Mariana Enriquez & Guadalupe Nettel Interview: The Dark and The Hidden


Enjoy this conversation between two acclaimed Latin-American writers, Mexican Guadalupe Nettel and Argentinean Mariana Enriquez. The friends and colleagues discuss their literary inspirations and their similarities – not least their predilection for the shadowy and the sordid.

“I think none of us likes the ‘bullshit’,” Nettel comments. Both writers like to look at things directly without removing layer after layer, sometimes even putting a reflector on the cruel and the grotesque: “We go straight to that part of life that seemingly we both find more interesting.” They are annoyed when the ability to write about the body is made into a matter of gender: “I think it’s got more to do with literary perception and readings, and with the body as something to explore literarily,” says Enriquez.

Among others, the writers that inspire them can be traced back to the French symbolists and decadents, such as Arthur Rimbaud (b.1854-d.1891) and Charles Baudelaire (b.1821-d.1867). These have served as a greater inspiration than Latin-American literature, which Enriquez argues doesn’t exist as such: “Each country has its own national literature. You can’t compare Argentinean literature with even Chilean literature.” Moreover, both writers would have like to be poets and refer to the Renaissance writers, who talked about the magic power of the word: “I believe in their power of invoking. And I believe that poetry invokes. Just one word bears all its power and words become some kind of spell,” says Nettel. To this, Enriquez agrees, arguing that poetry is the most dangerous genre: “Anything can happen. Sometimes it’s like black magic.” However, narratives contain intuitions – like when you suddenly find yourself on a literary wave: “It’s as if there were subjects searching for authors,” Nettel says.

Guadalupe Nettel (b. 1973) is a Mexican writer, who has been compared to “an alien sun shining down upon our world” by her colleague Valeria Luiselli, and who was voted one of thirty-nine most important Latin American writers under the age of thirty-nine at the Bogotá Hay Festival in 2006. Nettel has published in several genres, both fiction and non-fiction and fiction, including the novel ‘The Body Where I Was Born’ (2015) (El cuerpo en que naci, 2011). Nettel is the recipient of several prestigious prizes including the 2014 Herralde Novel Prize and The Antonin Artaud Prize. She lives in Mexico City.

Mariana Enriquez (b. 1973) is an Argentinean novelist, journalist and short story writer. Among her work is the novel ‘Como desaparecer completamente’ (2004) and the short story collections ‘Los peligros de fumar en la cama’ (2009) and ‘Things we lost in the Fire’ (2016) (Las Cosas que perdimos en el fuego, 2016), which was published to great critical acclaim. She lives in Buenos Aires.

Guadalupe Nettel and Mariana Enriquez were interviewed by Peter Adolphsen at the Louisiana Literature festival at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Denmark in August 2018.

Camera: Anders Lindved & Rasmus Quistgaard
Edited by: Roxanne Bagheshirin Lærkesen
Produced by: Christian Lund
Copyright: Louisiana Channel, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 2019

Supported by Nordea-fonden

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