Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:
Spain bans lecture in Utrecht
Thursday Sep 4 2014, 20:03 (Update: 04-09-14, 20:33)
A lecture by the Catalan author Albert Sánchez Piñol in Utrecht is off. At the last moment the organizer of the event, the Cervantes Institute, canceled the meeting.
It is not clear why the lecture was canceled. A spokesman would only say that the decision at the last minute has been taken by the Spanish Embassy in the Netherlands.
Furthermore, he refered to the headquarters of the Cervantes Institute in Madrid. There, however, there was no comment.
The publisher of Sánchez Piñol is furious. “This is a serious matter which smells of censorship,” said Juliette van Wersch, of Signatuur publishers.
“It is unfortunate and incomprehensible for a publisher that this author cannot always speak in the Netherlands about Spanish and Catalan history“.
Sánchez Piñol was supposed to lecture tonight about his new book Victus. That novel is about a turning point in Spanish history: the fall of Barcelona in 1714. This meant Catalans lost their independence.
Van Wersch thinks the cancellation is perhaps linked to the 300th anniversary of the fall, on 11 September. “That is always accompanied by demonstrations, which in recent years became increasingly grim.”
Furthermore, the controversial referendum on Catalan independence can play a role, but that remains speculation. “They just wanted to say that it is sensitive and that it was not a good time.”
According to the publisher Sánchez Piñol regrets that now his book gets political overtones. “He just wanted to write a historical novel. He thinks this is very unfortunate and sad.”
The Cervantes Institute was founded to bring worldwide attention to the Spanish language and culture. It is funded by the Spanish government.
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