The author traces the path of Café Con Leche through the bowels of the Granada Science Park. Next to the ticket offices is a huge black and white photograph of him announcing a meeting organized by the museum’s reading club. “Look, I hate pictures, but I’m used to them. “And in that picture I look very good,” she laughs amused. Since October 15 last year, it has not stopped circling around Spain, like a comet that has a lot to say. “Ana Luz Gabas, winner of the 2022 Planeta Prize for my novel “Lejos de Luisiana,” introduces herself as if the award were part of a complex title. “Of course I add that, this is a source of life’s pride.”
Gabas has visited Granada several times since he published his book Palm Trees in the Snow, the success with which he became known to the general public. “But this is the first time I have participated in the reading club at the Science Museum,” he confirms. In fact, this is the first case that I know of. “I like that the park is so involved in the social life of the city.” When an Aragonese writer thinks of Granada, the first thing that comes to mind is the face of José Luis Corral, professor of history and authority on historical fiction. “He explained the Alhambra to me, imagine. What a luxury it was to walk with him through the streets of Granada, as if we lived here… Granada is history, it is pure inspiration.
–Let’s see if the novel inspires you…
– No, no (laughs). There are others who know the city better and I think it’s good to have a direct emotional connection to the area. I should know her better.
“I like that the park participates a lot in the social life of the city.”
The integration of literature and science through the reading club is a great success. Yesterday, hundreds of readers were able to chat with the author in a packed auditorium. Because, she says, “in Spain we read a lot.” “I think the pandemic, when we got over the initial shock and organized the cupboards and saw that there was no shortage of food, helped people get back into the reading habit.” On the other hand, Gabas argues that over the past fifteen years, a group of new voices have emerged that are considered “genuine masters of different genres.” “The voices – he continues – are not only linked to the big capitals, but rather voices from different regions of Spain, and this was very enriching for the readers who eagerly received them.”
One of those sounds, specifically, is your voice. In Far From Louisiana, Gabas takes us to the United States to live a passionate, entertaining, and educational love story over four decades, the forty years in which France ceded part of the untamed Mississippi lands to Spain. This novel, like all previous novels, is the result of a real impulse. “I remember that when I was preparing “Palms in the Snow,” I thought it was the novel I wanted to write. I did not think about this genre and did not consider myself a future writer of historical novels. Although in my case, there was always the joy of digging into the past.
Why are you reading?
Book club members don’t need to be convinced of anything, but why do we read? “If you read you will never be alone. If you read, time passes differently. Reading is a medicine that calms you, calms you down, and stimulates thinking. Reading is therapy, and like all arts, it helps to interpret reality in a different way. Reading is essential in education.
–Do you think there is a lack of charter education in Spain?
-It’s been years now. We are late. Too late. In such a politicized country, it is difficult to expect that they will be able to sit at one table and form a charter for education that will not be compromised depending on the advent of one or the other. It is a problem of political will. I’ve been talking about this for 12 years, and we get older and everything stays the same. Technology tells us that there are educational methods that are completely outdated, and that we must work differently.
About artificial intelligence
“We writers are still an endangered species.”
Technology, specifically, is getting Gabas thinking about artificial intelligence. “We will see a very strong shift, much more so than with the Internet where we were users consuming. Now we are actors and we won’t be able to stop it. “We writers are still an endangered species.”
–are you scared?
– In what gives me life, no. But I believe that writers in the future will remain literalists. Let me get the insight. You are at home and you want to read a book, the book that you will write yourself: I want a detective story, with two 30-year-old heroes who get very angry and in the end they reconcile, and for this it takes place in Venice in the 15th century… and the machine will generate text within 10 minutes, if it arrives. Custom literature. sadness? Of course it’s sad. But there are many things that have ended in humanity.. Every generation creates its own discourse, and yes, there will be a book, but in another way.
Whether that machine arrives or not, Gabas is preparing his next novel, about which he does not intend to say a word, which he will write as soon as he has two free months. “I need peace to write,” he snorts. Right now, it’s passing through Granada at full speed, like a shooting star. “This year’s flights for the Planeta Prize are very fast. Yes, I’m like a shooting star but with a long way to go. He laughs, like my name enlightens so many.
“Social media evangelist. Student. Reader. Troublemaker. Typical introvert.”