Chile paves the way to Victorina Press. (2017)

October 2017 brought the centenary of Violeta Parra’s birth, a folk legend and inspiration of Latin America. Almost one hundred and three years ago, Violeta challenged the political ideal of Chile as an idyllic, peaceful and prosperous country. She used music, words, art, and any creative outlet you can think of, as her weaponry and armour to fight the battle against the political and social injustices which had the country in turmoil. Well-known as the mother of the new folk movement and having revived the genre, Violeta played a huge role in the feminist and equality movement across the county and became one of Consuelo’s own inspirations.

Violeta Parra

 The commemorations for Violeta Parra’s centenary resulted in a second anthology. The first one in 2017, had been the bilingual poetry collection titled Desentrañando Memorias ~ Unravelling Memories. This time, the anthology consisted of short stories inspired by the life and works of Violeta Parra. So, 2018 saw the release of Violeta Walks on Foreign Lands.1  It  was launched at the Chilean Embassy in London. The title of this anthology was chosen to reflect a famous poem (later a song) by Violeta while exhibiting her artwork in the Louvre, called Violeta Ausente, using the specific line ‘Now I walk on Foreign Lands’. The diversity of the people who participated in the contest for the Victorina Press Award 2017 is reflected by the list below.

  • Winners

    1st Place – Fermín Pavéz, (Chilean)
    2nd Place – Patricio Olivares (Chilean)
    3rd Place – Marijo Alba (Spanish)

    Runners-Up

    Patricia Díaz (Colombian)
    Carmen Malarée (Chilean)
    Isabel Ros-López (Spanish)
    Mabel Encinas (Mexican)
    Valentina Montoya (Chilean)
    Sebastián Eterovic (Chilean)

Award ceremony for 'Violeta Walks on Foreign Lands' short story competition, at the Embassy of Chile, London, 2017.

Our first two publications, Violeta Walks on Foreign Lands and Desentrañando Memorias ~ Unravelling Memories, had ties to Latin America, not only through Consuelo herself but for the chosen topics of the works. This was the perfect build up for our first historical novel, written by Rhiannon Lewis, a Welsh author. The novel is based on the author’s great, great uncle from Wales, who was involved (unwillingly) in the Chilean Civil War in 1891. This quickly led to the publication of My Beautiful Imperial2, in December 2017.
     The following year, the novel received a recommendation by the  Walter Scott Prize Academy 2018. My Beautiful Imperial, was launched in Wales, at The Chapel in Abergavenny; at Cardigan Castle and then at the Embassy of Chile in London. It is now in its second edition. In 2018 we released the Spanish version under the title Mi Querido Imperial3  translated by Guisela Parra Molina from the original written in English. Being very popular in both languages we look forward to seeing its continued success and, of course, Rhiannon’s next novel.

Launch of 'My Beautiful Imperial' by Rhiannon Lewis. Cardigan Castle, Wales. December 2017.

In December 2017 Consuelo took on a personal assistant, me, Sophie. It started off as a simple arrangement; I would perform simple tasks, emails, etc., to help Consuelo keep things running smoothly. Initially, this was just going to be a temp job between work, however I enjoyed this so much that, even though I had no experience in publishing and still had lots to learn, Consuelo allowed me to turn this into a permanent position, for which I am extremely thankful. That year, I learned a lot and I still do, every day. I had always loved reading, and this was like the dream I didn’t know could exist, coming true.

With that we launched our first proper website being able to sell our books directly just as we hoped, however, we also started selling on Amazon, knowing that, if we really wanted to get our books out there, this may be a necessary evil. 

Sophie, personal assistant.

Conclusion

This walk-through Chile paved the way for Victorina Press, has helped me express more about who we are as a company and where our roots lay. Our first competition had been a success, our first novel had done beautifully. The beginning of our independent press had really gotten going, having three publications to our name, My Beautiful Imperial2, Violeta Walks on Foreign Lands1 and Desentrañando Memorias ~ Unravelling Memories4, and with more and more manuscripts ready to be worked on, we headed into 2018 with lots to do. We now had a few platforms to sell our publications on, our website, and amazon, and working towards getting into the big book shops.
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