The Spanish Writer Elia Barceló Interviewed by Rachel Cordasco

    Rachel Cordasco published on her Speculative Fiction in Translation‘s site an excellent interview with the Spanish Writer Elia Barceló.

    Enjoy it !

    I’m a writer by vocation, and I especially like to describe the extraordinary, as opposed to the daily. For this reason, I have always felt attracted to genres like fantastika, science fiction, horror or thriller. And yet, although I quote genres, I am convinced that labels are not good for literature, since the narrative freedom must be placed above all, beginning with the choice of a theme and the possibility of combine motifs from different traditions. I also think that a good idea does not justify the poverty of the literary means, just as a brilliant style can not compensate for lack of ideas or weakness of the plot. I think in the today’s world, fantastika literature is essential as spiritual food since childhood and during the years that follows.” – Elia Barceló

    Elia Barceló Estevan (married name : Elia Eisterer-Barceló) was born in January 29, 1957 in Elda, province of Alicante (Spain)

    She is a Spanish writer and academic.

    Elia Barceló studied Anglo-American Philology at the University of Valencia and Hispanic Philology at the Universities of Alicante (she has a degree in English&American and Hispanic Studies) and at the University of Innsbruck, Austria, obtaining a  PhD in Hispanic Literature in 1995 (her PhD thesis was “El terror y sus arquetipos en los relatos fantásticos de Julio Cortázar“/Horror and its archetypes in the fantastic short stories of Julio Cortázar).

    Since 1981 she resides in Austria, where she is a professor of Hispanic literature at the Innsbruck University, the Institute of Romance Languages where she teaches Spanish and Latin American literature, Spanish culture and civilization, literary composition and stylistics, and creative writing (she has directed several creative writing workshops with other authors like Luis Sepulveda, Laura Grimaldi, etc.).


    Elia Barceló, Angelica Gorodischer and Daina Chaviano

    Elia Barceló is considered one of the most important Spanish language writers in the genre of science fiction, along with Argentinian  Angelica Gorodischer and the Cuban Daina Chaviano. The three ladies form the “feminine trinity of science fiction in Spanish language”.

    Elia Barceló has published novels, essays and more than forty short stories in various anthologies and Spanish and International magazines. The genre that best defines her is the fantastika (science fiction, fantasy, horror), followed closely by the historical novel and the thriller.

    Part of Elia’s work has been translated into into more than ten languages : English, German, French, Italian, Catalan, Portuguese, Dutch, Norwegian, Swedish, Russian, Croatian, Greek, Hungarian, Chinese and Esperanto.

    Elia is a member of honor of NOCTE, the Spanish Association of Horror Writers.

    Her book „Heart of Tango” was published in an English translation in 2010.

    Her SF short story „First Time” (Estreno) was selected for the english language anthology of Hispanic SF, “Cosmos Latinos: Anthology of Science Fiction from Latin America and Spain“, edited by Andrea L. Bell and Yolanda Molina-Gavilán. (Wesleyan University Press, 2003).


    Elia Barceló is present with short stories within several euro-continental SF anthologies, the French UTOPIAE 2001 : Fin de l’odyssée? Dix auteurs européens présentés par Bruno della Chiesa (The 2001 Utopiae : The End of the Oddyssey ? Ten European writers presented by Bruno della Chiesa), Nantes, 2001, L’Atalante Press ;

    • The Italian SF Anthology “Futuro Europa : Rassegna europea di Science Fiction” (Europe’s Future. An European SF Collection) No. 36, 2003, Italy ; FUTURO Europa, published by the Italian ELARA Press is the first and only regular publication in Italy devoted to Euro-continental science fiction. The great names of European science fiction are combined with new proposals, a broad overview of novels, short stories and informative selections that focus on everything which it presents the next evolution of the Euro-continental science fiction.

    • The German SF Anthology “Eine Trillion Euros” (One Trillion Euros), Andreas Eschbach (Editor), Bastei-Lübbe, 2004, Germany.


    Elia Barceló’s main SF novels are „Sagrada” (The Sacred), 1989,  „El mundo de Yarek” (The World of Yarek), 1994, „Consecuencias naturales” (Natural Consequences), 1994.


    The German Director Damir Lukačević (of croatian origin, born in 1966 in Zagreb) launched in 2010, „Transfer” a film adaptation of Elia  Barceló’s short story „Mil euros por tu vida” (A Thousand Euros for Your Life), published in German translation in the SF Anthology “Eine Trillion Euros” (One Trillion Euros), Andreas Eschbach (Editor), 2004.

    Elia Barceló is married with the Austrian Professor Klaus Eisterer and they have two children.


    1991 Ignotus Award for SF short story (Estrella/The Star)

    1993 UPC Prize (Polytechnic University of Catalonia’s International Prize for science fiction) : „El Mundo de Yarek” (The World of Yarek)

    TP Gold Jugendliteraturpreis in 1997 and 2006

    – Second prize at the International Competition of Paradores of Spain, 2001.

    – Second prize at the International Competition of Paradores of Spain, 2002.

    – Second Prize of the Best Edited Books, 2004

    – The 2007 Edebé Award

    – 2014 Celsius Prize (Spain)

    Selected works

    Sagrada, 1989

    Consecuencias Naturales, 1994

    El mundo de Yarek, 1994

    El caso del Artista Cruel, 1998

    La mano de Fatma, 2001

    El vuelo del hipogrifo, 2002

    El caso del crimen de la ópera, 2002

    El secreto del orfebre, 2003.

    Disfraces terribles, 2004

    El contrincante, 2004

    Cordeluna, 2007

    Corazón de Tango, 2007

    El almacén de las palabras terribles, 2007

    La roca de Is

    Las largas sombras, 2009

    Caballeros de Malta, 2007

    Anima mundi, 2013


    Rachel S. Cordasco, lover of all things literary, operatic, and yarn-y.

    She earned a Ph.D in Literary Studies from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, US in 2010, and taught courses in American and British literature, and Composition. She also worked at the Wisconsin Historical Society Press.

    Currently, she writes for Speculative Fiction in Translation, Book Riot and (formerly) for SF Signal.

    Welcome, lovers of speculative fiction. For the past two years, I’ve been reading a lot of spec fic in (English) translation and am constantly amazed at the rich diversity of the genre and its iterations around the world. I started reviewing spec fic in translation at SF Signal in 2014, and thanks in large part to John DeNardo’s support, I’ve forged some wonderful connections with publishers, authors, translators, bloggers, and readers who all recognize the importance of reading stories from other cultures and traditions. Thus we learn just how similar we humans are, and how fascinatingly different. Speculative fiction offers us a unique perspective on the different peoples who call this planet home, and translation is itself a way of turning the alien into the familiar. This is why I want this site to be a home for all sorts of information on the genre (and thus a continuation of the World SF blog created by Lavie Tidhar): we’ll have reviews of the latest translated spec fic; interviews with authors, translators, publishers, editors, etc.; a massive and always-updated bibliography of every translated work of speculative fiction (yes, it’s a tall order, which is why I’m counting on you to help me); and many other features. So for those of you who have found yourself wondering what Romanian science fiction is like, or why people are so pumped about the Three-Body Trilogy, this is the place for you. I’ll be politely asking (i.e. demanding) contributions to this site from all of you wonderful readers, so get ready. Thanks, and in the words of a great starship captain…ENGAGE! ” – Rachel Cordasco


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