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Bestselling Novelist to Speak in San Miguel


By Lucina Kathmann

Bestselling novelist Martha Cerda, who has won literary prizes in many countries, will speak here in San Miguel de Allende, presenting her book Free Fall in a bilingual event that will include a discussion with Lucina Kathmann, Victor Sahuatoba, and Patricia Merrill. Cerda’s publisher, Jorge Orendáin, will also be part of the panel to discuss the book and publishing in Mexico. The event will take place on Saturday, September 3, at 7pm in the auditorium at Bellas Artes. Admission is free.

Presentation of the Book Free Fall
By Martha Cerda
Sat, Sep 3, 7pm
Bellas Artes
Hernández Macías 75

In September 2001 Cerda was on her way home to Guadalajara after participating in a literary seminar in Tromso, Norway. A longtime lover of New York, she stopped for a few days to enjoy the Big Apple. On September 11 the Twin Towers fell, leaving an indelible mark on her.

On the ten-year anniversary of 9/11, Cerda published Caída libre, both a personal memoir and a tribute to the city of New York. The book, just translated into English as Free Fall, will debut in San Miguel at the September event.

This spare work of 76 pages is an intriguing genre. It is both a well-researched history of New York from the time of the Dutch and also Cerda’s story. She was a girl from Guadalajara who first visited and fell in love with New York with her schoolmates and two nuns. Cerda was fifteen years old and freezing the whole time in her flimsy skirt and nylon stockings. The shivering girl aspired to be a writer, but she knew that her town, though the second largest city in Mexico, was considered provincial by the snobby literary magnates of the capital. Yet, she also wanted to live, marry, and have children in Guadalajara. How could she possibly do it all?

Somehow, perhaps magically, she did. Cerda established herself as a best-selling novelist with a major literary career, winning prizes in many countries. Universities and cultural institutions solicited her for literary events and panels, and her work was translated into many languages, all while she still lived in the “hick town” of Guadalajara. Cerda performed this miraculous feat while marrying and raising a family, also outside the literary canons of the capital. Free Fall recounts this story, the making of a pioneer for literary, women’s, and human rights.

San Miguel PEN and the San Miguel Literary Sala are cosponsoring the premier publication bilingual event for Free Fall, which will give both the Spanish and English linguistic communities a chance to talk and learn about Cerda and New York, a city that fascinates everyone. The lively discussion will includeVíctor Sahuatoba, Lucina Kathmann, and Patricia Merrill, Cerda, and her publisher, Jorge Orendáin   .

The event is free. Copies of the book will be available in both languages for 100 pesos. Continue the evening later across the street at Vivali restaurant and enjoy a free glass of wine or other beverage with your meal.


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