Ana Clavel, the Mexican writer and multimedia artist, was for a while the youngest major cultural figure listed in the database that drives the Legenda website. She has since been overtaken, if that’s the word, by the German opera director Jenny Erpenbeck and the French writer Marie NDiaye (both born 1967), but nevertheless: as of today, she’s the most contemporary world figure to have a whole Legenda book written about her.

Publishing on an artist whose greatest works may, of course, still be in the future is a very different thing to publishing on a long-gone canonical figure. As the author, you don’t get the benefit of taking sightings from the agreed landmarks which delineate your subject’s life. On the other hand, you get to be the first person to help identify what those landmarks will be.

You also get the privilege of having a working relationship with your subject, which is just what Jane Lavery has had during the making of her new book The Art of Ana Clavel. Indeed, the cover for our book is itself a new work by Clavel – that’s something you won’t get if you write about, say, Goethe.

And it can also make a new book front-page news, or at least, colour supplement news. Here’s a story from La Estrella de Panama:

Su búsqueda ha sido el motor de otras, siendo su dedicación objeto de análisis en el Reino Unido por la investigadora Jane Elizabeth Lavery, El arte de Ana Clavel. Fantasmas, urinarios, muñecas, sombras y deseos ilícitos , de la editorial ‘Leyenda Books’, un libro que profundiza en su narrativa y el uso de la escritora de los elementos multimedia.
Lavery calificó a la escritora mexicana como, ‘escritora multimedia’, ya que la literata rechaza la idea de ser artista, por un respeto especial hacia quienes pintan o producen.

We are hoping that Jane’s book won’t have its life solely in el Reino Unido: there are already tentative plans for a Spanish edition. Though by that time, of course, Ana Clavel’s body of work will have grown still further.

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