Peru’s Colmena Editores Gives Edgy Debut Authors a Voice

In Discussion by Andrés Delgado Darnalt

Colmena's David Perez and Armando Alzamora

Colmena’s David Perez and Armando Alzamora

One of Peru’s fledgling publishers, Colmena Editores is making room for edgy, new generation of authors, while also offering classics and criticism.

By Andrés Delgado Darnalt

Colmena_LogoFundación para la Literatura Peruana unveiled the winners of their first program to support the publication of fiction books by Peruvian authors. Each of the winners – Editorial Estruendomudo,Paracaídas Editores, Colmena Editores and Animal de Invierno — received a subsidy of around US$1,400.

Yesterday, Publishing Perspectives spoke to Estacion Cultura. Today, we talk to Armando Alzamora of Colmena Editores about his business, roster of books and, of course, the titles to be financed.

Colmena_Cover_Generacion-CochebombaColmena was set up by a group of literature graduates of Federico Villareal National University, taking its name from the avenue facing their offices.

Generación Cochebomba, by Martín Roldán Ruiz, was the title selected for the subsidy and the first edition of 500 copies sold out in just three months, making it Colmena’s top selling title. The book was initially published by the author himself, a Peruvian writer and journalist, in 2007 and received wide attention from radio stations and blogs, which lead to invitations to seminars and even thesis projects on the novel.

It tells the story of a group of Peruvian teenagers during the ’80s — a decade of scarcity, inflation, the Sendero Luminoso terrorist group and also “coches bomba” (car bombs) — and their experiences with drugs, alcohol and rock music.

Colmena_Cover_Tratado-de-la-delincuenciaThis same youth underground culture is present in Roldán’s second book, Este amor no es para cobardes, published in 2009 with another publisher, which focuses on the phenomenon of “barras bravas” in South American countries (groups of football fans who cause chaos and mayhem in and outside stadiums).

Colmena Editores opens the door to classical, contemporary and emerging literature with two imprints: Colmena and Munay. Colmena offers works from writers including Machado de Assis, Gilberto Owen, Robert Arlt, Paulo Franchetti and Martín Roldán Ruiz. Munay only publishes debut writers.

“Our readers are pretty diverse. For example, an average reader who is interested in new and bestselling titles could try Machado de Assis or Roldán. A specialized reader might want to go for poetry or for our collection of critical texts that we plan to launch this year,” says Armando Alzamora, publishing director.

Their future projects revolve around translations from Portuguese and French, including Cartas a Ofelia, a novel by Portuguese writer Fernando Pessoa; Los paraísos artificiales, Charles Baudelaire´s essay on opium and hashish; and Algunos aspectos de la teoría de la poesía concreta, a study on poetry by Brazilian literary critic Paulo Franchetti.

About the Author

Andrés Delgado Darnalt

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Andrés Delgado Darnalt is a Colombian journalist based in Bogotá, where he studied social communication at Javeriana University. He obtained his MBA from London School of Commerce-Cardiff Metropolitan University, and has studied at the Book Publishing Training Center. He has worked in events and public relations with the Bogotá International Book Fair (FILBO) as well as with other companies and public offices, and he has served as a project editor and consultant in digital and academic publishing.