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Photographer Kim Manresa interview

Photographer Kim Manresa interview is an article by the Spanish writer in Iceland Jordi Pujolá, with the support of Icelandic Mountain Guides. 15 % discount using code ESCRITOR2018

That article is part of my project La Contra Islandia that puts Icelandic and Spanish cultures in contact

In life there are 2 kind of people: the ones who catch the moment and the ones that let it go. Kim Manresa has travelled the world no speaking languages, with no driving license and second hand cameras and has won more than 30 awards

Read the full article in Spanish

Don´t miss:

«I did the documentary of Kadi´s female circumcision with a 60€ camera»

He is one of the best photographers in Europe, old school, rebellious and brave

Kim Manresa 5 characteristics of him

5 features of the Catalan photojournalist  Kim Manresa (Barcelona 1961) are he has travelled the world no speaking any foreign language, no driving license, no watch, doesn´t swim and uses cameras he buys second hand and exchanges for slingshots or just give them when he finishes the project

He says: «to make people believe they need to buy 5000€ cameras to be good photographers is a fraud»

Kim Manresa entrevista No a las barracas
Kim Manresa social photographer B/W

When he was 8 years old, after finishing a trading card collection of the countries of the world, he told his father he wanted to leave Spain and start visiting all of them: «I need to start now because the world is too big»

The writer Vázquez Montalbán wanted his plastic camera´s pictures taken with

In Franco´s times, Vázquez Montalbán and the journalist Huertas Claverías were looking for some pictures of the 1st. of May demonstration on the working class areas. One neighbour told them there was a boy taking photos with a plastic camera. They looked for Kim, published all of them and eventually sold them to a Nordic TV channel

Kim Manresa entrevista carné de periodista
Kim Manresa entrevista primer carnet de fotógrafo

He bought the flat of their parents with 13 years

Kim´s parents bought a new apartment and were leaving the one they were renting out for many years. Kim asked them to stay: «Can I stay if I pay the rent and don´t ask any money nor help to eat and wash?»

His parents accepted because they thought Kim would last in the flat alone just a few days; however, Kim used the flat as a clandestine lab (in Franco´s times no shop wanted to develop pictures of the conflict) and started earning money as a professional photographer when he was only 13 years old, he finished buying the flat

Photographer Kim Manresa interview in Barcelona
Photographer Kim Manresa interview by writer Jordi Pujolá

He admits their parents were open minded and took care of him without killing his curiosity and creativity

«If my father saw me climbing a tree, he didn´t forbid it to me, the next day he brought a ladder made by ropes…»

He is leaving La Vanguardia newspaper after 40 years

He started in the prestigious La Vanguardia when he was 23 years and now, five years before the retirement, he quits, why?

«Let´s say the policy of the newspaper has changed a lot, we don´t think the same any more and I didn´t want to be working in a bad mood my last years »

A popular photographer

Kim Manresa has won many awards, his pictures are in the best international exhibitions, he has more than 50 books of photography published, but he doesn´t play the role of a celebrity, he is very  concerned about social conflicts

Kim Manresa entrevista en la exposición de creadores de conciencia
Kim Manresa entrevista al periodista que empezó más joven de la exposición Creadores de conciencia

«I ended as a photographer by chance, I started because my passions are travelling, adventure, anthropology, archaeology…  so the photography has been more a mean than a goal»

Did you do any documentary about the conflict in Catalonia?

Kim is a photographer interested in catching the situations from a different angle

«No. There are 50.000 photographers doing exactly the same. Nevertheless, I think the documentaries about the independence of Catalonia are not complete, they are partial, they are missing the opinion of people who doesn´t want to the independence from Spain

Read the opinion of Óttar Norðfjörð, Icelandic writer living in Barcelona

Kim Manresa entrevista de Jordi Pujolá en Barcelona
Kim Manresa entrevista en Barcelona

I don´t do a project of the Catalan conflict because if I did it, it would show the side of the people against the independence and it would bring me negative consequences

¿What do you think about the independence of Catalonia?

«Above all, I advocate for freedom of expression and no political prisoners

Second, both sides (Catalan and Spanish) have behaved badly

The Spanish government should have allowed the referendum in Catalonia with the warning that it was not a binding voting. So the Catalans would have had their party with no frustration

The result now is people feel the politicians have hurt their feelings like in the Arab Spring

And the prohibition of the Catalonia´s autonomy by the Spanish Government has caused a lot of damage on the Catalan population

As a conclusion, the politicians make pledges to gain votes, but they don´t care for the population. If people talk about football or independence, they forget more serious problems such us unemployment, health system, education, retirement pensions, etc.

For instance, many people are stealing money and no one goes to prison»

Catalan parties will end like the ones in the Arab Spring

«How a conservative party as Convergencia i Unió (CIU) can join the independence movement and associate with an anti-establishment party as CUP?

The only thing they have in common now is independence, but is that enough to form a government? I would say they are going to argue all the time because they have different ideology, it´s an unnatural coalition»

Kim Manresa entrevista proyecto niños de escuelas del mundo
Kim Manresa entrevista proyecto escuelas del mundo

«Therefore independence is pointless if we are going to end like Bosnia, Serbia or Siria. All against all

I am very disappointed with the politicians I voted to. The show is very embarrassing»

23 Literature Nobel Prize Exhibition with Xavi Ayén

The idea of opening an exhibition of 23 Literature Nobel prizes turned out when Kim Manresa asked the journalist Xavi Ayén help to contact to some writers to provide texts for the pictures he did about Education in the World. It was a coincidence they collected some Nobel prizes in the beginning, afterwards they went to get more and the documentary was published with great success in the Magazine of La Vanguardia newspaper

A rebellious and brave photographer

Kim Manresa suggested to do the interviews in the writer´s habitats, so they visited them in their countries

Kim Manresa entrevista y su colega Xavi Ayén
Kim Manresa entrevista acompañado de Xavi Ayén (Foto EFE)

So Xavi wrote the interviews and Kim took the pictures, always B/W because he doesn´t want the audience to be distracted by things out of his proposal

Wole Soyinka anecdote

The anecdote of the Nobel Prize Wole Soyinka

Xavi had already made plans to visit him in at the New York´s University where Wole gives classes; but Kim insisted on interviewing him in Nigeria, his country. Xavi was really scared in the beginning because is one of the most dangerous countries in the world. Wole really liked the idea and sent 2 bodyguards to the airport to escort them and everything went smooth. A very nice and interesting experience

Kim Manresa entrevista Reportaje de los Nobel con Xavi Ayén
Kim Manresa entrevista la exposición de los Nobel

An exhibition for the history

The Nobel exhibition is having a great success. It  started up in the Stockholm Nobel Museum and later on went to Barcelona (Caixa Forum), Lisbon (Jose Saramago Fundation)… and we are going to bring it to Reykjavik and connected to the Literature Icelandic Nobel Prize Halldór Laxness

On the list are: Vargas Llosa, Günter Grass, Gabriel García Márquez, Toni Morrison, José Saramago…

Kim says: «Every country customize the exhibition according their preferences:

For instance, in México was: Rebelliousness´ Nobel. Every Nobel supported a cause: deforestation, human rights, Apartheid…

In Sweden it was called: How literature changes human´s mentality and the focused in only 14 authors

In Barcelona (Catalonia), they didn´t want to have nothing to do with rebellious things and named it  Going for a walk with Nobels»

Documentary of Guadalajara Book Fair México 2018

The world has changed for worse

Are you not scare of travelling the world alone?

«The world has changed a lot in a negative side since the Irak´s war and breakup of Libia. Now I always travel with someone. Nevertheless, in the past I left the country alone, but I always looked for new friends who talked Spanish and drove for me . For instance in Búrkína Fasó (here the Kadi´s documentary was born), Brazil or India. After 40 years I have friends in all the world

Kim Manresa entrevista viaje a Brasil
Kim Manresa entrevista la prostitución infantil en Brasil

The problem is the middle class is vanishing  and the gap between rich and poor gets bigger in the world

It´s unacceptable when people value emergent countries for the number of millionaires they have, the most of their population is starving»

Kim Manresa style

«Sometimes I go the place I want to take the pictures but I don´t take any. Before starting I need to understand a bit the story, to plan the action like a writer or a painter. I don´t consider myself a photographer, I am a storyteller»

The burnt women in Bangladesh

Hi did an excellent project of the burnt woman in Bangladesh. They were in Spain to get a cosmetic surgery treatment

«To take pictures of a burnt face is extremely easy. All the photographers took the same picture, but I wanted to do something different: I stayed with them one week, every morning I went to the hospital in Valencia and talked to them. One day I made up my face and they laughed. For the first time after getting hurt they felt woman. I think I have never seen people laughing so crazily. Then we started a war of pillows. The doctors, who never talked to them, were very shocked for the changes that were happening in that room

Kim Manresa entrevista el fotógrafo con alma
Kim Manresa entrevista un fotógrafo con corazón

When they were relaxed, I gave them my camera and they took pictures of me. Eventually, they allowed me to photograph them. However, the documentary had started days before, it was a process.  I never take pictures without knowing the people. I look for mutual understanding or I am not interested at all»

The money goes to charity

It happened the same with the female circumcision of the little Kadi (it´s considered by the  Associated Press Agency one of the 100 documentaries of XX century)

His friend in Búrkína Fasó told him about the ritual. Kim went but he didn´t take a single picture. He stayed with the tribe, one week later took the pictures

Kim Manresa entrevista famosa ablación niña Kadi
Kim Manresa entrevista foto famosa ablación Kadi

He says he did that project with a second hand camera of 60 €

Besides that, he gives the most of the money to charity projects

Kim Manresa entrevista en Palau Robert Creadores de conciencia Barcelona
Kim Manresa entrevista en el Palau Robert Barcelona

The hard life of photojournalists

The most of them are divorced and he is not an exemption. They are all the time travelling and risking their lives. Not to much time for a family

Kim Manresa entrevista en la exposición Barcelona Creador de conciencias
Entrevista al fotógrafo Kim Manresa en la exposición Palau Robert Creador de conciencia

Iceland: «I am not interested in Reykjavik because a lot of photographers did it before«

Kim Manresa was recently doing a documentary with Xavi Ayén in Iceland, but his first time was 25 years ago with a theatre group called Els Comediants. They performed on the streets disguised like devils and using fireworks, so the show was very new and shocking for Icelanders

«At that time there was not tourism in Iceland and the Blue Lagoon was a simple and rough pool»

«What I really like to do is to take pictures of the people who live in isolated areas , especially in winter time

I´not interested in Reykjavik. All the photographers do the same, as in Barcelona: Sagrada Familia, Paseig de Gracias, Las Ramblas…»

Favourite photographers

«Edward Sheriff Curtis is my favourite because travelled all the Estates and took pictures of all the tribes with his plate camera. I love his book The North American Indian»

Article Iceland Summer 2018

Kim Manresa entrevista Sheriff Curtis es su fotógrafo favorito
Kim Manresa entrevista Curtis su fotógrafo favorito

Photographer Kim Manresa interview is an article by the Spanish writer in Iceland Jordi Pujolá

Awards (Wikipedia)

  • Premio FotoPress – 6 veces, entre ellas:
    • Primer premio FotoPress 1990: foto Vuelo de pájaro
    • Primer premio FotoPress 1999: foto La ablación
    • Premios FotoPres de deporte, naturaleza, retrato y sociedad
  • 1993 Premio Sant Francesc de Sales, Patrón de los Periodistas
  • 1994 Premio periodístico Ajuntament de Barcelona. Temas sociales
  • Premio Ajuntament de Barcelona. Àrea de Cultura, por Festes de la Mercè
  • Fotògrafo invitado por el Ajuntament de Barcelona a la fiesta mayor. Exposición Mercè de nit. Catálogo y trofeo
  • 1998 Premio Godó de Fotoperiodismo por una instantánea sobre la ablación en el África subsahariana, publicada en la revista dominical de La Vanguardia
  • 1999 Primer Premio de Fotoperiodismo Agustí Centelles, por Concierto de los Rolling Stones
  • Medalla de plata de Fotoperiodismo de la Society of Newpaper Design (Estados Unidos), por Historias de África
  • Premio de la Society of Newspaper Design (Estados Unidos), por el reportaje y libro El molino
  • 1998 La agencia de prensa Associated Press selecciona El día que la Kadi perdió parte de su vida como uno de los mejores 100 fotoreportajes del siglo XX
  • 1998 Visa d’Or del Festival Internacional de Fotoperiodismo de Perpiñán Visa pour l’Image, por El día que la Kadi perdió parte de su vida
  • 1999 Premio Lirio, otorgado por la Associació de Dones Periodistes, por Mujeres maltratadas
  • 1999 Finalista al mejor libro educativo publicado en lengua inglesa por el Ministerio de Cultura de Australia, por The Day Kadi Lost Part of Her Life (Spinifex Press)
  • Primer Premio Internacional Derechos Humanos y Periodismo Ciudad de Gijón. Semana Internacional del Fotoperiodismo Gijón, por Historia sobre Kadi y Sali
  • 2001 Premio UNICEF de periodismo, junto a David Drusster, por La infancia en el siglo XXI (trabajo realizado durante tres meses por las calles de Brasil)
  • Premio al mejor libro documental concedido por la revista Foto a Barcelona nit
  • Mención de honor premio Fuji de prensa por el reportaje Mujeres de Bangladesh
  • Segundo premio Ortega y Gasset de fotoperiodismo, mención especial, por Historias de África
  • Finalista al premio Ortega y Gasset de fotoperiodismo, por El Muro de Berlín
  • Premio Fotografía y Antropología, por Los guanches
  • Primer premio Fotografía Documental Barcelona, por Payeses del Pirineo
  • Primer premio de Fotoperiodismp Vila de Gràcia, Ajuntament de Barcelona, por Fiestas de Gràcia
  • 2011 Premio a la trayectoria y por su compromiso con los derechos humanos, Junta de Andalucía y Asociación Andaluza del Dolor y Asistencia Continuada
  • 2011 VI Memorial Joan Gomis, en reconocimiento a personas, instituciones o colectivos que hacen periodismo orientado a luchar contra las desigualdades, la pobreza y la exclusión social, por su trayectoria
  • 2012 Premio Derechos de la Infancia y el Periodismo, de la Asociación de la Prensa de Madrid y el Defensor del Menor de la Comunidad de Madrid
  • 2015 Rebeldía de Nobel es escogido uno de los mejores libros del año en Corea del Sur
  • 2015 Pregonero de la fiesta mayor de Nou Barris, Barcelona

En 1992 la revista francesa Photo seleccionó a Kim Manresa como un de los grandes fotógrafos europeos.

El reportaje El día que la Kadi perdió parte su vida ha recibido infinidad de premios a nivel nacional e internacional: El Visa d’Or pour l’Image de Perpiñán, el Godó de Fotoperiodismo, la medalla de plata de fotoperiodismo de la Society of Newspaper Design, el FotoPress’99…

Blog English

Victor del Arbol interview

Victor del Arbol interview by Jordi Pujolá, Spanish writer in Iceland, with the support of Icelandic Mountain Guides 15 % discount using promo code ESCRITOR2018

The writer who was a police and writes black novels

This project tries to put Icelandic and Spanish cultures in contact

Read the full article in Spanish

Don´t miss:

Víctor del Árbol is a Spanish Catalan writer who collects a lot information before starting one of his terrific black novels. He studied History and likes living a broad for a while to know people, traditions and landscape, then he uses the scene for a new book. His style matches very well with Nordic novels (check One Million drops, now in English) and he would like to write a novel in Reykjavik

«we writers live in the edge»

During the interview, Víctor del Árbol constantly shifted from Catalan to Spanish with naturalness (In Catalonia we are bilinguals as Icelanders are with English). He also speaks French and it´s a best seller in France

Victor was appointed Knight of Arts and Letters and the French consider him a French author

Víctor Árbol segunda novela
Víctor Árbol La tristeza del samurái

I just want to write, read and travel

I met him in a conference of writers in Gijón hosted by AEN Union. He gave the impression he is a good author and a great person as well

«My dream was become a writer because I wanted to spend my time writing, reading and traveling. I wanted to be free

Now I wake up every day happy, even though we writers live in the edge, you never know what´s going to happen tomorrow

I used to work as a police man. When you work for the government, you wake up, go for work and come back home with the conviction everything will be the same the next day . On the other hand, when you are a writer, you don´t know what is going to happen tomorrow; but that uncertainty gives you the freedom»

The 2 important things of happiness is how it creates and it destroys

«André Gide, a writer I really like, said he was only interested only in 2 things regarding happiness: how you make it and how you destroy it because when you live it you don´t need to explain anything

What we need to explain to ourselves is why we create our own infernos having all we need to be happy»

An optimistic person who writes black novels

You define yourself as an optimistic person. Why do you write so dark and hard novels?

«First of all, I think we have to work on the balance of our happiness. I always look for the positive things. However, I´m not stupid an I know how the world works

Second, on the other hand, I am very critical with myself, the environment and human condition. When I see the human being like a mass, I have the idea that nothing can be done for us, but if I focus on the individuals, I feel there is still hope

So my novels are hard because of that. We need someone to tell that dark part of ourselves because it´s real. Nevertheless, it doesn´t mean we have to give up or suffer the pain, hate or betray we have inside»

Entrevista Victor del Arbol Premio Nadal
Entrevista Victor del Arbol Un millón de gotas

«It´s not the same to be a writer or a published writer

¿Who came first, the writer or the police man?

«I write since I was a child. I always wanted to be a published writer because to be a writer or a published writer is not the same »

The most appealing of writing for me is to live as a writer 

«The police was a happy anecdote, a life school. I was 23 years old when I entered and had a lot to learn

As a writer, to see the behaviour of people so close is a privilege

However, when my second novel was published, I decided to quit and devote myself to write and make true my dream

Besides that, my personal contradictions at the police grew up and I was not able to hold them with the point of irony you need to do some jobs

People have a date of expiration in their passions; when the desire is gone, when you don´t want to learn anymore, we have to change, risk and to do another thing»

The comfort area

«The same works for an author, if you write a book every year repeating the same idea with the different words, you become a bourgeois on the negative meaning

In my opinion, the most interesting thing of being a writer is to live as a writer. The book always reflects the way you understand life. If I am able to make people read my books, then means I deserve living as a writer»

My goal is durability

What is your target as a writer?

«To be the best writer I am able to be, because I know (in a selfish way) it will bring some other rewards. The recognition is a thing you should not follow, it has to come. I would like to transcend, to be read after dying»

How can someone achieve that durability?

«As I told you: renewing yourself, writing different things…»

Entrevista Victor del Arbol y Jordi Pujolá escritores Barcelona
Interview Victor del Arbol en el Sandor de Barcelona

Ideas are like butterflies

Where do you find inspiration?

«Look, the ideas are like butterflies. When you see them, you don´t run and smash them between your palms. First, I observe and study them, then I approach slowly, no hurries, and eventually I enclosed her delicately with my hands , you get it»

Project France and Spain

Víctor del Árbol (Barcelona 1968) has been a bridge between Spanish and French cultures for a long time

«We are natural neighbours, but we always have lived back to back: The Pyrenees are physical and cultural barrier

People know the most famous French authors as Fred Vargas, Pierre Lemaitre, Patrick Modiano, Emmanuel Carrere… However, there are much more and I try to show their talent to Spaniards and vice versa

To help some French authors (Pascal Dessaint, Magat Ledan, Marcus Malte…) to be translated in Spanish or introducing new concepts as the black ecological novel is an honor for me

My goal is breaking cliches using the literature»

¿What are those cliches?

«The cliches about the French: they are chauvinists, arrogant… they have a very introspective literature…

The cliches about the Spaniards: It´s a not trustworthy country, too violent literature, civil war cliches, the romanticism of building a too much idyllic Spain, Africa begins in the Pyrenees…

And the biggest cliche: Spain is a conservative country»

According to Víctor del Árbol, Spain is a country more modern and progressive than France. For instance, It was the first country allowing to marry homosexuals

«Definitely Spain is not a country for only beach, sun and holidays. I want the French to understand our diverse culture and the complexity of our society»

The culture and Europe

Why do you do this job? you don´t earn anything from that

«I do it because I am a humanist and for selfishness as well. What actually I am interested in is the interchange of cultures, that is what is going to save Europe

I believe in an unbreakable Europe. The more will know each other, the easier will be the project successes

I want French people caring about what happens in Spain and vice versa»

The prestigious Nadal prize was only a step accomplished, my project is much longer

What did you feel when you got the Nadal Prize in 2016?

«It was a catharsis, you go from the anonymity to the sky. It has also some drawbacks, however, I just look into the positive side

The Nadal prize is the dream all the writer in Spain wants to win and when you get it, you enjoy it fully. Nevertheless, I didn´t live it as a climax, for me it was just a step more, my project as a writer is longer

The Nadal Prize give you the quality of writer in front of others, but not in front of you. There are many writers who deserve it and never will get it, they are not worse writers for that reason»

Read the report of the Book Fair in Mexico

Curiosity for Iceland

What do you know of Iceland?

«First, I feel a huge curiosity for so a little nation with so many readers and writers of black novels in a place where crime rate is so low»

10 features of Icelanders

«I met Lilja Sigurðardóttir in Pau (France). She speaks a really decent Spanish, and told me the Icelanders spend a lot of time indoors because the bad weather

Second, Iceland is very remote and exotic for me. Here in Spain we only know Guðjonssen. And I didn´t know Iceland had a Literature Nobel Prize!»

I recommend Icelanders read his book A million drops (translated in English) for his connection to nature

 Victor del Árbol Novels (Wikipedia)

  • El peso de los muertos, Editorial Castalia, 2006, (English)
  • El abismo de los sueños, 2008, inédita
  • La tristeza del samurái, Alrevés Editorial, 2011 (English)
  • Respirar por la herida, Alrevés Editorial, 2013
  • Un millón de gotas, Destino, 2014 (English)
  • La víspera de casi todo, Destino, 2016
  • Por encima de la lluvia, Destino, 2017


  • Premio Tiflos, 2006
  • Finalista del Premio Fernando Lara, 2008
  • Prix du Polar Européen Le Point, 2012
  • Premio Quercy Noir, 2013
  • Premio Tormo Negro de novela policiaca, 2013.
  • Prix du Litterature policier etrangère en Francia, 2015.
  • Premio Nadal, 2016.
  • Caballero de la Orden de las Artes y las Letras, 2017
  • Premio Mejor Novela Valencia Negra, 2018.

Lee otras entrevistas del Proyecto La Contra Islandia


Blog English

International Book Fair Guadalajara

International Book Fair Guadalajara in Mexico (FIL) is an article by Jordi Pujolá, Spanish writer in Iceland. With the support of Icelandic Mountain Guides

Read the full article in Spanish

Feria Internacional Libro de Guadalajara documental escritor Jordi Pujola
Feria Internacional Libro de Guadalajara documental de Jordi Pujola

Don´t miss

The only representation of Iceland in the Spanish Book Fair of Guadalajara Mexico

The International Book Fair of Guadalajara  (24th. November to the 2nd. December 2018) is the most important book fair in the world after Frankfurt

Although the most of the books are in Spanish, Iceland had its little participation:

On Wednesday 28th. November the book El barman de Reykjavik. Eds. Camelot (novel that happens in Iceland and tells about traditions) was introduced by the author who talked about black Nordic novels and the Icelandic habits. After 2 hours the book was sold out

Article about the summer 2018 in Iceland (Includes English link)

Feria Internacional Libro de Guadalajara Islandia presentación de El barman de Reykjavik
Feria Internacional Libro de Guadalajara la representación de Islandia

El barman de Reykjavik sinopsis

A Spanish immigrant starts a new life in Iceland working as a bartender in a club with an alive shark in the basement. It´s about the clash of cultures (Icelandic and Spanish) and describes the Icelandic traditions, the weather, the food…

Novels by Jordi Pujolà

Find the book in FNAC, Casa Libro, Amazon, Bóksala Stúdenta, Keflavik airport Penninn…

Internacional Book Fair of Guadalajara (FIL)

I interviewed Mariño González, press general manager of the book fair:

The Feria del libro de Guadalajara México (FIL) is a literacy and cultural event of high level founded in 1987 by the National University of Guadalajara, the special guest of this year was Portugal, the fair takes place at the modern and fancy glass Expo building

Feria Internacional Libro de Guadalajara con Mariño González jefe de prensa y difusión
Feria Internacional Libro de Guadalajara entrevistando al jefe de prensa Mariño González

It includes activities for professionals, students, children, audience…

¿How many people assist to the book fair FIL?

«More than 800.000 people in 9 days»

The Mexicans like going to the book fair (often the whole family), checking the stands, the books and then decide which ones they want to buy. It´s a paradise for book lovers, especially if they can talk to their favourite authors and get the book with his signature

¿How many books do the Mexicans read per year?

«The Mexicans read in average 5 books per year and the attendants to the FIL 12»

Feria Internacional Libro de Guadalajara Mariño González y Jordi Pujolá en sala de prensa
Feria Internacional Libro de Guadalajara con Mariño González en sala de prensa

¿What does the FIL do to encourage reading?

«We have all kind of books (literature, cartoons, comics, food, science…), so different range of people and age start discussing about them. For instance, we have a private area for children with funny activities and shows connected to books and literature

We also take care of creating new contents every year to keep the audience´s attention»

Feria Internacional Libro de Guadalajara colas para entrar en la Expo
Feria Internacional Libro de Guadalajara recinto de la Expo

¿What is the main difference between the book fair of Guadalajara and Frankfurt?

«The FIL was the first one on putting the audience and the professionals in contact. The book fair of Frankfurt is aimed exclusively  to industry professionals and  it ranks above us only on publishing business volume

Personally, I think the interaction between the public and professionals (writers included) makes the difference»

Feria Internacional Libro de Guadalajara multicultural y diversa
Feria Internacional Libro de Guadalajara gente, libros y stands de todo el mundo

«What is exciting about our fair is you can find writers such as Rubén  Fontseca, Antonio Lobo Antúnez or Juan Carlos Fuentes (when he was alive) on the corridors or the canteen»

¿How can the FIL help new authors?

«First of all, to be so close of the authors of all kind of books is amazing

As a matter of fact, I am also a writer and I learnt a lot from attending the FIL. Being in contact with more than 400.000 titles, 800 writers and 3000 activities in this reading environment helps a lot»

Feria Internacional Libro de Guadalajara público frente a Lectorum
Feria Internacional Libro de Guadalajara público paseando frente al stand de Lectorum

¿Any recommendation for the beginner authors?

«Yes, to register in the fair and participate on the professional conferences. It opens the door of the cultural world»

¿What do you know of Iceland?

«I´ve never been to Iceland, it´s a place very far away from Mexico; but I know Björk (he smiles)

I think Iceland is a very interesting country and we would be very pleased if we could host Icelandic writers here (I told him many of them have books translated in Spanish so it´s not a crazy idea)

Iceland could have a stand exclusively for them (this year 40 countries participate in the fair) in the international area, so the publishers could negotiate translations in Spanish of their authors and vice versa»

Feria Internacional Libro de Guadalajara stands de las mejores editoriales
Stand de Sexto Piso en la Feria Internacional Libro de Guadalajara stand de Sexto Piso

Feria Internacional Guadalajara

335.000 inhabitants live in Iceland and 5.000.000 in Guadalajara city. The building of La Expo is in the suburbs, to go to downtown takes around 40 minutes by taxi if the traffic is bad (in that city the traffic can be bad or super bad)

Regarding traffic, the most of the agents are women

Women in FIL

FIL is also concern about women rights:

More than 10 tables discussed about feminism, MeToo movement and women literature

The Spanish writer Clara Usón won the prize  Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz on its 25th edition

Feria Internacional Libro de Guadalajara mujeres regulan el tráfico
Feria Internacional Libro de Guadalajara chicas policía

¿Why is the book fair of Guadalajara so special?

I interviewed writers, journalists, shopkeepers, public… and got many answers; however, what makes special the FIL for me is the atmosphere

I sold all my books and still I was visiting my stand everyday (the people in charge, Eusebio and Arielle, were lovely), other stands  of publishers and countries (with food, drinks…), having coffee with journalists, agents, other writers…

Feria Internacional Libro de Guadalajara Arielle responsable stand E25
Feria Internacional Libro de Guadalajara stand E25 con Arielle Editorial de Otro Tipo

Every morning I woke up and said to myself: I´m not going to go to the fair today, I need to do a bit of sightseeing in the city; but I always found and excuse to go and went

Interview to Monica in charge of the Spanish stand (video)

Feria Internacional Libro de Guadalajara con Mónica stand España
Feria Internacional Libro de Guadalajara con Mónica responsable del stand de España

Interview to Joaquim in charge of the Catalonia´s stand (video)

Feria Internacional Libro de Guadalajara con Joaquim stand Cataluña
Feria Internacional Libro de Guadalajara con Joaquim responsable del stand de Cataluña

Long lines on the entrance of la Expo de Guadalajara

Feria Internacional Libro de Guadalajara los colegios entran gratis
Feria Internacional Libro de Guadalajara espacio para los jóvenes

The public waited in long lines in front of the building of la Expo to get in the book fair

Feria Internacional Libro de Guadalajara Catedral
Feria Internacional Libro de Guadalajara Plaza de la Catedral

Eventually I went out of the fair and paid a visit to the church and the old town. There is a lot of life on the streets (see the top video). It was worth it!

Feria Internacional Libro de Guadalajara restaurante en la ciudad
Feria Internacional Libro de Guadalajara vida en la ciudad

However, no one walks  the city at night because it´s dangerous

Feria Internacional Libro de Guadalajara mercado en la ciudad
Feria Internacional Libro de Guadalajara mercado callejero
Feria Internacional Libro de Guadalajara edificio Hotel Francés
Feria Internacional Libro de Guadalajara Hotel Francés en el centro

¿Is Mexico really dangerous?

Yes, people (even locals) don´t recommend going out at night, but I did it

Visit to the printing house Impronta

We were invited by the printing house Impronta,  they showed us the old printers they use and later on we had some shots of mezcal

Afterwards Manuel (another Spanish writer living in Mexico for 5 years) and I went to have dinner to the oldest cantina of the city (La Fuente), but we finished late, they didin´t have a phone to call a taxi and we ended up walking on the dark and brilliant sidewalks of Guadalajara (surprisingly it was raining)

Feria Internacional Libro de Guadalajara libros artesanales en la Editorial Impronta
Feria Internacional Libro de Guadalajara unos mezcales en la Editorial Impronta
Feria Internacional Libro de Guadalajara el método tradicional de Editorial Impronta
Editorial Impronta Feria Internacional Libro de Guadalajara

The night in Guadalajara

We saw the light of a taxi parked near to the church

Feria Internacional Libro de Guadalajara La Fuente cantina clásica
Feria Internacional Libro de Guadalajara Cantina La Fuente

The taxi driver had his dark face hidden with a baseball cup, the back seats were cover with an old blanket and the springs squeaked like a second hand mattress, and he started coughing like hell

Feria Internacional Libro de Guadalajara con el corrector y agente Manuel Petit
Feria Internacional Libro de Guadalajara con el ex director de Camelot América Manuel Petit

The car turned on. Too late to get out. The taxi driver didn´t fasten his seat belt, I tried to find mine, but damn there were not seat belts on the back seats

Taxis in Mexico

The wipers on the front windshield sounded like a cricket. The rain, the darkness and the driver´s coughing were killing me

Feria Internacional Libro de Guadalajara FIL México y Jordi Pujolá
Feria Internacional Libro de Guadalajara primera participación en la FIL

However, that guy was not a criminal: he worked as a custodian during the day and as a taxi driver at night

I asked him how many hours did he sleep every day. His answer was shocking:

«Two or three, but as I don´t drink nor smoke and like doing jogging, I can bear it until this car is paid, around one year more», he said that and then coughed so fiercely that I was on the verge of holding the steer wheel

When we were stopped at a red traffic light I took a look at the milestone and the car had, for the Christ sake!,  175.000 km

Mexico is a rich country, but…

Mexicans say the government could put all the narcos in prison but they don´t do it because drugs are a huge business. My first thought is always: why don´t we legalise them?

Rik Barroso, is a young expert in motivation, he recently wrote a successful help book and was introducing it in FIL. He told me the Mexicans are known to be weak and he really believes that:

«I was also weak, but I started reading philosophy and other books and I changed. Now I want to help my folks»

The motto is the same everywhere and matches with the title of my first novel: We need a change

Feria Internacional Libro de Guadalajara con Rik Barroso motivador en México
Feria Internacional Libro de Guadalajara con el autor mexicano Rik Barroso

The United States of Mexico is a beautiful and rich country. However, it´s a pity no tourists come to Mexico anymore and the wealth of the country is on a few hands

Nevertheless, at least they have the FIL and they constantly try  to give a good impression to the visitors; for instance, everything is super clean an there is always an employee cleaning the restrooms. The service is very nice as well

My opinion about the narcos

The mafia in Mexico started like a kind of revolution against big companies from US, Canada and Europe that stole the wealth from their land and left only fast food and pollution. Later on unfortunately the mafia became a business as well

La mafia in Mexico

Another taxi driver told me that the mafia rules in the villages instead of the police (the police don´t care, they just want to charge la mordida)

In the cities, there are some cartels as well. For example, in Guadalajara they have the cartel Jalisco Nueva Generación. He admits the cartel does some good things: The thieves don´t steal the car´s batteries at night anymore and the narcos cut down the hands of some rapists, put them in a plastic bag and tattooed the word ratero on their foreheads

Lo mejor de la Feria del Libro de Guadalajara: el ambiente

On Wednesday the 28th the fair was open to the general public

Feria Internacional Libro de Guadalajara primera participación escritor Jordi Pujolà
Feria Internacional Libro de Guadalajara primera participación

One Down Syndrome young boy just stopped me in the corridors because he wanted to see the crocodile I have tattooed on my arm, I showed him as well the tiger I got on the other one and explained him I am a writer with rules: only 1 tattoo every time that one of my novels is published. Her mother took a priceless photo of us while we were speaking

Feria Internacional Libro de Guadalajara periodistas de todo el mundo sala de prensa
Feria Internacional Libro de Guadalajara sala de prensa

More anecdotes

A couple of teenagers stopped me as well:

«Where are you from? – asked the boy-, she (pointed out the girl) needs to be in a picture with a foreigner» -she smiled a bit shy-. It´s for an school assignment»

I said I was a writer from Spain and  of course we took a picture with my book

Feria Internacional Libro de Guadalajara El barman de Reykjavik en México
Feria Internacional Libro de Guadalajara fotos y firmas de El barman de Reykjavik

Thanks Eds. Camelot and Editorial de Otro Tipo

Thanks Eusebio and Arielle (people in charge of my stand E25) and my publisher Eds. Camelot America

We sold a lot of books and even though Eds. Camelot is not a big publisher, they hit the target sending some of its authors to the Fair. People want to talk to the writers and get a signed copy

Feria Internacional Libro de Guadalajara recomiendo a mi colega de Camelot América Gabriel Vázquez
Feria Internacional Libro de Guadalajara recomiendo a mi colega de Camelot América Gabriel Vázquez

The canteen of la FIL

¡La comida en México está padrísima!

Feria Internacional Libro de Guadalajara ostras y ceviche camarón
Feria Internacional Libro de Guadalajara ostras y ceviche de gambas

The main restaurant inside the Fair was a big noisy room with rows of tables to share (you can meet a writer, publisher, agent, press or public) and checked tablecloths. People waited in a line like in a school and the waitress (all of them with a net on their hair) provided the food behind big hot, steamy trays. In Mexico people don´t use cutlery too much and drink the beer directly from the can

Feria Internacional Libro de Guadalajara ccomiendo tacos en la cantina

I took a seat and tried the tacos reluctantly, however they were so delicious that I repeated every lunch day. Tacos of beef, chicken, pork, beans… with a lot of coriander, a bit of chilly pepper and Mexican beer

Feria Internacional Libro de Guadalajara menu restaurante
Feria Internacional Libro de Guadalajara menu con tacos, cerveza y postre

In México, eating insects is very popular

Check the video

Feria Internacional Libro de Guadalajara con el librero Eusebio Melgar
Feria Internacional Libro de Guadalajara con el experto Eusebio Melgar

¿Tacos or Pizza?

The teenagers I had in front were having an enormous pizza. I asked them why they didn´t have those amazing tacos and they answer they have them everyday. Really?

The restaurant with the Guinness World Record

I wanted to try the restaurant that has got the Guinness World Record of serving fast. After 3 minutes of ordering, the food (carne en su jugo and guacomole) was on the table. And it was good!

Feria Internacional Libro de Guadalajara Restaurante Garibaldi
Feria Internacional Libro de Guadalajara carne en su jugo y guacamole

Interview to a Mexican who comes every year from Austria

I interviewed Yolanda Manner on one of the big canteen´s tables. She is a Mexican woman who married Mr. Manner from Vienna and comes every year to the Fair, his husband quit coming because some years ago he was robbed in front of his house at gunpoint

Feria Internacional Libro de Guadalajara Yolanda Mannier
Feria Internacional Libro de Guadalajara encuentros con el público

She was born in Ciudad Juárez Chihuahua, she is a chemist, but now she says her lab is the kitchen

Why do you come to the FIL every year?

«It´s a meeting point for all the world´s authors and the audience has the chance of talking to them and listening to all they wanted to express in all kind of fields, literature, science, politics, gastronomy…

Do you recommend Europeans to come to la FIL?

«Absolutely, here there is a melting pot of cultures. The fair offer as well the chance of knowing other countries, other lifestyles, listening to other languages… It´s really interesting

Do the FIL have a special meaning for the Mexicans?

«We are proud of having the biggest book fair of Latin America where the readers can make true the dream of talking to their favourite authors»

Hotel Malibú

The Hilton is the most busiest hotel of Guadalajara those days because many meetings and speeches of the FIL are hold there and it´s just in front of the Expo building

I accommodated myself in a more modest hotel but clean, with good service, wifi, shuttle bus to the Expo, bar with good assortment of tequilas and an delicious breakfast with live music and cooks making tortillas, gorditas and pancakes a la carte

Feria Internacional Libro de Guadalajara cantina del Hotel Malibú
Feria Internacional Libro de Guadalajara las omelettes del Hotel Malibú

The Malibu´s room

I looked for the typical Bible in my room, but I only found a phone book, I thought they didn´t exist anymore, and an empty envelope where the cleaning lady introduced  herself and told me she was going to take care of me

At night I felt good, usually brought a tequila to the room and read the books I got during the day until I fell asleep

Feria Internacional Libro de Guadalajara gran variedad de libros
Feria Internacional Libro de Guadalajara tesoros conseguidos

How is the weather in Guadalajara?

While in Iceland we had the first snow in October, in Guadalajara we had almost 30 °C in December, unless the day that was raining cats and dogs, the temperature dropped a bit and the Mexicans put on all the winter clothes they had and said: Oye, este frío está rico (that cold is nice)

Interview to Adriana Peregrino

Bye bye Guadalajara

Time to go. The day I was leaving Mexico, there were delays in the most of the flights and I tried to not to get irritated (the Mexican companies require passengers to be at the airport 3 hours before the flight, crazy!), to behave in a Mexican mood, so I had a Frapuccino in Starbucks (they wrote my name in the glass with Y), started writing this article and looked at the planes landing and taking off

Feria Internacional Libro de Guadalajara final del viaje en Starbucks
Feria Internacional Libro de Guadalajara final del viaje en aeropuerto
Feria Internacional Libro de Guadalajara aeropuerto vistas aviones
Feria Internacional Libro de Guadalajara vistas pistas aeropuerto

The flight company Interjet offers a round of free alcoholic drinks on board, something one always really appreciate. I asked for a beer, but the hostess told me it was not enough cold, I know  that doesn´t matter too much for Icelanders, but it´s very important for Latins ;so I asked for a vodka tonic. She poured so much vodka that I almost couldn´t refill the glass with tonic, but it was totally all right (alcohol is so expensive in Iceland)

I looked at the reddish sky of Guadalajara and got the feeling I left good friends in Mexico. I´ll come back next year with my third novel, auðvitað!

Interested in buying my novel?

FNAC, Casa del Libro, Amazon, Bóksala Studenta or me directly if you live in Iceland (I´ll sign it for you)

Icelandic authors translate it in Spanish

Preguntas Frecuentes sobre Islandia

International Book Fair Guadalajara is an article by Jordi Pujolá, Spanish writer in Reykjavik

Blog English

Birgir Stefansson Interview

Birgir Stefansson Interview by the Spanish writer in Iceland Jordi Pujolá


Birgir Stefansson Interview by Leana Clothier and Jordi Pujola
Birgir Stefansson Interview with his band in SS18

«The most shocking for an Icelander is the Spanish siesta»

with the sopport of Icelandic Mountain Guides and Secret Solstice

This interview is part of the project La Contra Islandia that puts Icelandic and Spanish cultures in contact

Pictures by Leana Clothier


Read the full article in Spanish

Birgir’s music style is considered to be a blend of pop rock and folk rock

Don´t miss

Check all you can do in Iceland, summer and winter

Birgir Stefansson Interview

born on September 9th, 1992 in Reykjavík, Iceland. It´s his first time in Secret Solstice

The charm of this promising and talented artist is not disregard for his fans including my photographer who admited Birgir Steinn Stefansson is very handsome

Birgir Stefansson Interview Jordi Pujolà pict Leana Clothier
Birgir Stefansson Interview by Jordi Pujolà

Albums on Spotify:

  • 2017 Birgir EP
  • 2018 Glorious and Home

  • Do you live from music or do you do something else?

I also work as a flight assistant for Icelandair in summer time (he missed the Lava cave concert and almost couldn´t come today for his own concert in Secret Solstice for a problem in an engine in Copenhagen)

It´s funny  because mixing music with that is pretty ridiculous, but it works Ok

When I have days off I use them in the studio

  • Have you ever been to Spain?

Yes, many times.

My parents own an apartment in Torrevieja Alicante and

I usually go once per summer,

but I haven´t been in 2 years because I was finishing University, Social studies

Birgir Stefansson Interview the Icelandic Chris Martin
Birgir Stefansson Interview summer 2018 Secret Solstice

Birgir Stefansson in Spain

  • What do you like from Spain

The weather, the heat and the sun; the food (la paella)…

I´ve never been to your city Barcelona, but it would be nice to go some day. My parents went there and described it as a beautiful city

Birgir Stefansson Interview we had fun in Secret Solstice 2018
Birgir Stefansson Interview we had fun talking about Spanish traditions
  • The most shocking thing of Spain for an Icelander?

Definetely la siesta, sometimes I went to the store at 4 PM and it was closed. Why? Is siesta, man

Recomendations in Iceland

  • What places do you recommend in Iceland?

The Blue Lagoon, you have to try it once and you don´t have to do it again. I shockely admit I just went once (Arnór Dan prefers the swimming pool)

and Into the glacier, it´s amazing

Birgir Stefansson Interview Secret Solstice 2018
Birgir Stefansson Interview playing in Secret Solstice
  • People say you are the Icelandic Chris Martin (Coldplay)

I take it as a compliment. It´s one of my favourite bands and Chris Martin is one of my favourite singers and songwriters. I´ve been listenning to the band for almost my whole life. There is  influence into me, so  people can see the similarities

  • When did you start with music?

The music have been always on me. I started playing piano when I was 10 years old, but I quit beacause I didn´t like the classes

I also practiced drums for 3 years, actually I was a drummer playing in many bands

Birgir Stefansson Interview ivenue SecretSolstice 18 Jordi Pujola
Birgir Stefansson Interview in the venue Secret Solstice 2018

Then my father has been a singer since I know myself (Stefan Hilmarsson, the Icelandic Eros Ramazzotti in my opinion) and I finished mixed up in the singing and songwriting and I like it. However, it was not until 2 years I started singing my own songs

  • Can you recommend some Icelandic artists?

That is a tough question, but I would say GDRN (Gúðrun) a mix of jazz and RNB and Raven

Birgir Stefansson Interview by Jordi Pujolá and Iceland Rovers

Birgir Stefansson Interview Secret Solstice 18 Iceland
Birgir Stefansson Interview in Secret Solstice Iceland 2018


Blog English

Asa Interview

Asa Interview by Jordi Pujolá, Spanish writer in Iceland with the support of Icelandic Mountain Guides, Iceland Rovers (tailor trips) and Secret Solstice

Read the full article in Spanish

«I don´t listen to much music because I think it interferes in the process of my song´s writing»

Read the article of the summer 2018 in Iceland

Interview Asa Elinar Gymly Secret Solstice 18
Interview Asa Elinar in Secret Solstice 2018

Don´t miss

Check all you can do in Iceland, summer and winter

Asa Elinar interview


Ása Elínardóttir is an Icelandic 27 years old girl who sings R&B with and incredible and deep black voice  (she is the Aretha Franklin of Iceland), but she has platinum blonde hair and blue eyes

«At the age of 9 she became obsessed by Johny Cash»

She showed up on the stage with a denim jacket, leather black trousers and sexy red shoes, she´s tall and moved like a model, her band is very professional as well

I interviewed Ása Elínar after her concert in Secret Solstice 2018

She is a great singer and composer (and mother), but also runs the restaurant Reykjavik Chips, they only cook french fries, but they are delicious and have all kind of sauces


The interview to Ása in Secret Solstice Iceland

  • Tell me something about your background?

I always liked music, but at the age of 9 I became obsessed by Johny Cash. First I wrote poems, afterwards I started singing…

and now no one can stop her

  • What kind of music do you like?

It can sound a bit weird, but I don´t listen to much music because I think it interferes in the process of my song´s writing. I don´t want to be under the influence of some other music

Interview Asa Icelandic artist SecretSolstice 2018
Interview Asa Icelandic singer Secret Solstice
  • Do you live exclusively from music?

No, we own the Restaurant Reykjavik chips (as many artists in Iceland, the little population doesn’t provide audience enough)

Read the interview to Arnór Dan, leader of Agent Fresco)

Ása likes Sjón (songwriter of Björk) and the talented Valdimar

  • What is your favourite Icelandic author?

There are many and really good, but I would say Sjón because he is also poet, songwriter and more. Read the interview

  • Is it your first time in Secret Solstice?

No, actually it is the second time. I really would like to play in Iceland Airways as well

  • Any recommendation of the line up of Secret Solstice 2018?

Yes of course, may be my favourite is Valdimar

  • Have you ever been to Spain?

Yes, many time. We have some friends in Denia and go twice or three times a year

  • What is the best from Spain?

I like the people, the food (Spanish ham), the heat, the sun…

Singles by Ása Elínardóttir on Spotify

  • Ran Away 2017
  • Crocodile Tears 2017
  • Always 2017
  • Hurts 2017
  • Starlight 2017
  • Broken Wings 2017
  • Paradise of Love 2016

Asa interview by the Spanish writer in Iceland Jordi Pujolá

Blog English

Ottar Nordfjord interview

Ottar Nordfjord interview is an article by Jordi Pujolá, Spanish writer in Iceland, with the support of Icelandic Mountain Guides and Iceland Rovers

Read the full article in Spanish

Article on Morgunblaðið about the project on this blog

Óttar: «I think I´m no coming back to Iceland to live»

Ottar Nordfjordur interview author Iceland Morgunbladid
Ottar Nordfjordur interview pict

Author Ottar Nordfjord Interview

Óttar Norðfjörð (the meaning is fiord in the North) is an author born in Iceland (Reykjavik, 1980) who grew up in Norðurmýri and now he lives in Barcelona. He studied Philosophy and writes crime novels and poetry. He is the Icelandic Stieg Larsson. His books are translated in Spanish, German, French, Dutch and Macedonian. He likes chess and visual arts

La Contra Islandia is project that puts in contact Icelandic and Spanish cultures. Read some other interviews

Interview in La Central

I interviewed him in La Central bookstore in L´Eixample, his lovely neighbourhood in Barcelona. I brought him a little gift from Iceland, but what he liked the most was the yellow plastic bag of the supermarket Bonus where it  was wrapped, the one with the stamp of a pink pig

Don´t miss:

Do you miss Iceland?

«Yes, I miss Reykjavik a bit, but I think I´m not coming back to Iceland to live. May be for a time to teach my son the Icelandic»


«Because I am happy in Barcelona (he moved in 2007), I like the city, the weather, the food, the sea, the atmosphere, the culture, the shows, the restaurants, the clubs, the mountains, the breeze…»

Óttar is a quiet man, blue eyes, glasses and hipster beard. No one would say he writes so Machiavellian novels of crimes and Nazis

Novels by Ottar Nordfjord

Ottar Norfjordur interview La Cruz Solar novel Spanish
Ottar Norfjordur interview book in Spanish

Icelandic writer in Spain

Óttar is a case similar to me but conversely. He is an Icelandic writer in Spain, lives in Barcelona and his wife (Elo Vazquez) is Spanish and I am a Spanish writer in Iceland with Icelandic wife (and I am not coming back to live in Barcelona)

Ottar Nordfjordur interview

Elo Vazquez and Óttar are the authors of a serial of cartoons on the magazine Reykjavik Grapevine; she is also the director of the video Mount Eerv by the band I am Dive (2013)

What don´t you like from Spain?

«I don´t like the traffic, the noise and having political prisoners (even though they did something illegal)»

What do you think about the independence of Catalonia?

«With all my respects and from a neutral point of view, I think we should pay attention to the inhabitants of Catalonia against the independence as well because they are almost the 50%»

Entrevista Ottar Nordfjord de Jordi Pujolá
Óttar Nordfjord Interview in La Central Barcelona

You said publicly the Icelandic media were mislead about the conflict in Catalonia

«Yes, because according to the Icelandic media everyone in Catalonia wanted the independence and the rest of Spain didin´t allowed them to get it and that´s not true. People in Iceland were very mislead»

Other opinions of Icelanders about the independence of Catalonia

Óttar lived 4 years in Andalucía (2011-2015) as well:

«My wife is from Sevilla (Óttar spells it correctly, the most of Icelanders say Sevila), but I missed the sea and the nature»

How did you meet her?

«She is a Spanish teacher for foreigners, but we met in Scotland when taking ERASMUS (2004)»

How do you like Sevilla?

«It´s a pretty city, small as Reykjavik, with orange trees, astonishing architecture, good tapas, happy people… a huge contrast for an Icelander»

Do you keep any Icelandic tradition living in Spain?

Yes, we are not going to say the name of our son to anyone until the day of baptism. My parents in law are a bit shocked

Do you make a living only with books?

«No, I have been screenwriting for 4 years, but I miss writing novels. You know, to be the boss of the whole process, touch the book and so, but the cinema industry pays much more»

By the way, the author Hallgrimur Helgason also told me he earns more money painting rather than writing (read the interview, it includes English link), he has the record of the painting more expensive in Iceland

Ottar Nordfjordur interview is an article by Jordi Pujolá, Spanish writer  in Iceland

Blog English

How are the Icelanders?

How are the Icelanders is a translation of the original article Cómo son los islandeses? on the blog

Read the full article in Spanish

Read Morgunblaðið article about the cultural aim of this blog

With the support of Icelandic Mountain Guides and Iceland Rovers. 15% discount code ESCRITOR2018

Check all you can do in Iceland (summer and winter)

How are the Icelanders? contrasts in people and nature
How are the Icelanders? contrasts in nature and people as well

How are the Icelanders?

My name is Jordi Pujolá, I am a Spanish- Catalan writer who lives in Iceland since 2013, my wife is Icelandic and my kids were 4 and 6 when we moved, so I am very familiar with the Icelandic traditions and integrated into society quite well

Don´t miss:

How are the Icelanders? neutral point of view
How are the Icelanders? Jordi Pujolá Spanish writer in Iceland

People want to know how the Icelanders are

I´ve been asked many times how the Icelanders are. I wrote about their traditions, the best, the worst, the weather, the nature…, but never about their character or personality. Right now I am going to tell you the 10 characteristics that describe the Icelanders  better for me in general from a neutral position

First of all, I see many contrasts, they can be ice but also lava

Report of the Summer 2018 in Iceland (English link)

How are the Icelanders?

  • Impatient: They are used to be few and don´t like waiting. The problem is worse when they are driving because many don´t respect the give ways, so you always have to keep your food over the brake of your car in Reykjavik. They can´t stand the lines in shops and get very frustrated. They only wait if the police close the roads for bad weather

    Cómo son los islandeses vista Faxaflói desde Höfði
    Faxaflói from Höfði
  • Unpunctual: Icelanders are known in the Nordic Countries as the southerners of Scandinavia, you have to tell them that the party starts one hour before to have them in time

Þetta reddast!

  • Competitive but apathetic: Even though they are few people,  they are very competitive and patriots (the best example is the success of the National Football team). Although the whole country cheers up the karaoke team as well. On the other hand, at the time of solving problems that don´t concern them directly, they behave quite careless and always say this sentence: Þetta reddast (it will fixed by itself)
  • Business persons: Some people say they are greedy. The main cause of the recession of 2007 was because Icelanders went into debt over the assets of the country to run bigger business. And we are on the verge of a new crisis because the tourism has grown up with no control and  no money  invested in new infrastructures or better service

    Cómo son los islandeses conocen los límites del tiempo y la naturaleza
    The beauty of Seljalandsfoss waterfall

Range Rovers 15.000.000 ISK worth on the streets

  • High standard of living: the Icelanders are proud of their status in the world and they like showing off all the expensive houses, cars and clothes they can buy. However, the prices in Iceland are so high (due to no competition, monopolies, isolation, habit…) that they are also very expensive for them. So getting into debt is something common, people buy luxury things with no money and went to bankruptcy when the crisis comes. Besides, the Icelandic Króna is very sensitive and the mortgages are updated according to the inflation


  • Workaholic: they are addicted to coffee but also to work. Moonlighting is very popular, may be for 2 reasons: little population needs to cover all the jobs and to keep their high standard of living. Check my interview to the guys of HAM (English link)
  • Trusting: In the 80´s there were no tourists in Iceland, they only allowed some Polish and Thai colonies to work on the fish. Iceland is still a rural country (you see it clearly when you go out from the city) and Reykjavik is a village. Icelanders are used to leaving their laptops on the bar´s table, going to the toilet, come back and find them. On the other hand, they are not idiots and there are not second chances, if you cheat on them, they put you on the black list and everyone notices that

Drinking to fight shyness

  • Shy: They are not cold (but quit cold-natured, they are used to chip heating and their houses are very warm despite the bad weather), Icelanders are honest and nice people, they need a good hug as anyone in this world, but in the beginning they are extremely shy (I think they prefer to find a tiger rather than a neighbour in the elevator). On the other hand, when they drink, became too much affectionate. My personal reflection is: Iceland is the forbidden country (beer, cheeses, TV, foreign currencies… were forbidden) and the land was over other Northern kingdoms til 1944. The Norwegian king took over Iceland after the Commonwealth (930-1262) because chieftains were in constantly fight. In conclusion: Do the Icelanders need an extra control in order of not behaving as the wildest vikings?

    Cómo son los islandeses tomar cerveza en las terrazas de Reykjavik
    The summer is short, everyone has the obligation of going out if the sun shines

The plumber takes the shoes off

  • Follow the rules. I really feel well on this civilised world: No one smokes in the disco or the airports, the streets are clean, cars don´t honk if your vehicle stalls in front of a green traffic light, the plumber takes the shoes off before coming in your house…

Give a book as a present´s Christmas

How are the Icelanders is an article by the Spanish writer Jordi Pujolá

Novels by Jordi Pujolá (FNAC, Bóksala Stúdenta, Penninn, Casa del Libro, Amazon…)

Facebook page

Video  channel Youtube

Blog English

Aron Can interview

Aron Can interview is an article by Jordi Pujolá included on the section La Contra Islandia (interviews to Icelandic and Spanish artists to put in contact both cultures) with the support of Icelandic Mountain Guides and Secret Solstice

Read the documentary of the summer in Iceland 2018

Interview Aron Can


Read the full interview in Spanish

Biography Aron Can

Aron Can Gultekin is an Icelandic rapper (hip hop) born on the 18th. November 1999, his mother is Icelandic and his father is Turkish, for that reason his skin and hair are darker. He visits his family in Turkey every summer

Traditions Iceland

Aron Can raps only in Icelandic, but he is open to sing in English in the future

Some rappers of the old generation as Blaz Roca (read the interview to the father of rap) put Aron Can in the category of RNB music and probably they are right

Multicultural talented boy

Aron Can started writing songs when he was only ten years old. His mother listened to  Rock & Roll and his father traditional Turkish music

All kind of audience

Aron Can, song writer and singer, he is the most famous rapper in Iceland, his songs are rebellious, romantic and appealing for all kind of audience (parents and children). His songs are all the time on the radio, movies, advertisements… of course he has the best sponsors in Iceland

Aron Can in Spain

I interviewed Aron Can on the backstage of Secret Solstice 2018 after his performance. He was polite, but tired. In the middle of the conversation his friend Gisli Pálmi (the craziest rapper in Iceland) jumped out to his neck and embraced him for 3 minutes

Aron Can interview in Secret Solstice 18 con escritor Jordi Pujolà
Aron Can interview Secret Solstice 2018 por Jordi Pujolà

I asked him a few questions about Spain

He has been only in Lloret de Mar (Costa Brava, Catalunya) and he loves it. His favorite meal was not the Spanish ham, Spanish omelette or paella; it was the pizza that one of the restaurants of the area made

Gisli Pálmi AKA Secret Solstice picture

What is your favorite food in Iceland?

The best food in Iceland for  the rapper Aron Can is pylsa (Icelnadic hot dog), good and cheap

What areas do you recommend to visit in Iceland?

Well, I guess the touristic spots are really nice if you visit Iceland for the first time; however, my favorite place is the Grafarvogur, the neighbourhood where I was born and grew up

Novels Jordi Pujolá Bóksala Stúdenta, Penninn Airport, FNAC, Amazon, Casa del Libro…

Albums Aron Can

  1. Þekkir Stráginn (2016)
  2. ÍNÓTT (2017)
  3. Trúpíter (2018)

Entrevistas a otros músicos de hip hop islandeses

All of these singers are really popular in Iceland, people stop them on the street to take selfies and signatures. The aim of this blog is to introduce Icelandic artists to Spaniards and vice versa

Don´t miss:

Interview Aron Can is an article by Jordi Pujolá with the support of Iceland Rovers and Secret Solstice

Blog English

Baltasar Kormákur Interview

Baltasar Kormákur interview is an article by Jordi Pujolá with the support of Icelandic Mountain Guides and RIFF Reykjavik International Film Festival

Don´t miss the awards of the Festival below

Baltasar Kormákur interview

Read the full article in Spanish

Read the article on Morgunblaðið about this blog

Entrevista Baltasar Kormákur en RIFF

Baltasar Kormákur interview is part of the project La Contra Islandia that tries to put in contact Icelandic, Catalan and Spanish culture, read more interviews

Check all you can do in Iceland

Pictures by Guðný Hilmarsdóttir @gudnyhilmars

Interview Baltasar Kormákur

Baltasar Kórmakur Samper is one of the most acclaimed film directors (also actor and producer) in Iceland (Reykjavik, February 66) and he has won endless awards. He started in the  best school, the theatre

Entrevista Baltasar Kormákur un catalán en Reykjavik
Entrevista Baltasar Kormákur y Jordi Pujolá dos catalanes en Reykjavik

Biography Baltasar Kormákur

Baltasar´s father is the talented Catalan painter Baltasar Samper who lives as well in Iceland

The saga of the Baltasars goes on and the son of Baltasar Kormákur is Baltasar Breki Samper, but the strip is very high

The big documentary of the summer in Iceland 2018

Director of the successful serial Trapped

Baltasar Kormákur is also the director of the addictive serial Óferð (Trapped); we are looking forward to watching the second sequel (not only in Iceland because it has been translate it in several languages)

Some great movies by Baltasar Kormákur

Adrift an amazing movie on the Reykjavik International Film Festival

Baltasar Kormákur and the main actress in the film introduced Adrift on RIFF

Even though the plot is about the typical wreck based on a true story, the film keeps your attention until the end (very shocking by the way) and it has surprising twists. The actors are lovely. I strongly recommend it. The audience of Cinema Paradis clapped a lot on the third of October 2018

Baltasar Kormákur Samper and the main actress (she was very different with dark hair), Shailene Woodley, answered the questions of the audience after the screening in front of the most important Icelandic media

A complicated shooting on the sea

The actors said that to charge money for performing in Fidji islands was a kind of a dream; however, after 3 months in the open sea, filming 14 hours per day changed their minds

After puking the whole day the acting was more realistic

Baltasar Kórmakur said the actors performed better at the end of the day, when they were exhausted and had vomited all the food

Baltasar was professional sailor

Shailene said Baltasar was the only crew member who felt well all the time on the sea, the explanation is he was a professional sailor in Iceland and was on the verge of going to the Olympic Games. He also shot in really extremely conditions when filming Everest

Interview Baltasar Kormákur

Jordi Pujolá, writer and blogger in (offical press at RIFF) had a private interview with Baltasar

  • Do you speak Spanish or Catalan?

I speak Spanish but not Catalan. My father didn´t talk to me in Catalan and my mother is Icelandic

  • What language do you speak to your father, Baltasar Samper?

In Icelandic

Baltasar Kormakur interview in RIFF Adrift Shailene Woodley in RIFF
Baltasar Kormakur interview with Shailene Woodley in RIFF

Catalonia independence

  • What do you think about the independence of Catalonia?

Well, it´s a very delicate issue, I wouldn´t like to bother anyone and least of all my father (laughs), but I think every country should decide about its autonomy. Icelanders are very sensitive about this situation because we are a small country that became independent from Denmark not time ago (1947), so we always support these kind of little nations (the poet Sjón said the same when I asked him the same question)

Entrevista Baltasar Kormákur en RIFF festival Intrenacional cine Reykjavik
Entrevista Baltasar Kormákur en festival de cine RIFF de Reykjavik

Spanish Cinema

  • How do you like Spanish cinema?

Well I met Victoria Abril directing 101 Reykjavik; I know the most famous from Hollywood and my favourite director is Carlos Saura

Entrevista Baltasar Kormákur entrevista de Jordi Pujolà, con Iceland Rovers y RIFF

Entrevista Baltasar Kormákur el mejor director de Islandia hijo del pintor Baltasar Samper
Entrevista Baltasar Kormákur el mejor director de Islandia de padre catalán

Awards RIFF 2018

  1. The Golden Egg/ Vesna by Nathalia Konchalovsky.


  1. International shorts: Special mention / Black Line by Mark Olexa, Francesca Scalisi.


  1. Best International short / Gulyabani by Gurcan Keltek.


  1. Best Icelandic short / Jörmundur by Maddie O´hara, Jack Bushell & Alex Herz.


  1. A different tomorrow/ América by Erick Stoll and Chase Whiteside.


  1. New Visions: Special mention / Styx by Wolfgang Fischer.


  1. The main prize of the RIFF festival, The Golden Puffin goes to Knife + Heart by Yann Gonzalez.



Firstly, the members of the jury would like to thank all the filmmakers that so generously shared their stories with us. It was both a privilege and a pleasure to watch eight film from ten different countries. Each of these films offered either a window into the realm of human emotions, personal relations, composite cultures, or a peak into the heart of the filmmaker himself – and in some cases, all the above. These films touch upon brave and complex themes, brave and complex characters, brave and complex issues. We might indeed live in a brave new world, but at the same time we also live in a complex one. Thus, sometimes – the most complex of issues, need the simplest means for them to become clear and transparent to us. And such is the case with the premise of the film, that we, the jury, unanimously agreed upon. Few things are more fragile and precious as the relationship between a parent and a child; regardless of their age. To dive into a theme of a broken family that seeks healing, in the form of a short film – is not only difficult – it ́s almost mad. Yet, the filmmaker manages to deliver a deeply complex personal story between a mother and daughter, and their journey from utter lack of connection, to a new beginning – in an effortless, humorous and credible way. We the jury, thus find it quite fitting, to hand the Golden Egg, to a story of a mother ́s love to her daughter. The Russian film Vesna, directed by Nathalia Konchalovksy, is not only a beautiful film, but also quite of a storytelling achievement, full of vivid characters, impressive performances and sophisticated filmmaking.




Our prize for the Best Icelandic short goes to a film we felt was a beautiful, reverent ode to an interesting subject: the jury is proud to award Jörmundur, directed by Jack Bushell and Nicole Stock.

In the International Shorts competition, the jury would like to first award a Special Mention to the film Black Line, directed by Francesca Salisi and Mark Olexa, who told a big story through subtle but powerful means.


In a diverse and a frequently revelatory shorts program, one film stood for our jury as a unanimous and signifiant accomplishment. For its formal daring, thematic scope, and sociohistorical insight, the jury awards the International Shorts top prize to Gulyabani, by Gürcan Keltek.




Our jury from Riga, Reykjavík and New York all connected equally with this soulful story of family guilt, responsibility and most of all, love. We were truly impressed by this film from new directors set in a small town in Mexico. The Award for Best Documentary goes to… América.




For technically brilliant direction and an honest performance by Susanna Wolff, we give Honorable Mention to STYX by Wolfgang Fischer for his economical storytelling that illustrates the moral dilemma of Europe.



A playful homage to cinema and a celebration of queer subculture, director Yann Gonzalez defies labels using confidence, humor and a thrilling juxtaposition of love and loss. A juicy treat for all senses, the Golden Puffin is awarded to KNIFE + HEART.

Blog English

Mads Mikkelsen interview

Mads Mikkelsen interview

The RIFF International Cinema Festival of Reykjavik gave the Creative Excellence Aware to the actor Mads Mikkelsen in Höfði, the famous house where Gorbachev and Reagan signed the end of the Cold War

Read the full interview in Spanish

With the support of RIFF, Icelandic Mountain Guides and Iceland Rovers (15% discount promo code ESCRITOR2018)

Don´t miss:

Mads Mikkelsen interview

Very important guests came to the party such as Vigdís Finnbogadóttir, first woman president of Iceland, Dagur Eggertsson, current mayor, and many actors, journalists…

The blog is press official at RIFF

The Spanish writer Jordi Pujolá tries to put in contact Icelandic and Spanish cultures

Read more interviews

Mads Mikkelsen interview

Mads Mikkelsen is a synonym to the great success the Danish film industry has had since the mid-1990s. He was born in Østerbro, Copenhagen, to Bente Christiansen, a nurse, and Henning Mikkelsen, a banker

Starting out as a low-life pusher/junkie in the 1996 success Pusher: un paseo por el abismo (1996), he slowly grew to become one of Denmark’s biggest movie actors. The success in his home country includes Blinkende lygter (2000), En kort en lang (2001) and the Emmy-winning police series Rejseholdet (2000)

His success has taken him abroad where he has played alongside Gérard Depardieu in Dina (2002) as well as in the Spanish comedy Torremolinos 73 (2003) and the American blockbuster El rey Arturo (2004)

He played the role of Dr. Hannibal Lecter in the critically acclaimed NBC series Hannibal (2013), from 2013 to 2015, with great success

Source IMDb

Interview Mads Mikkelsen

Mads Mikkelsen is a talented actor and a very kind person

He was surrounded by the main Icelandic media (TV, Radio, press…), but still had time to a Spanish writer who is doing a project about Icelandic and Spanish culture. We sat down on the same table as Gorbachev and Reagan did

What was your experience when you were acting in Torremolinos 73?

«It was very interesting, we were 5 actors from Denmark who were invited into the film because it was a part of the film’s story, that this production company of porn film was coming into the main character’s story

«No one spoke English in this film and I spoke no Spanish, then some surreal things happened»

They forgot us, the whole crew left, so I was alone, standing there with the Speedo’s on the beach, I didn’t know where I was and didn’t understand anything.  But there was a very good energy. Spaniards are sweet and funny

Favourite in Spain

«Spanish cinema is very beautiful for us to watch and they definitely have a different temperament. A lot of actors have became famous and the ones I know the most are Almodovar and Javier Bardem.  The actors we know the most are the ones working in America, but obviously to get to know the business really well I would have to go to Spain.»