Letters From Alain by Enrique Perez Diaz

Letters From Alain

Written by Enrique Perez Diaz

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Shortlisted for the Marsh Award for Children’s Literature in Translation.

This is a moving tale by a Cuban writer of a child coming to terms with the realities of life in Cuba – a unique society tht despite the world around it just doesn’t modernise, whilst coping with some very strange letters from his best friend who has gone away with his family to find a better life in America. Contemporary and cross-cultural it covers the morality of conflict – that of Cuba and America – and friendships forged both near and far. Brilliant storytelling it will encourage the reader to explore and challenge their own perceptions.

Very few titles read in the UK (a mere 3%) are books read in translation and even fewer are aimed at children. In France that figure is nearer 50%. It is vital that young people have the opportunity to read books fromas wide a range of countries and cultures as possible. The publisher of Letters from Alain is one such publisher and the Marsh Award in Translation selects the best of the books in translation and this is one.

Simon Breden, who translated this novel from Spanish, is a theatre director and visiting university lecturer.

The other titles shortlisted for the Marsh Award were Tina's Web, My Brother Johnny, When the Snow Fell, Message in a Bottle, and Toby Alone.


Letters From Alain by Enrique Perez Diaz

Arturo, a 12 year old boy lives on the island of Cuba. One day, his best friend Alain goes away with his family on a small boat, in search of a better life in America.

When Alain’s dog returns mysteriously, the adults fear the worst. Meanwhile Arturo is receiving strange letters from his friend. What do they mean? And will his friend ever return?


"Letters from Alain reflects the experience of a generation of children who have lived through the conflict between a tiny island and a powerful empire." - The Metro

"This evocative and thought-provoking short-story is to be enjoyed by adults and youth alike." - Trish Meehan, CubaSi

Praise for the Aurora series:

"A strong anti-war statement, with a narrative firmly grounded in the reality of a small, foggy Italian town – a reality which makes the story’s ending still more haunting." - Susan Price, The Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize Winner

"I can’t think of a more important innovation than this in publishing for young readers. In a world where empathy and knowledge are so crucial to all our futures, it is vital that young people have the opportunity to read books from as wide a range of countries and cultures as possible. At present, less than 3% of published books for young people come from abroad. In France, it is more than 50%. We have a mountain to climb and this is a significant step. Unique too." - Michael Murpogo, former Children’s Laureate

About the Author

Enrique Perez Diaz

Born in Havana, Cuba. Enrique studies and promotes children’s literature in Cuba as President of the Cuban Children’s Writers’ Association and Vice-President of Cuba’s section of IBBY. He is the winner of many awards for his short stories and novels for children: The Golden Age, New Pines, Ismaelillo, finalist in EDEBE and awarded with the ‘White Rose’ of the UNEAC Children’s Literature section. His work is steeped in today’s world and deals with burning issues, in a magical realist style.

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Enrique Perez Diaz
More books by Enrique Perez Diaz


Aurora Metro Publications

Publication date

12th June 2008




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