Half-forgotten and Uprooted: An Outside & Inside Perspective

What destinies await authors, or should we say their works, when they - for whatever reason - leave their country of origin, their linguistic context, their national readership? Is continuity disrupted? Do they become forgotten and uprooted? This weighty issue was discussed by the Chilean author Jorge Zúňiga Pavlov and his colleague from Cuba, Carlos A. Aguliera. 

The debate was moderated by the popular singer-songwriter residing in the Czech Republic, Iván Gutiérrez. Both authors also enjoy a strong connection to Prague and the Czech Republic. Jorge Zúňiga Pavlov sought exile here from Pinochet's regime and later, while remaining an active writer, he also opened a bar in Prague, which became a meeting place for artists and intellectuals from Latin America. Carlos A. Aguliera received a scholarship from the PEN International, which first saw him leave Cuba for Germany and, later, Bohemia. Both writers have ample experience with living and working in long-term exile. Jorge Zúňiga Pavlov has focused on Czech authors writing in German, such as Max Brod or Franz Werfel, who, according to his opinion, remain in the shadow of Franz Kafka in the minds of Czech readers. He also offered some parallels with Latin-American authors. Carlos A. Aguliera shared with the audience the feelings of an author whose life and work abroad have separated him from his natural domestic audience. He emphasised that in the general understanding of literature, the author's nationality is somehow more significant than the topics addressed in his or her work that reach out to multinational audiences, which can in turn lead to feeling uprooted and half-forgotten.

-IK-