# Date: March 21
# Time: 19.30 H
Cultural events are very important for us, that’s why at Bastardo Hostel we don’t miss a single one in Madrid’s coolest neighbourhood: Malasaña. Literature is part of this great bastard family and that’s why on March 21th we invite you to the presentation of the book Huir no significa nada by Xavi Ballester. Don’t you have a plan in Madrid? Well, we’ll give you a awsome plan. Get to know it!
Author born in Barcelona in 1974, although he would have preferred to be born in Winesburg and be called George Willard in honour of one of his literary references, Sherwood Anderson. For as long as he can remember, he doesn’t leave home without his notebook under his arm to write verses, stories and ideas. A graduate in Hispanic Philology from the University of Barcelona, in 1999 he won his first literary prize with the poem Orphan City, organised by i FNAC Newspaper.
In recent years he has become one of the leading authors of the short story in Catalan. In 2009 he was finalist of the Mercè Rodoreda prize with the short story “El mirall” (The mirror) and in 2010 winner of the Casal Lambda LGTB Theme Award for the short story “Sense llençols” (Without sheets). In 2012 it won the 15th Tinet Ciudad de Tarragona Short Narrative Prize with the story Ous Ferrats (Fried Eggs), edited by Cossetània.
In 2015 he was the winner of the 7lletres Award 2015, the most important short narrative prize in the Catalan language, with the story book Porexpan y polaroids, published by Pagès editors. It is a set of stories that deal with the fear of loneliness that characterises contemporary man, with a versatility of styles that take us from the most hilarious humour to the most delicate sensitivity to deal with the most dramatic situations faced by the characters.
A year later he won the Cronoviatge Prize from the prestigious Catalan publishing house Males Herbes for science-fiction stories. Now, he has given way to Spanish-language literature with the book he will present in Bastardo Huir no significa nada, which won the special mention of the XXIX Gonzalo Torrente Ballester Prize, with a jury made up, among others, of Belén Gopegui, Vicente Luis Mora and Xuan Bello.
Xavi Ballester has also carried out a great literary activism. Among other activities, he has directed the literature programme “Lletraferits” on Molins de Rei Radio and has been one of the impellers-editors of the literary Rosita Magazine. In the web you can read some of his articles and fiction stories.
If he continues to wield the pen, it is because he still believes in the goodness of Andrés Hurtado (the character of Baroja), because he will never tire of listening to Purple Rain, because he continues to reread Valente’s verses and disarm himself with the elegance of Richard Ford. If you pass through Barcelona and want to see him in flesh and blood, you will find him in the Obaga bookshop.
Is it possible to run away from oneself? The characters in these stories discover that it is an impossible escape, a journey without a path. However, far from falling into despair and clothed with discreet courage, they decide to face what they are and not shy away from the difficult circumstances they have lived through.
A father who dreams of red cars, a brother who lives on a boat on top of a mountain, a daughter who returns to the house where she grew up, a mother who claims the right to laugh again, a marriage without a house because of the bank, two couples trapped around a swimming pool, a musician they did not let be a musician, the most generous and complicit friendship that can only arise between two women at the limit.
The action of these stories expands like a slow motion detonation in very specific landscapes: the south of Catalonia, the interior of Galicia or the narrow streets of Lavapiés neighbourhood.
Xavi Ballester’s stories are worked from an economic prose that claims contention and slowness. A serene stroke that draws on Salinger and Cheever and reminds us that pause and silence are a propitious territory for empathy and dialogue.