An interesting publishing experiment is being conducted in Peru and the winner gets a publishing contract at the end of it.
On a chilly Monday night in Lima, a bar called La Noche is packed. Usually people come to see live bands. But tonight they’re here for Lucha Libro.
It’s a twist on Lucha Libre, Mexico’s version of pro wrestling, where competitors put on masks and pseudonyms to duke it out in a ring.
Peru’s Lucha Libro is kind of like that, without the violence. It’s literary “wrestling.” New writers don masks, and head onto a stage where they’re given three random words, a laptop hooked up to a gigantic screen, and five minutes to write a short story.
At the end of a match, the losing writer has to take off his or her mask. The winner goes on to the next round, a week later. And the grand prize? It’s a book contract.
The chance to win that coveted publishing contract is important, says writer Christopher Vasquez, one of the founders of Lucha Libro, but there’s more to the contest than that.
“It’s also about changing the idea that literature is boring. This turns it into an event. Because it’s not just about the opportunity for a young person to become a writer,” he says. “It’s also about having a place for young people to hang out – and to read.”.