Dragons, the quintessential of fantastic beings, are already flying over to the fourth edition of 42, the Barcelona Fantasy Genre Festival, which, from 6 to 10 November 2024, will be filling the Fabra i Coats factory with winged, powerful creatures from myths, legends, YA literature, science fiction, illustrations and video games. In honour of the Chinese Year of the Dragon, this year’s festival will celebrate that Barcelona is known as Drakcelona, that for the Sant Jordi holiday, we dance with the beast, and that we enjoy its presence in many of the literary hits of the season. Dragons aren’t coming to 42; they’re returning. They’ve always been here.

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Here’s a preliminary lineup of leading figures who will be at this 2024 edition (but stay tuned; after the summer, there will be more information on the rest):

  • Victoria Álvarez

    Victoria Álvarez

    Victoria Álvarez (Salamanca, 1985) is a writer, art historian and lecturer at the University of Salamanca, specialising in 19th century literature. Winner of awards such as the Torrente Ballester, she published novels such as Hojas de dedalera and Las Eternas before switching to the Lumen publishing company in 2014 with Tu nombre después de la lluvia, the first instalment of the successful fantasy adventure trilogy Dreaming Spires. Following the next instalments of Contra la fuerza del viento and El sabor de tus heridas, the trilogy will be completely re-edited this year, just before the Festival 42.


  • Edgar Cantero

    Edgar Cantero

    (Barcelona, 1981) is a writer, screenwriter and cartoonist. Said to be a promising figure in the field of Catalan literature when he was drawing comic strips for the magazine El Jueves, Cantero started his career with books such as Dormir amb Winona Ryder [Sleeping with Winona Ryder] and Vallvi, for which he was awarded prizes such as the Crexells and Ciutat de Badalona awards. In 2014 he decided to try writing in English, and it paid off: Meddling Kids, a work that sits somewhere between Enid Blyton and Lovecraft, was a New York Times bestseller and, thanks to later books, has now been translated into five languages. At Festival 42 he will be presenting his sixth novel, Ràdio Free Camaco (Empúries Narrativa), a True Detective-style book set in rural Catalonia that combines black fiction, social criticism and supernatural elements.


  • P. Djèlí Clark

    P. Djèlí Clark

    P. Djèlí Clark was born in New York in 1971 and grew up in Houston, though he spent much of his childhood and youth in Trinidad and Tobago. His works bring together both his interest in history and sociology and his passion for speculative fiction. As a columnist, he has covered topics such as racism and the works of H.P. Lovecraft, and his books, including Ring Shout (Mai Més/Obscura) and The Black God’s Drum (Obscura) have earned him a World Fantasy Award shortlist nomination and the Alex, Nebula and Locus awards.


  • Urszula Hardinge Frances

    Frances Hardinge

    Frances Hardinge, born in Kent in 1973, is a British children’s/young adult fantasy author. Her debut novel, Fly by Night, won the 2006 Branford Boase Award, and her 2015 novel The Lie Tree won the Costa Book of the Year Award. In Catalonia, her novel Cuckoo Song, translated into Catalan by Xavier Pàmies as La cançó del cucut, won the 2019 Llibreter Award in the children’s and young adult literature category, while A Skinful of Shadows, translated as La veu de les ombres, won the Alba 42 Award for the best youth fantasy novel translated into Catalan. This autumn, Hardinge’s regular publisher Bambú is releasing Island of Whispers, her first novel featuring illustrations by Emily Gravett.


  • Ava Reid

    Ava Reid

    Ava Reid was born in Manhattan in 1996 and raised right across the Hudson River in Hoboken, New Jersey, but currently lives in Palo Alto, California. She has a degree in political science from Barnard College, focusing on religion and ethnonationalism. She has worked for a refugee resettlement organisation, for a U.S. senator and for an AI robotics start­up. She is the author of The Wolf and the Woodsman and the recent international bestseller A Study in Drowning, a dark academia fantasy full of intrigue and passion, where social critique plays a prominent role. Both books were published in Spanish by Umbriel.


  • Albert Sánchez Piñol

    Albert Sánchez Piñol

    Albert Sánchez Piñol, born in Barcelona in 1965, is an anthropologist and writer. Author of the essays Pallassos i monstres [Clowns and Monsters] and Les estructures elementals de la narrativa [The Basic Structures of Narratives], he is among the leading Catalan-language fantasy authors, with works such as La pell freda [translated into English as Cold Skin], Pandora al Congo [translated into English as Pandora in the Congo], the short story collection Tretze tristos tràngols [Several Sorry Situations] and Fungus. La pell freda, published by La Campana in 2002, won the Ojo Crítico Award, was shortlisted for the Llibreter and was translated into 37 languages, selling 800,000 copies around the world. He is also the author of bestsellers in other genres, such as Victus [translated into English as Victus: The Fall of Barcelona], Vae Victus and, more recently, El monstre de Santa Helena [The Monster of Santa Helena] and Pregària a Prosèrpina [Prayer to Proserpina].


From 6 to 10 November, the fourth edition of the 42 Festival will feature around seventy events, adding to its signature elements and covering varous topics and formats:

  • The importance of dragons of all kinds in fantasy genres, from Tolkien’s Smaug to Rebecca Yarros’s Tairn.
  • The role of water, from seas to droughts, in genres such as science fiction, fantasy, terror and mythology.
  • The importance of popular science and essays in addressing themes of the genre and how more and more authors and readers of non-fiction are becoming directly interested in it.
  • There is a growing interest in legends, from retellings to the myths passed down over the ages and their connections with the resurgence of folk horror.
  • Tributes that coincide with notable anniversaries or new editions, this year covering everyone and everything from Kafka to Matrix, from Shirley Jackson to Ursula K. Le Guin, from witches to mermaids and from La pell freda [translated into English as Cold Skin] to trailblazing female science fiction authors.
  • Activities on related media, with comic books, illustrations, theatre and video games featuring prominently this year.
  • A special focus on European authors, with this fourth edition highlighting authors from the United Kingdom, Ireland, Denmark, France, Italy, Poland and beyond, in addition to the always-represented United States and Latin America.


See more     See web edition 2023

42: the name

42? What’s 42? If you search online, you’ll see right away that this is the symbolic number par excellence for science fiction and, by extension, fantasy genres. There are memes, T-shirts and whole articles to help you figure it out. People honour it, play with it and reference it both overtly and cryptically. Above all, they attempt to solve the mystery behind it.

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Chiselled creatures of mystery

The poster

Illustrator Agustín Comotto uses expressionist woodcutting in his poster for the fourth edition of the 42 Festival, bringing together golden dragons, sidereal seas, astronauts and ancient gods.


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Cartell 2024 CAT



Autoria: Pep Herrero

Ricard Ruiz Garzón, born in Barcelona in 1973, is a writer, the curator of the 42 Festival and a teacher at the Ateneu Barcelonès Writing School. Winner of awards such as the Muntaner, Edebé and Ictineu, he is the author of nearly fifteen books, including two essays (on Frankenstein and Dracula) and novels such as Esquizo, Herba negra [Black Grass], Mångata and Janowitz. He has also compiled anthologies (Mañana todavía, Risc, Insólitas, Extraordinàries) and worked as a critic and journalist for the press, radio and television for a quarter of a century. He has been a board member and secretary of the Catalan-Language Writers Association (AELC), a “sensei” for the Frikípuls group and the deputy chair of the IBBYCAT-CLIJCAT organisation for children’s/young adult literature in Catalan. His growing body of work has been adapted to comic, theatre and film formats and translated into half a dozen languages. @ricruizgarzon