Photo credit: Nina Subin
“Literature is not merely entertainment... It’s art, it’s thought, it’s discovery through the use of language, it’s the naming of things.”
Named on of the "Most Influential Professionals in Publishing", American-born Valerie Miles is a writer, editor, translator, reviewer and publisher based in Barcelona. In 2003, she co-founded Granta en español, through which she has played a pivotal role in launching the careers of a new generation of Spanish-language writers. She is a major literary force in Spain who has not only championed Spanish and Latin American writers but has brought the work of major English-language writers to a new world of Spanish readers. Among those writers are Azar Nafisi, David Mitchell, Jayne Anne Philips and William Boyd. She is also the publisher of the Spanish edition of the New York Review of Books and has overseen the Spanish publications of the New York Review of Books Classics editions.
"Valerie Miles has worked as a translator, in all senses of the word, for Spanish-language culture for more than twenty years: as a journalist, editor, writer, and professor—and, of course, as a literary translator." -- The Paris Review
Miles’ career as a curator and tastemaker in both the Spanish and English-speaking literary worlds has brought her in close contact with lives and work of some of the most exciting and well-known contemporary writers. She provides a vibrant landscape of global contemporary writing by drawing unexpected synchronicities between writers from different traditions - the commonalities between the writers of the Latin American Boom Generation and contemporary African writers, the surprising global influence of the American Southern Gothic Literary Tradition, and the existence of a parallel “Lost Generation” community of Spanish-language writers that found a community in Paris that outlasted the famous American cohort.
Miles conceived and edited the dazzling anthology, A Thousand Forests in One Acorn, in which she asked famous Spanish-language writers one question: What do you consider your best pages? “I wanted to root out that one driving obsession of a writer, and find out what he or she, in the quiet of their studies, considers the best representation of that obsession.” Miles received answers from such luminaries as Carlos Fuentes, Mario Vargas Llosa, and Javier Marias, that taken together provide revealing and unexpected insights to a writers’ life and craft.
In 2013, she co-curated Bolano Archive: 1977-2003, an exhibit featuring the work of the renowned Chilean novelist Roberto Bolano at the Center for Contemporary Culture in Barcelona. Working closely with his estate, she gained unprecedented access to Bolano’s unpublished writing for the exhibit. Taking a cue from his posthumous international bestseller, The Savage Detectives, Bolano Archive invited visitors to become detectives, encountering his work as “a series of tests and clues, all done in the spirit of humor and irony.”