On The Road With Spain's New Left

The prime minister has been punched in the face. While at a campaign event in the northwestern city of Pontevedra, a teenage boy slammed his fist into Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, breaking his glasses. Within the opposition political party Podemos, fear immediately erupts that the boy is one of their supporters. However, in time the story gains clarity: it was a relative, not a Podemos supporter, who punched the prime minster. The teen, it is revealed, is Rajoy’s wife’s cousin’s son

Catalonia voted the way it did because of dismissal from Spain's PM

Last night in the centre of Barcelona, a political coalition who turned yesterday’s regional elections into a plebiscite on independence took to the stage to exuberant cheers. The results were in: the pro-independence parties had won a parliamentary majority. Speaker after speaker praised the high-turnout and positive campaign in front of the large crowd. The results, they proclaimed, had given them a mandate to begin the process of unilaterally declaring independence from Spain.

Searching for Truman Capote in the Idyllic Spanish Village Where He Wrote His Chilling Masterpiece

Capote was restless that first summer. He stayed first in this hotel room, then two houses that no longer exist. He left for Switzerland after six months with 35,000 words—half the length of an average book. Part One was complete: a good start. But he knew he would miss the deadline agreed to with Random House. It was also near here, the following summer, next to the beach in a house with a chef, that he reached the halfway mark. A new trial looked likely to be set. (It never was.) He became ang

From Protest to Power: How Spain's Social Movements Are Using Democracy to Bring Change

In little over a week, activist Ada Colau, a woman with no prior political experience, will become the mayor of Spain’s second largest city. A prominent anti-austerity voice in Barcelona, she is the ex-head of the Platform for People Affected by Mortgages, a campaign group that is responsible for stopping more than 1,000 evictions in a country where more than 350,000 unemployed families have been forced out of their homes following the financial crisis. After months of campaigning on an anti-aus

Put Down Orwell and Pick Up Contemporary Spanish Literature

A small publishing house in Madrid is hard at work changing perceptions of Spain abroad. Hispabooks, set up by two English-speaking Spanish editors, published seven contemporary works of translated Spanish literary fiction last year.  These works, diverse in their style and content, are challenging the stereotype of modern Spain.  The Anglocentric reading of Spain as an exotic, balmy, bull-fighting, jamon-eating land is shifting, as topical books by innovative Spanish writers are made available.

Best Spanish city to live in? No, it’s not Barcelona or Madrid

How should you decide where to live in Spain? Barcelona and Madrid both offer world-renowned museums and art galleries that house priceless pieces.   One has a beach, the other an enormous palace.  They are regularly listed as two of the most desirable cities to visit for their food, music and history, but according to the data, you’re better off living in Malaga or Oviedo than either Madrid or Barcelona. Urban Audit, a research group from the European Commission, earlier this year released the

The Battle over Airbnb

The battle to be able to share your apartment with some of the eight million tourists visiting Barcelona this year is on: the authorities are pursuing some hosts with a 2007 law that sanctions fines of between €9,000 and €90,000, and hosts are uniting to call for transparent and fair legislation. The sharing website, Airbnb, is at the centre of this fight. It lists the Catalan capital as its fourth (sometimes third) most popular city, behind New York, London and Paris. Unregulated, yet widely us

Review of Necessary Errors by Caleb Crain

What happens when you come to the party late? So late that the music has stopped, all the fun people have left and only the lights left on? This is the landscape of Caleb Crain’s debut novel Necessary Errors. The year is 1990. Czechoslovakia is in the wake of the Velvet Revolution following the fall of the Berlin Wall. Jacob, our twenty-something American protagonist, arrives just when the student radicals are back in their classes and the 500,000 non-violent protesters are off the streets.

"Do You Miss Death?" Asks The Voice At the End of the Phone: The Story of An Exiled Author

One afternoon in 2007, Basem Al-Nabriss, poet and author, incensed by the death of his friend caught in the crossfire of the 2007 Hamas coup, wrote the article that would finally lead him into exile. Five years later he arrived in Barcelona helped by a programme for exiled writers. The peace he has found on the other side of the Mediterranean sea is allowing Bassem to write more than ever, and later this year, the work of this persecuted Palestinian poet will be translated into a language that f

On this Day of St George, A New Way of Celebrating is Needed

Many people feel uneasy when it comes to gathering around the red and white flag on St George's Day, and who can blame them?Today it will typically adorn village fetes in the depths of the English countryside, where Morris dancers are top of the bill. It will be hung outside pubs with Jerusalem on repeat inside, or used by far-right organisations suggesting English identity is synonymous with aggression, intolerance and division. And undoubtedly Nigel Farage will gift the media with a few hundre