Faber to publish Venturini 'masterpiece'

Faber to publish Venturini 'masterpiece'

Faber is to publish Las Primas (The Cousins) by Argentinian author Aurora Venturini, after securing the title at auction. It will be the first time the author is translated into English, with the translator yet to be announced. 

The novel tells the story of women in an impoverished and broken family living in La Plata, a small city near Buenos Aires in the 1950s. The protagonist is Yuna, who struggles with learning difficulties, and whose sister is severely disabled. Their mother is abusive and the men in their lives are predatory. Yuna recounts her coming-of-age until her young twenties, when she finally finds an escape in painting—and addresses some of the injustices she has endured.

An autobiographical novel, Las Primas is based on Venturini's own upbringing and was declared by Spanish author Enrique Vila-Matas "a novel of depraved genius". The Spanish language edition features a prologue by Argentine novelist Mariana Enríquez. 

Las Primas was published in 2007 after Aurora Venturini won the inaugural Premio Nueva Novela established by Página/12 at the age of 85. Before that, she wrote and published in obscurity throughout her life. Venturini lived in exile in Paris, was a student of Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir, and was friends with Eugene Ionesco, Violette Leduc, Juliette Gréco, Eva Perón and Albert Camus.

Emmie Francis bought UK and Commonwealth and audio rights from Sandra Pareja at Massie & McQuilkin Literary Agents, on behalf of CBQ Agencia Literaria. Kendall Storey at Soft Skull Press acquired North American rights and audio at auction. The novel will be published in 2023.

The editors said: "Venturini died in 2015 but has never before been translated into English. Las Primas is considered her masterpiece.  It is time to recognise dynamic and paradigm-shifting female writers who have been overlooked by literary history, and we are so proud to be introducing English language readers to a major voice in international literature, one that is spiky, intense, prolific—and completely original."