Carmen Rioja

From February 12 to 17, San Miguel de Allende will host the international writers’ conference with a wide variety of events for all audiences.

Held at the Hotel Real de Minas and the Ignacio Ramírez “El Nigromante” Cultural Center, the 9th Annual Writers’ Conference and Literary Festival is unlike any other event of its kind. Going beyond academia, it is a celebration of cultural diversity through the appreciation of the written word and its authors. This week will shake the city with an explosion of workshops, talks by renowned authors, social events and tours of San Miguel’s historic center—recognized as a World Heritage site for its stunning colonial architecture.

 

Across history, poets, novelists and writers of all genres have lent their ideas, sharing new ideologies, world concepts, spiritual or religious notions, ways of describing human emotion, fantasy, fiction and even scientific theory, which in many cases have been the building blocks of the world we know today.

On many occasion, the heart of this avant-garde extravaganza has been the city of San Miguel de Allende, the perfect setting for the exchange of ideas with its authentically cosmopolitan essence. Over the course of the week, the streets will be filled with explosive laughter, fireworks of ideas, discussions, analysis, agreements and debates on a host of topics that concern the local and global communities alike.

 

Last year’s festival focused on border conflicts, immigration and segregation, and the final thought of the event was the importance of building bridges and not walls, as proposed by the much loved author Luis Urrea.  The backbone of this event and the key to its immense success over the years are the dozens of local volunteers who help to put the festival together, along with the residents of San Miguel who attend the conferences and book launches and who voice their opinions and raise thought-provoking questions.

 

Both intriguing and promising, the program includes a series of admission-free activities, round-table discussions by internationally-acclaimed writers, book lectures by the authors themselves, conferences, literary workshops and even amusing word games, like the highly anticipated Writers in the Ring, in which poets and narrators battle it out with their subtly of language, creating a symphony of colorful stories.

 

El Nigromante Cultural Center, also known as Bellas Artes, will be re-inaugurated during the festival, with a ceremony led by National Institute of Fine Arts’ director María Cristina García Cepeda, and also in attendance, the center’s current director Alberto Lenz.

 

There will be book presentations and a number of workshops on a variety of literary genres and for all ages, as well as keynote addresses at the Hotel Real de Minas. The program is extensive, bilingual and multi-cultural and offers activities for all budgets and audiences. During this next week, authors like Laura Esquivel, Yann Martel, Calvin Trillin, Alberto Ruy-Sánchez, Nacho Padilla, Rosa Beltrán and Benjamín Alire Sáenz, among many more, will be in San Miguel.

 

Those interested in attending can pick up a copy of the program at the information desks and bookstore set up in the gardens of Hotel Real de Minas as of Wednesday, February 12 or download it from the Internet at www.sanmiguelfestivalescritorsblog.org. Please note that scholarships are available for students and budding writers who otherwise may not be able to afford the conference.

Written by amsanmiguel