Interview with Mexicanx Initiative Author, Libia Brenda

Libia Brenda at the Mexicanx Initiative English language group reading (Sent by Julia Rios; photo by Kateryna Barnes)

Libia Brenda at the Mexicanx Initiative English language group reading (Sent by Julia Rios; photo by Kateryna Barnes)

Where did you grow up and where do you live now? Where can we find you on social media?

I was born and grew up in México, in a city called Puebla, that is the capital of the State with the same name. I have lived in Mexico City since 2001.

My Twitter: @tuitlibiesco.

What kind of creative work do you do?

I write, mostly short stories about time travel, and women that are finding their own path. I Also do a lot of creative work as an editor (for instance, the anthology A Larger Reality / Una realidad más amplia). My editing work is far away from my day job (at an office, with a salary) and from my usual freelance endeavors, though even some of the freelance writing that I do for a living is partially in the creative field.

Had you ever been to a Worldcon before?

Nope.

What did you expect being part of the Initiative would be like? How did your experience compare with that expectation?

I didn’t know what to expect, honestly. In my experience, the only thing that could be similar would be the small (very small) conventions that I have organized myself or participated in. For me that happened a lot between 1995 and 2005, mostly in Ciudad de México or in Puebla or Tlaxcala (a small city near Puebla). At those “festivales” (festivals) or “encuentros” there were always only a few people, but they were enthusiastic, mostly young, many with a fanzine of sorts, and it was low budget, nerdy, and fun.

Libia Brenda holding a copy of the anthology she edited (Photo by Julia Rios)

Libia Brenda holding a copy of the anthology she edited (Photo by Julia Rios)

The other kind of experience that could be a reference was book fairs. I have been a participant in those for years, as an editor, mostly. But I know the dynamic at a book fair is totally different than the one at Worldcon. So when I came, I was expecting something good, but I didn’t have a real previous idea. It was great to know that many friends were going, because I knew I was in good company.

Tell us about one highlight moment of your Worldcon experience.

Oof, one of many: the first day, when Gaby, José Luis, and I went for the books and we managed to transport a bunch in order to give copies to the members of the Mexicanx Initiative. (See two answers below.)

Recommend any or all of the following: a song, a written work, a piece of visual art, and a movie. Tell us why you love them!

Instead of a song I recommend an album: Revés, by Café Tacuba. It’s part of a double album. The other disc is Yo soy, but Revés is an all time favorite. It’s one of the finest works of that band and, to me, it has not aged a day. It is experimental, symphonic and, at the same time, very well balanced. Sometimes I listen to it on a loop (never on shuffle, though) when I’m working and/or feeling melancholic. Here is a link to the complete record on YouTube, where it says that Rubén Albarrán (the leader of the band) uploaded it himself: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5B5XTc8LtIw

Written work: Three Messages and a Warning, published by Small Beer Press is an anthology that contains translations from Spanish to English of short stories that are literatura de la imaginación or speculative fiction or something very close to sci fi / fantasy. I encourage everybody who is interested in Mexicanx authors to read at least some of the tales in that book.

A movie: I believe that I have to go with Guillermo del Toro, if you’ve already watched The Shape of Water, you can go for El espinazo del diablo (The Devil's Backbone), Cronos, or Pan’s Labyrinth. Those are movies where the real and the unreal are intertwined, and, to me they are very good examples of ways to visit some classic elements of horror with a new approach. Either that or the always funny and flamboyant Robert Rodríguez; I love From Dusk Till Dawn, it makes me laugh every time.

What was the funniest thing that happened during your trip?

This is so long it deserves its own essay, so I wrote one! See the piece entitled "Running Through the Streets" elsewhere in the scrapbook!

Recommend up to three places for new people to start familiarizing themselves with your work.

David Bowles, Gabriela Damián, Andrea Chapela, Angela Lujan, Libia Brenda, and Raquel Castro signing books for Kickstarter backers (Photo by Julia Rios)

David Bowles, Gabriela Damián, Andrea Chapela, Angela Lujan, Libia Brenda, and Raquel Castro signing books for Kickstarter backers (Photo by Julia Rios)

Well, I have to recommend the anthologyA Larger Reality: Speculative Fiction from the Bicultural Margins / Una realidad más amplia. Cuentos desde la periferia bicultural, because it's a book that makes me very happy and proud of being part of this Mexicanx community. The book was an effort in which many people were involved, although I was the one putting it all together and it's really a joy to see how it turned out. And it was intended to be a free ebook since the beginning, because that way anybody can read it.

Now, to read one of my short stories and work by other Mexican women (Gaby and Raquel are also included), there is another free ebook that the State of Colima published a couple of years ago. La imaginación: la loca de la casahttp://www.culturacolima.gob.mx/mesdelalectura/libros/libro-laimaginacion-bef.pdf

Pablo Defendini