Montreal’s International Literary Festival Honors Francisco Goldman with Premio Azul

Blue Metropolis Emphasizes Multilingualism, Bringing Together People from Different Cultures

Francisco Goldman onstage with journalist Ingrid Bejerman
at the Blue Metropolis International Literary Festival.

(Photo by Louis-Étienne Dore)
Hartford, Connecticut, May 17, 2017 - Francisco Goldman, Allan K. Smith Professor of English Language and Literature, was honored with the 2017 Premio Metropolis Azul for his book The Interior Circuit. The April 27 award ceremony, followed by an onstage interview of Goldman, was part of the annual Blue Metropolis International Literary Festival, which took place in downtown Montreal, April 24-30.

In addition to receiving his award, Goldman participated in five other events of the festival. Goldman, who is of Guatemalan-Catholic and Jewish-American parentage, joined author David Treuer to discuss the effect of cultural heritage on their work in an event titled “Culture, Kinship and the Written Word.” He also participated in “Femincidio No More” to talk about violence against women in the 21st century, especially in Latin America.

The Interior Circuit is an account of Goldman’s attempt “to live in Mexico City without Aura,” his late wife, who died in a surfing accident on the western coast of Mexico in 2007. Goldman said, “Writers write about what matters to them. Aura’s death was the most important, staggeringly difficult thing that’s ever happened to me, but the years of being with her were incredibly important as well.” He explained that in The Interior Circuit and Say Her Name, his novel chronicling his love for and the loss of Aura, he wrote in part to narrate time.

Reflecting on all of the books he has written, Goldman said, “Once I finish, I don’t dwell on it. All of the books I have written are a part of something bigger, so I like to think of all my books as what lessons I can take from them. I really feel happy that I was able to write about Aura, but what resonates with me is what I did to make them [the books]. The structure of the books and the way in which I found to narrate and move in time through a novel demonstrate how I’ve developed their [the books’] art over the years.”

Goldman receives the Barnes & Noble Writers for
Writers Award at Poets & Writers' Annual Dinner.

(Photo by Margarita Corporan)
The Premio Metropolis Azul is the latest in a series of honors Goldman received this spring. In March, he was awarded the Poets & Writers 2017 Barnes & Noble Writers for Writers Award, which spotlighted his role as a champion of other writers. The award is in recognition of the prize Goldman established in memory of his late wife, the Premio Aura Estrada, awarded every two years to emerging female writers in Latin America. Next November will mark the fifth Premio Aura Estrada. “We’re very proud of that prize, and many say it’s become the most important prize for women writing in Latin America,” Goldman said. Recent winners include Veronica Gerber Bicecci and Liliana Colanzi.

Also, on April 12, Goldman was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a society that honors the world’s most accomplished scholars, artists, philanthropists, and business leaders.

Goldman has encouraged aspiring writers at Trinity through his courses: “The Latin American Novel in English and Spanish,” “Literary Nonfiction Narrative,” and “Advanced Creative Writing: Fiction.” “I love teaching at Trinity, and I always enjoy my three months a year here,” Goldman said.

Nick Zaffiro ’17, an English major from Lexington, Massachusetts, feels honored to have Goldman as his thesis adviser, noting, “My favorite part about working with Francisco also reflects his biggest impact on me. It’s his passion, which is contagious.” Zaffiro also said of Goldman, “He loves good writing. And the amount of confidence and spirit he has imbued in me over a short time is remarkable.”

Lauren Glasse ’18, an English major with a concentration in creative writing who is minoring in studio arts, said, “I have grown more confident in experimenting and trying new things in my writing, which I owe to his encouragement.” Glasse, from Montclair, New Jersey, added, “Having a professor who appreciates my work for what it is and encourages me to push it forward and see how far I can run with it is really inspiring.”

Goldman also frequently writes for The New Yorker on topics such as immigration and Central America. He said his writing for The New Yorker is important to him because it gives him the ability to draw attention to important issues.

A Trinity College faculty member since 2002, Goldman is the author of four novels and one work of nonfiction, and his books have been published in many languages. He has held fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Cullman Center at the New York Public Library, and the American Academy in Berlin.

Written by Annelise Gilbert ’17