29th November 2022

“Let’s imagine the future” at FLICPRO

On Thursday November 17 the PEN Català developed in the framework of the FLIC festival, in its professional days, the program "Let's imagine the future", with the awarding of the PETIT PEN prize, round tables, talks and workshops at the Design Museum of Barcelona

The day began at 14 h with an opening lunch where the PETIT PEN Prize was awarded, within the European project Be Part, Grow with arts. The aim of the award is to recognize the contribution of a European entity, organization or initiative to a freer and more diverse children's and/or young people's literature. The winning projects were ex aequo the Hungarian association Labrisz Leszbikus Egyesület and the international project Tiny Books from Baltic Authors

The activity then moved to the auditorium of the museum, where different round tables and discussions were held. The first of all was a round table " Who will write the future?" on the challenges of the literature of the future with Laura Huerga, Júlia Baena, Montse Ayats, and Núria Càrcamo, led by Anna Guitart. The first challenge is what will the future be like? Do we have to consider an apocalyptic or brilliant idea? How will this future be written? The first idea that is raises is that we have to carry out the changes labra to have a more hopeful future, to work in key present facing the future, focusing on education and culture.

These changes are seen from different perspectives, for example, is raises the school library as an element of equity, all young people have the opportunity to achieve knowledge. For example, school libraries are a good element to combat fascist ideologies. At a time when censorship is on everyone's lips, we are talking about censorship of children's and young people's literature. That tends to moralistic contents, ideological biases and to an infantilization of readers and reductionism of contents. There is a tendency to debate the appropriate language for children and young people, and what they cannot read. Taking away the right to be wrong. 

The second round table: "The challenge of writing for children and young people" is a conversation between Joaquim Carbó and Tina Vallès, moderated by David Guzman. Two generations of children's and young adult authors, and PEN members, who will talk about the changes they have seen in their readers over time. Carbó began writing for children in 1961 in the magazine Cavall Fort, of which he is co-founder, he recalled that there was a collective illusion with the language, which meant a boom in literary creation in Catalan. He lived in a time when the contact between readers and authors was formidable, teachers had a lot of enthusiasm to transmit reading to children, and Vallès compared how she was as a reader and how the readers of today are. 

She commented that libraries have taken relevance to introduce children, from a very young age, to books. Libraries turn them into autonomous readers from a very early age. There are many ways of approaching reading in the classroom that are erroneous and do not encourage reading, on the contrary. Vallès tells us: "Schools should not be given “chopped”, they should be given "jamón de jabugo". The conversation ended with a demand from Tina Vallès: "Children's and young people's literature must have more presence in the media. Juvenile literature is literature, children's literature is literature".

The last talk of the day was a conversation between Ledicia Costas and Ana Pessoa, moderated by Esteve Plantada. Plantada told them that the themes that support the creation of literature are not usually the most common in children's and young people's literature. Costas believes that writing in Galician, which is a minority language, from the margins could not be different in the topics it deals with, in no case is premeditated. Pessoa finds it difficult to talk about the subject, since he does not find that the themes she talks about: sexuality, the maturity of the body, toxic relationships, etc., speak of life and the human condition.

Esteve Plantada commented that they manage to talk about themes that appeal to children and young people and, in addition, they make good literature. Pessoa believes that the category of children and young people is created by adults, it is not a segmentation with other ages. When you are an adult, you think there is a unity. He believes that in the process of segmenting, they have created a need to respond to the problems of certain periods of life. Costas believes that it is considered that children and young people are people to be built, not made people, when in fact they are made people, but in a different moment of life: "When you look at your readers from above, you have a lot of chances to fail". Plantada asked if the hashtag of children's and young people limits them when talking about certain topics. Costas said that if it sets limits it would not be honest with the one who would be writing, and that the key is the register with which you address the public to whom you address. 

Several workshops were held during the weekend with literary and cultural professionals on different topics related to audience development and building capacity. For instance, on November 19, Cristian Olivé gave the workshop "Creation as a mediation tool", where he commented on real classroom experiences that encourage written creation from a competency point of view and analyzed the suggestions in which reading is alive in an immersive way.