Hay Cartoneras is a project produced by The Story of Books to share about the cardboard publishing movement in Latin America, and to provide fun and creative opportunities for people to make their own books.

During the Hay Festival and again over the summer, at our base in Hay-on-Wye, we ran workshops where we shared stories about this grass roots publishing movement (which grew out of the Argentine economic crisis of 2001, but has now spread to countries as far apart as Mexico and Mozambique). Richly diverse, cardboard publishers have in common the use – and love – of cardboard, a commitment to making literature accessible, and an interest in both the artistic and literary potential of making books in this artisanal way. Participants at the workshops were able to paint a cardboard cover and learn to hand-stitch pages into their cover.

A colourful selection of Latin American cardboard books which are heading to permanent library collections in London and Cambridge was displayed at The Story of Books in Hay-on-Wye during Hay Festival 2018.

Hay Cartoneras is a collaboration with Dr Lucy Bell (Hispanic Studies lecturer) and Dr Patrick O’Hare (Social Anthropologist) from the University of Surrey. They are working on a Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) funded research project ‘Precarious Publishing in Latin America: Relations, Meaning, and Community in Movement’.

Here Patrick explains a bit more about Precarious Publishing and Hay Cartoneras:

The featured photo on the cover of this blog post (showing cartonera book spines) is taken by Daniele Carneiro of Magnolia Cartonera.




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