Saturday, June 15, 2024

88-year-old writer to head non-profit publishing group

Reaction has been both positive and negative to the appointment of an acclaimed 88-year-old writer and academic to head up a government-affiliated non-profit publishing group.

Margo Glantz told the newspaper El Universal that she had decided to take on the directorship of the Fondo de Cultura Ecónomica (FCE) after she was offered the role by president-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador.

“They simply offered me the position and asked me to accept it. I thought that maybe it was too difficult for me as an old woman but on the other hand, I thought that maybe, for a while, I could work,” she said.

“I am an older woman, I’m 88 years old, I’m a productive woman, I’m lucid, I work a lot, I travel, I think that I can do it, I don’t know if all the time but [at least] part of the time I will be able to do it,” Glantz added.

Esteban Moctezuma, López Obrador’s nominee for education secretary, announced her appointment as the new FCE director last week but the writer, who has won several prizes for her novels and other literary and critical work, said her exact role had not yet been defined.

“I don’t yet know how it’s going to work. I’ve just come back from a trip to Peru. I obviously have a general idea about what the Fondo is, I have an idea about what I could maybe do but it’s not all clear yet. It’s a little bit premature to make an estimation when I’m not yet in the job,” Glantz said.

News of her appointment triggered an outbreak of support and criticism on social media but Glantz, an avid user of Twitter herself, said that both positive and negative reactions were to be expected.

She stressed that this won’t be the first time that she has held a public position, highlighting that she worked at the Secretariat of Public Education as the general director of publications and libraries and at the Institute of Fine Arts as the director of literature.

Glantz has also been involved in academic life at the National Autonomous University (UNAM) for 57 years and a member of the Mexican Academy of Language since 1995.

In 2004, she won the National Prize for Arts and Science in the linguistics and literature category.

Glantz said the FCE does a fundamental job not just for Mexico but for all of the Spanish-speaking world, adding that it is important for that work to continue.

Glantz said she will conduct a review of the publisher’s book projects and all its other activities, after which she will have a clearer idea of what direction she will take the FCE in.

Although fully aware that the job will be demanding, she remains determined that she will also find time to continue her own personal projects.

“I have several literary projects, there’s my travel book, but I accepted [the job] and when one accepts something and takes a decision, there are pros and cons. As I go, I will review what the pros and what the cons are and despite everything, I will try to keep writing.”

Source: El Universal (sp)

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