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2nd day - interviewing Rolando Hinojosa
Chicano writer Rolando Hinojosa met with me on a cold and rainy Saturday morning. We talked about what la Semana Negra means for him, his book and much more. Enjoy.
Thania: What has been your experience at la Semana Negra?
Rolando: I started attending la Semana Negra ten years ago. I’ve only missed one year, in 2005, and it was only because I was having some health issues, but overall I always try not to miss La Semana.
Three years ago I started teaching, with Spanish writer Elia Barceló, creative writing courses to adults. This year we have a big group of sixteen students; there are fifteen women and one man. The students are seventy years or older, and since they have lived a lot, they also have a lot of experience and a lot to talk about. We meet every day and I read, edit, and provide some criticism of their work. They are dedicated students and one of our students who started taking the classes three years ago has already published a novel; she is eighty-six years old. So we feel very proud to be a part of that.
Thania: What about your experience as a writer?
Rolando: I always participate in discussions here. For example this year I’ m going to participate in a series of discussions about “El mal y sus protagonistas” (Evil and its principal characters). But I also present my work here, either my latest book or work that is going to be published soon. This year I have a novella entitled “Los siete contratos de Ramsey.” I’m trying to get it published here in Spain along with two other novellas that I have written.
Thania: And what about these novels; do they follow the “color” of La Semana? Are they “dark”?
Rolando: Yes, yes, for example, “Los siete contratos de Ramsey” is about an Irish-American cop from Manhattan who retires after twenty-two years of service to turn into a contract killer, “en un matón.” He has seven contracts. Although he is a killer, he is a really good killer. He accomplishes all the contracts, so he is a good worker, but he is also very kind. He behaves good, he is a widower; besides all the killing that he does for money, he is a really good person. The book is in Spanish, but this summer I’m planning to translate it into English.
* * *This is the short version of a one-hour interview with Rolando Hinojosa. Unfortunately with the hectic Semana Negra schedule I didn’t have the time to type up the complete interview. This is only a taste, but you can imagine what is coming. Hinojosa’s ten years of Semana Negra are hard to explain in one sentence, but what he emphasized throughout the interview is:
“I come to Gijón to have a good time and see old friends, even if I have to do a little work here and there. Yo vengo a gozar!”
Saludos desde Gijón!