Semana Negra: Popular Culture and the Hispanic Book Fair
Every year literary critics, authors, publishers and readers of contemporary Spanish crime fiction meet for Semana Negra, or Black Week, in the city of Gijón, Spain. Semana Negra is a genre specific literary event consisting of roundtable discussions by authors and literary critics, book launches and award presentations, and a large book fair featuring the most recently published crime novels. This year’s event will be held between the 7th and 16th of July and marks the 20th annual festival. In essence, Semana Negra is a modern day literary “carnival” focusing on one of the most popular genres in Spanish literature today. The event is key to the popularity of the genre and plays a vital role in the direction of crime fiction in Spain. Unlike many large books fairs held in Europe, Asia and the United States, these events within the Hispanic world are not merely trade events consisting of meetings between publishers and writers. This paper will examine Semana negra's creation and evolution over the past 20 years and define the book fair as an expression of popular culture that invites the general public to participate in the “culture of reading”.
Keywords: Semana Negra, Book Fairs, Popular Culture, Novela Negra, Noir Fiction, Crime Fiction, Carnivalesque
Dr. Tiffany Gagliardi Trotman
Lecturer, Department of Languages and Cultures