Jorge Galán, from poetry to fantasy
The award-winning Salvadoran author and poet just finished his trilogy of fantasy novels
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Jorge Galán was 19 years old and studying literature at the Central American University (UCA El Salvador) when he began to publish his first poems and win prizes. Since then, he has been building his career as a poet and writer.
His first novel, El sueño de Mariana, won the National Prize in his country. His second and most acclaimed novel, Noviembre/November (2015), fictionalizes the murder of six Jesuit priests in San Salvador in 1989, a crime that went unpunished. It also cost him exile — the threats he received after its publication (the book hints at the alleged murderers) forced him to leave the country and move to Spain, where he received the Casa América Madrid Poetry Prize in 2016.
"That award, very prestigious in Latin America, was a watershed in my literary career," acknowledged the author in a recent interview with the distinguished Spanish cultural institution. The reason for the interview was to talk about his poetry book Equinoccio, a work that evokes the deterioration of nature and the environmental problems created by man. It was awarded in December 2022 with the City and Nature José Emilio Pacheco Literature Prize at the Guadalajara Book Fair.
"In the book Equinoccio, through a rhythmic, epic and timeless swell, the voice proposes, in its own way, a lyrical theory of chaos," highlighted the jury of the awards, formed by a select group of Mexican writers.
Galán explained to Casa América that Equinoccio is a reflection on the city based on the experience he had when he lived abroad.
"In El Salvador I always lived among hills, as a child and as an adult... without realizing it, my life had always had an important natural presence. I woke up in the mornings to the birds, the fog, the trees... they were my daily life. When I moved to a big city in Europe, I began to realize how important nature was to me, I had to miss it in order to value it," he said.
"The book," he concluded, "is a reflection on what is in the cities but we do not realize."
"There are still days of twilight, equinox, solstice, but we forget it because of the hustle and bustle of everyday life," Galán added.
Beyond his career as a poet, Galán wanted to explore a new literary genre some years ago: fantasy literature. In 2020, he published the first volume of the trilogy El país de la niebla (La ruta de las abejas).
"Actually, when I was 19 or 20 years old, I dreamed of writing fantasy novels," admits the author.
As a young man, he was an avid reader of Tolkien, Lovecraft, George Martin. He thought it was a good idea to return to the origins with the trilogy, which was just completed with the publication of the third book El domador de tornados (The Tornado Tamer). The second book was published in 2021, called La Caída de Porthos Embilea (The Fall of Porthos Embilea). All books have been published by the Mexican publishing house Océano.
"It was a radical change in my writing but I have enjoyed it very much," he said.