Meet Beatriz Menadez, poetry judge hysteria 2016

Which writers or poets inspire you and why?

As a rule, I tend to prefer books over writers, especially those whose stories stay with you well after you’ve finished reading the last page –which I guess is after all the expectation we all wish fulfilled after reading a book— and am less inclined to read something for the sole reason that X author has penned it.

That being said, there are also some authors whose particular flavour and voice I know will serve as a guarantee of my enjoying the book, namely Sjón, Colm Tóibín, Seamus Heaney or Zadie Smith, to name some of the more contemporary names which are prominent in my shelf. I find that they all manage to imbue their stories of the transcendence that goes beyond the particular, and that in their writing showcase the complex luminosity of true wordsmiths who have perfected their craft to the utmost and relish in the careful selection of words present in every sentence that they create, without doing any disservice to their story by being markedly literary.

beatriz menandezAre there some themes you enjoy more than others?

My preferences change as the years pass, but I find that some themes recur in my readings, for instance, the exploration of identity, the temporary nature of things, purpose, alienation or change versus tradition. While I enjoy anything well-written, it is also true that this kind of themes mirror in their own way the continuous growth of life, and for that they are always interesting to me as they always keep relevant. Conversely, I am also attracted to those themes which have rarely been covered before, or that are seen under a different perspective that is innovative enough to feel original and I also have a lot of time for anything experimental.

What are you reading currently?

Les Murray’s Waiting for the Past (poetry), Mary Oliver’s Felicity (poetry), Anne Enright’s The Green Road(fiction) and Hanya Yanagihara’s A Little Life (fiction).

Are you a library lover, a bookshop bird or an online owl?

Hard to say – but perhaps I am more of a library lover or an online owl than I am a bookshop bird if only because of my limited budget.

Which genre of writing do you prefer and why?

I am not particularly loyal to a genre, as long as the writing is stimulating and draws me in. In fact, I usually read more than one book at a time, mixing different genres of fiction and non-fiction so that my mind does not get too muddled.

What emotion do you associate with good writing?

Surprise at something I already knew, empathy, comfort of being in the hands of someone who knows what they’re doing, or nostalgic longing for a place I have never been in.

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