Regional Government of Madrid brings literature closer to public transport users in Madrid with ‘Libros a la calle’ [Books to the streets]
Once again this year, the Regional Government of Madrid brings literature closer to public transport users with a new edition of ‘Libros a la calle’, an initiative that is now in its 22nd edition, which will offer users the chance to read fragments of 16 texts of great literary interest.
The Regional Councillor for Culture and Tourism, Marta Rivera, together with the Regional Councillor for Transport, Mobility and Infrastructure and Chairman of Metro de Madrid, Ángel Garrido, presented the campaign today at Ópera station, which commits this year to inclusive reading by adding 300 braille sheets this year. The sheets, which respond to the regional government’s commitment to accessibility, contain texts from six of the authors which, due to their size and to make them easy to locate, can be found in the front carriage of Metro trains.
Marta Rivera highlighted that ‘Libros a la calle’ is “an example of encouraging reading and cooperation between public and private entities, bringing culture closer to millions of passengers”. The regional councillor also underlined that the aim of ‘Libros a la calle’ is to arouse the curiosity of and ask questions of readers from Madrid and people visiting. Accordingly, after reading the fragments on display, they will have the chance to continue reading by going to a bookshop or a library and finish reading the story they began during their journey. In fact, readers can attend any of the 12 Bibliometro points located in different stations without even leaving the underground.
For Ángel Garrido, the question “Why read in the underground?” has a very clear response, “Why not read anywhere?” Metro de Madrid is much more than a mere infrastructure. It forms part of our landscape and our lives. By means of this initiative, we join the game of reality and fiction in which we find a literary underground that can be perused while travelling on the physical underground”.
Furthermore, this edition of ‘Libros a la Calle’ coincides with the celebration of the centenary of Metro de Madrid and, in commemoration of this event, this will include cartoons dedicated to the Madrid underground of one of our great graphic humourists, born in the year the underground as opened: Antonio Mingote. His graphic humour is doubly represented with another great humourist, Antonio Fraguas “Forges”.
QUALITY LITERARY OFFER
Among the authors selected is the poet Ida Vitale, with her poem ‘Fortuna’, Cervantes prize-winner in the last edition. More traditional Spanish poetry is represented by León Felipe on the fiftieth anniversary of his ‘Antología Rota’, with his wonderful tribute to Don Quixote in his poem ‘Vencidos’. Other fiftieth anniversaries to celebrate are that of Ignacio Aldecoa, with a fragment of his ‘Young Sánchez’ and of Francisco García Pavón, by the hand of his unforgettable policeman ‘Plinio, en El Caso de las Hermanas Coloradas’.
‘Tirano Banderas’, by Valle-Inclán, represents our classics in this edition. In addition, the national prizes for Young Poetry and Honour are written by two women, the poet, Berta García Faet and the artist Ana Penyas. An invitation to reflect on the future of our times is proposed to us by the latest ‘Antonio de Sancha’ prize-winner, Adela Cortina, in a fragment from her work entitled ‘¿Para qué sirve realmente…? La ética’.
Other writers represented include Rosa Chacel, with one of her better-known and more emblematic novels ‘Memorias de Leticia Valle’, and the poet Alfonsina Storni on the centenary of hits ‘Antología Mayor’, which is doubly memorable thanks to the tribute paid to him by Félix Luna with ‘Alfonsina y el Mar’, also present in this year’s edition of ‘Libros a la Calle’. The authentic note is added by the memorable Luis Carandell, in his ‘Vivir en Madrid’. And the R.A.E [Spanish Royal Language Academy] is also present at this literary event, with a text on the use of emoticons and emojis.
And in Lorca Year, as Marta Rivera mentioned, ’Libros a la calle’ “pays a small tribute to the poet, with the inclusion of a vinyl poster with a fragment of the immortal ‘Bodas de sangre’”.
Each text is accompanied by the work of an illustrator, who makes it more attractive for the reader. In this edition, the campaign has included such collaborator as Fernando Vicente, Al Sánchez, Marga Lliso del Hoyo, Lara Lars and the recently deceased Jose Luis Cabañas.
MADRID, REGION WITH MOST READERS
One of the aims of ‘Libros a la Calle’ is to arouse the curiosity of readers, reminding them of works they have already read and helping them discover others. And this has gone down well among the people of Madrid, the region that has the highest rate of readers in the country: 72.8% compared with the national average of 61.8%, according to the report entitled ‘Reading and Book Buying Habits in Spain 2018’, prepared by the Federation of Publishing Guilds in Spain.
The people of Madrid, according to this report, are also those who most read on public transport, at 29.9%, compared with the national average of 15.6%.The Regional Government of Madrid was well aware of this figure when converting journeys by residents of Madrid and visitors into a trip open to literature.