His first book, El Robinsón urbano, a collection of his journalism, was published in 1984. Since then, his columns have regularly appeared in mass-circulation dailies such as El País (Spain) and Die Welt (Germany). In 1987, he was awarded Spain’s Nacional de Literatura prize for El invierno en Lisboa (Winter in Lisbon), an homage to film noir and jazz. His novel El jinete polaco received the Planeta Prize in 1991 and, again, the Nacional de Literatura prize in 1992. Muñoz Molina is the author of 13 novels. His books include Beatus ille (1986), Beltenebros (1989), Los misterios de Madrid (1992), El dueño del secreto (1994), Ventanas de Manhattan (2005) and El viento de la luna (2006), among others. In 1995 he was elected to the Royal Spanish Academy, its youngest member. From 2004 to 2006, he was director of the New York City branch of the Instituto Cervantes.
This event was last updated on 12-12-2006