Peru’s Lucha Libro: Writer vs. Writer

Well, this one is too good not to comment on. From PRI: “Peru makes book writing into a spectator sport and invites aspiring writers into combat

“It’s a twist on Lucha Libre, Mexico’s version of pro wrestling, where competitors put on masks and pseudonyms to duke it out in a ring.

Peru’s Lucha Libro is kind of like that, without the violence. It’s literary “wrestling.” New writers don masks, and head onto a stage where they’re given three random words, a laptop hooked up to a gigantic screen, and five minutes to write a short story.

At the end of a match, the losing writer has to take off his or her mask. The winner goes on to the next round, a week later. And the grand prize? It’s a book contract … 

‘It’s also about changing the idea that literature is boring. This turns it into an event. Because it’s not just about the opportunity for a young person to become a writer,” he says. “It’s also about having a place for young people to hang out – and to read.”


Writing sometimes seems antagonist enough, so why not make the writer vs. writer theme as literal as possible? Funnily enough, the three word structure reminds of Six-Word Memoirs.

Check out The Believer (The Believer: “Lucha Libro“) for an excellent story, complete with totally-apt Roland Barthes quote [the link is to a snippet, full article is subscription-only].  And you can visit the official competition website, En español: http://www.luchalibro.pe/

Publishing Perspectives (“Lucha Libro: Masked Peruvian Writers Battle for a Book Contract“) has some good insights not only about the Lucha Libro phenomenon but also about the Peru publishing industry: “in Peru, paperbacks often cost between twenty and thirty dollars, pricing them far beyond the reach of many Peruvians. Because of this, readership is low and “publishing contracts are even harder to come by the in the United States.” But even so, the land of Maria Vargas Llosa and Cesar Vallejo has more than its share of writers hoping for their big break.

Peru This Week shares some cool, stylized videos of the literary tournament which you can check out here: “Check out a funny battle of words at Lucha Libro 2013” —


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