NÚRIA AÑÓ (Lleida, 1973) is a Catalan writer, translator and a speaker at various specialized colloquiums and conferences. She often speaks about her work, literary creation, cinema, cities or authors such as Elfriede Jelinek, Patricia Highsmith, Salka Viertel, Alexandre Dumas fils, Franz Werfel and Karen Blixen. Añó has exhibited her work in universities and institutions, such as the University of Lleida (UdL), the University of Tunis, the University of Jaén (UJA), the International University of Andalusia (UNIA), the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC-Madrid), the Sysmän Kirjasto Library in Finland, the Shanghai Writers’ Association (SWA), Fudan University, East China Normal University, Sinan Mansion, the Shanghai Cervantes Institute and the Krakow Cervantes Institute, the Conrad Festival, Massolit Books or Bar Baza in Poland, as well as giving talks in libraries and secondary and higher education centers. She is also a member of several international artistic juries.
Her work, which includes novels, short stories and essays, has been published and translated into Spanish, French, English, Italian, German, Polish, Chinese, Latvian, Portuguese, Dutch and Greek.
Her first novel Els nens de l’Elisa (Omicron, 2006) was the third finalist in the 24th Ramon Llull Prize for Catalan Literature. This was followed by L’escriptora morta ([The Dead Writer (2020)], Omicron, 2008); Núvols baixos ([Lowering Clouds (2020)], Omicron, 2009); La mirada del fill (Abadia, 2012) and the biography on Jewish screenwriter Salka Viertel El salón de los artistas exiliados en California (The Salon Of Exiled Artists In California: Salka Viertel Took In Actors, Prominent Intellectuals And Anonymous People In Exile Fleeing From Nazism, 2020) is the result of three years of research in international archives and is her most recent work.


Her writing centers around the characters’ psychology, often through the use of anti-heroes. The characters are what stands out most about her work, they are generally more relevant than the topic itself. With her feminine, somewhat sentimental introspection, she finds a unique balance between the marginal worlds of parallels. Her novels are open to a wide variety of topics, they deal with important social and current themes like injustice or lack of communication between individuals. The basic plot of her novels does not tell you everything there is to know. By using this method, Añó attempts to involve the reader so that they ask their own questions to discover the deeper meaning of the content.
She has won the 18th Joan Fuster Fiction Award Ciutat d’Almenara, the fourth Shanghai Get-Together Writing Award 2018. She has been awarded the prestigious international grants: NVL (Finland, 2016), SWP (China, 2016), BCWT (Sweden, 2017), IWTCR (Greece, 2017), Krakow UNESCO City of Literature (Poland, 2018), IWTH (Latvia, 2019-2021) and IWP (China, 2020). 
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Books

2066. Beggining the age of correction / by Núria Añó

The working population beginning to think about retirement is called by the state to participate in an ecological mission.
A land of older people and with the experience finally to be able to decide if they throw out the alarm clock or put it in a suitcase. A nation that will be able to choose what they put in a suitcase. People that will have a choice between bathing suit and a walking stick for the mountain, wearing SPF factor 60 or 120. Hotel or apartment complex. Chalet or camping store.

Complimentary vitamins, Viagra, or pills for degenerative osteoarthritis. Private beach club or cosmetic surgery. People that have in their hands their bankbooks and the pension plan because they have been prepared. Congratulations! You are no longer a doctor, or teacher, or labourer, or vendor. Now you are a free person.
Those people that in this moment connect with their families thanks to the technology available in their homes, will discover how their children put their grandchildren in the car, with the only benefit today being that they save on babysitters. At any moment the newly retired person could be the victim of a visit, the charming grandson or granddaughter that will jump on the sofa, kicking and screaming and still wake up with a certain tenderness. Why? Because they are the blood of your blood, and because in some way they are in danger of extinction. People will have to decide between their families or their life. Between having a suitcase or parting with it, between keeping the pension money or sharing it out between the kids. Because if you decide to close the suitcase and leave for another part of Europe, perhaps when you get to your destination you’ll be surprised at just how much everything has changed. And decide to return.
Ten. Nine. Eight. Seven. Six. Five. Four. Three. Two. One. Happy New Year 2066!!!
Europe, the land of easy mathematics where he who works adds up and he who retires subtracts. The land where the economy gets to stagger all over the continent, opening a great many camps that find themselves in an experimental phase. The chosen ones that were thinking of retiring in 2066 have been called to collaborate in a type of ecological reform. This is if they want to recover their pension, and so for this reason they have entered the camps.
Nicoletta, for example, has wanted to do something like this, but only in a free, non time consuming, way. One hour a day would have been sufficient for her because she is on medication for depression and has spent a lot of time feeling down. The state has been paying for her medication for years, and this is what they told her: “Nicoletta Vlasak, we have noted your work with various NGO’s in Latin America between 2030 and 2040 as well as various trips to Africa between 2041 and 2043. As you have made small contributions during your working life, and have enjoyed a widower’s pension for the last five years, your Social Security number has been chosen for camp mission C: Europe against acid rain. This mission will consist of planting trees during a period of five years. Your house will be rented out and upon completion of the mission your keys will be returned to you.”

Miguel had dissolved three tablets of pork and white rice when his virtual monitor displayed the following: “We have noticed an increase in cholesterol in your metabolism in the last two minutes. Bearing in mind your hypertension and that your weigh 148 kilos, could you confirm if you’re considering suicide?” To which Miguel replied: “Don’t wish me to commit suicide now that I am on the brink of retiring! I have spent one whole life getting up at 5am, all of my life driving a car up and down from one end of Europe to the other, loading and unloading”, and added: “I have a hernia and rheumatism. Now what I want most is to forget about travelling and pick up my fishing rod.” Miguel sat there, looking sceptically at the monitor as it replied: “Miguel Pontes, given your sense of humour, we inform you that your Social Security number has been chosen for Camp mission F: Europe returning life to the rivers.”
When Pietro’s housing development opened up a virtual window, it was Elizabeth who pressed click: she accepted an unknown virtual conference, because in the back of her mind she was hoping for a virtual visit from her grandkids. Elizabeth shouted; “Pietro!” and Pietro began to listen, his eyes glued to the screen and corroborated: “In effect, five years that pay for the pension” and he was read the official documents that he had digitally signed. At which point he heard: “Pietro Scheider, we have just renewed your retirement. It is a real shame that you do not wish to collaborate with the cause: Europe converts water into ice. A mission to the Poles.” When that finished, they both heard: “Elizabeth Toderas, three miscarriages, two sons and a daughter. You are retiring in March. We remind you that your mission begins in March in Camp A: Europe. Cloning fertile women.’ We recommend that you prepare yourself physically during this period.”

Jacques, an author, was waiting for a videoconference like this. He turned on the screen and said: “I am impatient to start the mission. Arrest me!” Only his number hadn’t been chosen. Therefore, with luck, he would be able to enjoy all the benefits of retirement. “Jacques Zola, we are sorry to tell you that we haven’t received any mission for you. We are letting you criticise whatever you like, because in reality, there isn’t anyone left who buys electronic books. Besides, your Social Security number has not been entered into the draw because we cannot risk your words setting the cat amongst the pigeons.”
And so, the agents that signed the project Europe against old age have begun to see the first fruits of their labour: suicides, heart attacks, death from exhaustion, natural deaths and intentionally failed flights. Everything ought to be controlled by ex-prisoners running the projects. On the other hand, the ecological reform which was promised has been a complete failure, though this was well known from the beginning. Now the search for habitual planets begins.
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Presage / by Núria Añó

Anna, whose shadow casts itself on the wall since very early in the morning, now starts to fade away. Anna and that shadow of hers that moves from wall to wall should not be locked in here. She could just pack up and leave, but she does not visualize what’s beyond ahead. She knew more, but now she’s forgotten it. She can no longer distinguish between what she wanted to become and what she has become. She lives in a 60m² dwelling with official protection and has as husband the same guy who impregnated her when she was seventeen.

Her son left long time ago, because he, unlike them, wanted to see the world from a new perspective. Now her son is learning the carpentry trade and he views these buildings of official protection as just as neat and gray as before when he comes and goes from his rented nest, with or without his girlfriend, on a second-hand bike or walking. Anna wanted to become someone. It could be said that she wanted to go far, she did not know where, but she wanted to get there and soon. She became a mother when she was eighteen, the first one at her prom, a complete first fruit. Some others followed afterwards.
Previously Anna worked as a shop assistant and had fun with the customers. Except there was one thing her husband couldn’t stand: the boss was always shuffling money around. The husband was wary because she had to deposit all those wads of cash, and something kept him from sleeping at night: that she would leave him for someone else or for a wad of money. After a hard day at work the husband would go to the kitchen, and the only thing he noticed was that the kitchen was as cold as death. That, and that there were bits of soap in the sink. The husband waited at the table, his arms crossed, and after a tense quarter of an hour of waiting he ended up with his head in his hands. One day he zipped up his coat and ran down the stairs at full speed cursing his wife and his job, but especially his wife. He often went to the pub to drown his sorrows. The son also got used to eating canteen food at school. But that afternoon the husband kept walking until he walked right into the store and begged Anna to take off that ridiculous uniform and come home. Anna answered, “Not a chance!” Her job helped to pay the bills, to buy clothes for the boy, school books for the boy, and private lessons for the boy. As it got late Anna kept working, wrapping presents with a smile on her face. It was almost nine o’clock when she turned the key in the lock, and as soon as she walked in she got her first beating. Afterwards she had to cook dinner, even though she had a dislocated arm.
There is always housework to be done, even in a small apartment. The husband’s voice is irritating, both inside and outside his living quarters. The neighbors know his voice by now, even though he doesn’t have much contact with them. Anna and the rest of the things that have been put off until later boil down to a bed that she makes first thing in the morning, a washing machine full of clothes that she picks up off the floor, and that later she will hang one by one on a small balcony that looks out over a light-filled patio. She tidies up the house, airs out the bedrooms and dining room, sweeps the floor and goes down on her hands and knees to scrub it, because that’s how you reach all the corners. Later she makes a note of what they need and does a bit of shopping, always aware of just how much she can spend. Before the floor has dried she makes lunch, turns on the T.V. while she folds and irons the clothes, and all of a sudden the husband is already there. His eyes and face make it clear that he’s waiting for something, which doesn’t mean that he’s waiting for Anna. She sits down next to her husband in the dining room, where their eyes are drawn to the T.V. out of habit. Unlike the house, the T.V. is comforting. So are the neighbors’ kids who laugh and shout as they throw stones on the patio. They don’t have any children anymore, although they tried it in the past. They brought up one. Now he’s gone, and soon he will start a new family of his own, following the model of this one, the only family he’s ever known.
Anna and her sad shadow can often be seen slumped against the wall. That image appears in the double bed night after night. And it often reappears in the kitchen, or in the dining room. And basically in the sink while as she washes and dries her face. Anyone could see that this woman is living a nightmare. Except that she goes through her daily life wide awake, knowing that she could make a mistake at any moment. When she has a bit of free time during the day, she goes up to the fifth floor of the building to meet her neighbor. They are both avid fans of a television series. Afterwards she goes back down, and sometimes, not always, her son would come home around noon. The son doesn’t have any money and neither does the mother, but she always manages to put a hot plate of food on the table for him. “The boy needs money”. That’s what she would say before and after scarfing down the food. Afterwards, when she turned her back for a moment, the son would sneak into his mother’s wallet.
Anna thinks a lot, and sometimes she feels something inside her, something besides the constant uncertainty that has become a part of her. Anna works in secret, and in exchange she has to take a six-month old infant out for walks. Sometimes she turns around quickly, with the strange feeling that she is being followed – a kind of foreboding that she feels as she walks in the park. Nevertheless, Anna has to keep working. She says she does it for her son. So that he can have a future, even though in the beginning the price is high. Too high for someone so young. As Anna is walking back to the block of new apartments, she covers up the baby and turns around again, but it’s too late. The husband was leaving the pub when he sees her. That’s when he started following her. Even though Anna’s figure gets further away and is lost in the crowd.
Anna and her husband don’t have many things in common, although both live under the same roof and sleep in the same bed. Indeed, it seems that she and he have nothing in common other than what they are undertaking. Anna was cooking when the husband entered by the door carrying a bottle. He catches her from behind. He grabs her by the hair. He makes her fall, pouring gasoline over her and setting her on fire.
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