The many lives of Jorge Semprún

“…I believe ardently that real memory, not historical and documentary memory but living memory, will be perpetuated only through literature. Because literature alone is capable of reinventing and regenerating truth.” – Jorge Semprún. In the early 1940s, as Spain settled into a period of grim dictatorship, one of its exiled citizens was embarking on a […]

How to win

In a culture so often dominated not just by winning, but also those other prized skills of ‘owning’, trolling and tooting your own horn, it’s refreshing to find a radically different mindset. I was recently lucky enough to visit Donostia, where eight locals were competing in the Gipuzkoa provincial final of Berstolarismo. Bertsolarismo is an […]


I have known Mateo since he was born. Now a bass-playing, Beatles-loving, comic-reading, basketball-playing 16-year-old, you could not meet a more charming teen. Recently, he underwent a six-hour operation to help improve his balance and mobility, which have been affected by cerebral palsy, and having come through his op with flying colours and world-class positivity, […]


Like moths to the light, we journalists tend to get drawn towards the dramatic. In the case of politics that can mean dwelling on the extremes: the colourful, the freaky, the radicals. But there are also, of course, characters and opinions that are less eye-catching yet equally important. Catalonia’s on-going crisis has been so relentlessly […]

Mainland dreams

The desperation of migrants attempting to reach their dreamed-of destination has become a familiar sight on our TV and computer screens, its impact inevitably diluted by the 24-hours cycle. But on a recent trip to Spain’s North African city of Ceuta, I was reminded of the lengths to which many migrants will go in order […]