Photo by Joe Wray
Barcelona is a city with an important literary scene and has long been a popular destination for foreign writers.
Whatever it is that attracts the latter here, however, many are surprised that they don’t find a more structured community of their peers. One such was Briton Jessica Rainey, who arrived in the Catalan capital almost four years ago from a small town in France, looking for somewhere “more international and more multicultural”. But the task of finding fellow writers was tricky: “Part of the reason for moving down to Barcelona was to meet writers and find some kind of writing network, but it actually proved quite difficult. It took me two years to meet other writers.” This experience was one reason why Jessica got involved with Tri-Lengua, originally devised by Canadian writer Hannah Calder, and developed by Hannah, Jessica and Karen Dreisigacker, also a freelance writer.
However, as its name would suggest, Tri-Lengua is not simply aimed at English writers. At the group’s first two sessions, held in May and June, work was read in Catalan, Castilian and English, and included poetry, a chapter from a novel and both published and unpublished work. Jessica is keen to point out that as long as there are three languages represented, it doesn’t matter what languages they are. “The philosophy behind it is that anyone who’s writing can come and read their stuff and not worry that the audience isn’t going to understand it. Read in whatever language you want.”
Jessica’s own writing focuses on science-fiction, particularly poetry: her work will soon be published on the internet poetry journal Dusie (www.dusie.org) and she is putting together a collection of work, also to be released on the web (www.endoma.net). She recognises writing is a solitary process: “I’m always very jealous of musicians who can go and have a social time doing what they love doing, and writers have to be tucked away in a room somewhere.” But now things are looking up for writers, with Tri-Lengua providing a place for them to meet, talk and share their work.
Take my advice:
“Quimet and Quimet. Great, authentic Catalan tapas.”
Poeta Cabanyes 25, tel. 93 442 3142
“I came across one in Gràcia recently, it’s really nice for gifts...and it’s a fairtrade place: Olokuti. It has a little garden out the back where you can have a tea. It’s a really sweet place.”
Astúries 36-38, www.olokuti.com
“Jazz Bar in Poble Sec. It has nice stone walls, really good selection of beers and some great burgers.”
Cervecería Jazz Bar, Margarit 43, tel. 93 443 0560
TO TAKE VISITORS
“Plaça dels Traginers in the Barrio Gótico: there’s a little square, it’s got the Roman wall and it’s a really shady square. It’s got some nice bars, and there’s seating outside, and it’s really leafy and shaded.”