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Tertulia de Literatura y Cine: Spanish literary and film circle at the University of York

Posted on 29 October 2021

Our popular social events in Spanish Language are back on campus!

‘Tertulia de Literatura y Cine’ is a monthly event organised and run by María Muradás-Taylor (Lecturer in Spanish) at the Department of Language and Linguistic Science. In response to the Covid-19 outbreak, the series was first changed into a virtual format in 2020 then it was subsequently put on hold for a year, but due to popular demand it is now back on campus!

Initially created in 2015 as a platform mainly for students in the LLS BA in Spanish, the success of Tertulia over the years has brought together university students and members of the local community. The event is the combined result of Maria’s passion for Hispanic literature, history and politics, and her willingness to improve student experience by providing a social space where language students can meet and practice their Spanish in an informal way.

Since its creation, Tertulia has seen a wide range of participants, spanning across UG students from the LLS BA in Spanish, students of Spanish from the University of York’s Languages for All programme, and local Sixth-Form students preparing for their A-level in Spanish. Because of the variety of topics and its social aspect, Tertulia is also regularly attended by advanced or near-native speakers of Spanish from the University of York (academics, support staff, PG students), as well as members of the local community (MFL teachers and those who have lived in a Spanish speaking country for a number of years).

¡Hola, estamos de vuelta! Después de un año lleno de dificultades y confinamientos, quiero daros la bienvenida a nuestra tertulia, ya que muchos de vosotros la echasteis de menos durante el año pasado. Como ya os he dicho muchas veces, gracias a vosotros, la tertulia es un evento gratificante, que me llena de mucha satisfacción. También quiero dar la bienvenida a todos los nuevos participantes. Muchas gracias. - María Muradás-Taylor, Dept. Language and Linguistic Science, University of York

In Tertulia, participants take part in a guided discussion in Spanish about social, historical and political aspects of the Spanish-speaking world through literature and films. Each event starts off with a reading session (short stories or poetry) or the viewing of a film in Spanish language. It then comes to a close with a tutor-led audience interaction aimed to stimulate a discussion on the historical, political and social realities linked to the stories. 

Some examples of films and literary works featured in recent ‘Tertulia de Literatura y Cine’ events:

  • ‘Chufa’, Alejandra Costamagna
  • ‘Retrato de familia‘ Liliana Colanzi
  • ‘Llamada telefónica’ Roberto Bolaños
  • ‘Qué vergüenza’ Paulina Flores
  • ‘Amor de madre’ Almudena Grandes
  • ‘Pelo malo’ directed by Maríana Rondón
  • ‘La otra familia’ directed by Gustavo Loza

What some of the participants have to say about Tertulia: 

I really enjoyed participating in Tertulia; it gave us all a great opportunity to read pieces from a variety of authors, and provided a space to share ideas and develop our ability to talk critically about writing. Maria created a friendly and welcoming atmosphere where people of all ages could come together, get to know each other, and share their love of language. - Harriet Mullis, UG Spanish and Linguistics 2017-2021

It allows us to get some use out of Spanish outside of University work which can be hard while living in the UK. It lets us enjoy learning and understanding something without the pressure of assessment/grades like with actual University module work. You meet other language learners from other walks of life. You can get a taste of literature without the stress of grading. It allows you to take that step. There is no risk. - Connor Kiernan, UG Spanish and Italian 2016-2020

The monthly tertulia is a very democratic reading club: a mix of people of different ages and stages in life, different professions, different levels of Spanish, and we are all there to make sense of the challenging and always original stories that Maria selects. In Tertulia, my students and I are all equals, which probably makes them feel awkward just like it does me, but it's a very good experience for everyone of breaking down barriers and hierarchies! The atmosphere is laid-back and non-judgmental, and people's insights are interesting. It's a very special and valuable institution. - Dr. Tamar Keren-Portnoy, Senior Lecturer, LLS, University of York

Maria's Tertulia has been a wonderful success for me, and a great illustration of what lifelong education should be about. It has helped me to get back into reading Spanish and Latin American literature, and reviving my Spanish. The mix of actual university students and members of the community is great, and Maria's ability to inspire the group is evident. The Tertulia is one of the highlights of my month. - Dr. Bill Soden, Lecturer, Department of Education

Poster of the event: Tertulia de Literatura y Cine 2021-2022 

Date: Last Thursday of each month during the academic year (with some exceptions in December and Spring Break)
Room: Deborah Hines Room (V/C/212), Vanbrugh College, Dept. Language and Linguistic Science

For additional information and to join the event: