‘Virtues and Mysteries of Migrant Lives’
- Lecture Room 4, Main Arts Building, Bangor University
- Thursday 31 March 2022, 16:00–18:00
Talk by Xesús Fraga, winner of Spain’s National Book Award for Narrative in 2021
Born in London and raised between the UK and Galicia, the writer Xesús Fraga will discuss his awarded book Virtudes (e misterios) (Virtues and Mysteries) about his family’s migration history.
In 1961, a working-class woman from the Galician town of Betanzos emigrated to London. She was forced to leave her country and her three daughters to earn the much-needed money that her husband had promised to send from his own migration to Venezuela. However, he seemed to had disappeared into the thin air: no money, and also no news. Emigration thus fractured her family, but it also gave this woman, Virtudes (virtues in English), the possibility to secure a future for them. Her daughter, Isabel, would soon follow her footsteps to London, where she embraced education and culture and became an English teacher.
Half a century later, Xesús Fraga, son of Isabel and grandson of Virtudes, has written Virtudes (e misterios), an exploration of the impact of these migrations on three generations of his family. He examines the circumstances that led his mother and grandmother to the UK, and their social, economic, and emotional implications. The book also deals with the mystery of his grandfather’s disappearance and Xesus’ upbringing as a second-generation migrant. It’s a book that combines memoir, reportage, diaries, photographs, and other materials; written in Galician, it won the Blanco Amor award for novels in 2019 and Spain’s National Book Award for Narrative in 2021.