Ja! Bilbao 12th Edition

1nd – 10th October 2021

Welcome, honourable audience,

vaccinated folks, to this new edition of this new edition of the Ja! Festival Although we are now twelve years old, we have not yet reached puberty and we continue, when it comes to selecting the programme, having pure thoughts and the unbroken enthusiasm of a child who requests the Three Wise Men to bring them toys. We bring you fourteen events, as varied as Kinder Eggs surprises, which will take place between 1 and 10 October in the Philharmonic and BBK Halls.

We have three prestigious French writers this year: Hervé Le Tellier (last winner of the Goncourt Prize), Philippe Lançon (author of the must-read essay ‘El colgajo’) and Mathias Enard, whose work is widely recognised and is visiting us for the second time. Lançon and Enard are fluent in Spanish and no interpreter will be needed.

Guest authors will share their recent books, some of which are fresh from the oven: ‘Los vencejos’, by Fernando Aramburu; ‘Subidón’, Joaquín Reyes’ first novel; ‘Mansos’, by Bob Pop; ‘Feria’, by Ana Iris Simón; ‘Los años extraordinarios’ by Rodrigo Cortés; ‘Vivir no es tan divertido, y envejecer, un coñazo’, by Oscar Tusquets; ‘La casa del ahorcado’, by Juan Soto Ivars, and ‘La muerte del hipster’, by Daniel Gascón.

We are also excited about the ten panels in Metro Bilbao with cartoons illustrated by Flavita Banana. The very good news that complements this welcome seems to have been made especially for the spirit of our festival. Flavita’s graphic humour is corrosive and poignant, which is why she often gets the noose tightened around her neck on social media; it’s the usual surfeit of cheesy sentimentality that degenerates into dangerous censorious zeal. At Ja! we are critical towards these regressive approaches that attack the essential freedom of humour. For this reason, we begin this year’s programme with a dialogue between Juan Soto Ivars and Ana Iris Simón under the title ‘The fair of the hanged’.

The poster for this 12th edition speaks for itself (as it should): the vaccination syringe, which replaces the Ja! exclamation mark, as an image of remedy, of overcoming calamity and the necessary sense of humour. We hope and trust that you will have a great time and laugh with us even more heartily than last year.

Immune humour in Ja!

Carolina Ontivero and Juan Bas
Festival Directors

Pin It on Pinterest