Bolivian soccer fans mix literature and sports in new pastime

Bolivian soccer fans mix literature and sports in new pastime 

Photograph provided on Apr. 22, 2018 showing issues of «Clasico literario» (Literary Classic) for sale in La Paz, Bolivia, Apr. 20, 2018. EPE-EFE/Martin Alipaz

La Paz, Apr 22 (efe-epa).- A book of stories pitting the two foremost Bolivian soccer teams in a «literary match» was released here this past week.

The publication features two covers, one sporting The Strongest’s gold and black team colors, while the other one is sky blue in honor of the Bolivar team.

The book, published by La Paz’s Editorial 3600 and Pagina Siete newspaper and released Tuesday, features 22 stories written by authors who are also soccer fans – 11 for each team – in a literary face-off.

Willy Camacho, the head of Editorial 3600, came up with the idea of putting together «Clasico literario» (Literary Classic) due to the recurring banter among soccer fan writers, especially over social media, regarding the championships claimed by The Strongest and Bolivar in 2016 and 2017, respectively.

«That’s when I said, ‘Why don’t we non-soccer players, who are just fans and play in the field of literature, produce a literary classic? It is our job,'» Camacho told EFE.

Spanish journalist and literary critic Ricardo Bajo was selected as The Strongest’s «coach,» while Bolivian musician Oscar Garcia was chosen to head up the effort for Bolivar.

Each man was tasked with putting together his own 11-strong team, which also entailed selecting and editing the texts for publication, regardless of whether the pieces were new or reissues, Camacho said.

Participants include Bolivia’s 2007, 2016 and 2017 National Novel Award winners Sebastian Antezana, Oswaldo Calatayud and Camila Urioste, respectively.

Also on the roster are Franz Tamayo Municipal Literature Award winners Erick Ortega, Mauricio Murillo, Rodrigo Urquiola and Willy Camacho himself, as well as singer-songwriter Manuel Monroy Chazarreta and film critic – and current La Paz Municipal Council president – Pedro Susz.