Why Read the Contemporaries
By Jr. Bellé
Italo Calvino, one of the most well-known Cuban writers (or Italian writers, you pick), wrote in 1991 a book titled “Perché leggere I classici” (translation: Why read the classics).
Here, I mimic Calvino’s thoughts and give you four good arguments that might inspire you to look for new contemporary authors. And many of them you can find here on Widbook.
1 – Your epoch: All of us are sharing the same epoch, but the contemporary authors are responsible for understanding the culture of today, interpreting it and then translating it into a story. They are putting our time on paper. They are immersed in the culture of our epoch, not in an aseptic bobble, so even when they are writing about old ages, or creating fantastic stories, in some way, they are reflecting thoughts, prejudices and traditions that you and I are immersed in too. If you desire to read about your epoch, pursue your contemporaries.
2 – They put together the classic heritage: The best thing about not being inside those old, amazing literary schools of years ago is that the nowadays a writer can gather those styles and tools and blend with other, modern styles to create a completely new style of writing. In other words, the writer of today is the heir to the classic schools.
3 – The contemporary books are fresh: Paraphrasing Antonio Rodrigues Belon, contemporaries are those books that no one can say they are rereading. They are new, raw literature coming directly from the myocardium of your epoch.
4 – Support the art and the artists of your time and culture: This topic doesn’t concern only writers, but every field of art. For all these reasons that I just mentioned, and to encourage the art of our time to keep going on and developing, the best support is to consume it.
If you’re interested in exploring new writers, I would like to introduce you to several of my favorites: Jerry Williams (poet from the U.S., professor at Marymount and Manhattan Colleges), Pola Oloixarac (very talented novelist from Argentina), Marcos Peres (novelist from Brazil, winner of SESC Literature Prize) and Michael Rands (novelist from South Africa, whom I plan to interview for a future post).
* Junior Bellé is a Brazilian journalist who writes on Widbook’s blog weekly with tips and tools to help your writing. Here, he discusses the significance of reading contemporaries.