Salka Viertel was a Jewish actress who emigrated to Hollywood and was popularly known as the screenwriter of the Swedish actress Greta Garbo. Besides, she had a salon in Santa Monica, which was attended by a large part of the European intelligentsia in exile.
The book deals with topics such as Salka Viertel's alleged bisexuality and the number of friends she had, to name but a few: Albert Einstein, Charles Chaplin, Sergei Eisenstein, F. W. Murnau, Max Reinhardt, Arnold Schönberg, Thomas Mann, Bertolt Brecht, Greta Garbo, Montgomery Clift... Also, like Gertrude Stein and other notorious women, she had her literary salon through which writers like Truman Capote, Christopher Isherwood, Gore Vidal and many other writers passed. Other themes she covers are the Berlin of the 1920s; the transition from silent to spoken film, as seen from the Mecca of Hollywood. Then, the rise of Hitler and what it meant for the Jewish condition; the exile of those intellectuals who could not return to their respective countries because of the Second World War. Later, the Cold War and the witch-hunt against communism. The background to the life of Salka Viertel and her circle of friends encompasses the great events of the 20th century.
Salka was a very modern and interesting woman for her time who should be recognized as such.
"Even though Salka Viertel was such a pivotal figure in the exile community, very little has been written about her, so Núria Añó's book is a corrective, and she fills in many of the gaps of The Kindness of Strangers."—Dialog International
"A very interesting story and I think even in these very current times since in my eyes we have not made much progress on the issue of acceptance of 'interpersonal feelings' in general. A great and extremely interesting book about Hollywood in the thirties and forties about the influence of artists from European countries such as Germany, Austria, France, Sweden, England, Ukraine and others. An extensive and high-quality research project resulting in an in-depth account of many well-known and famous personalities and their interpersonal relationships."—Joannes W. M. Groenewege, Translator
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Núria Añó is a Spanish writer and a translator. Her works, including novels, short stories, essays and a biography, have been translated into fourteen languages. Her first published novel "Els nens de l'Elisa" (2006) was awarded third prize in the 24th Ramon Llull Novel Award. "L'escriptora morta" [The Dead Writer,2020] was published in 2008; "Núvols baixos" ([Lowering clouds, 2020], in 2009; "La mirada del fill", in 2012; "El salón de los artistas exiliados en California" [The Salon of Exiled Artists in California, 2020] is a biography on Jewish screenwriter Salka Viertel. Núria won the 18th Joan Fuster Prize for Fiction, fourth place for international writing at the 2018 Shanghai get-Together, and has been awarded with prestigious international grants: NVL (Finland, 2016), SWP (China, 2016), BCWT (Sweden, 2017), IWTCR (Greece, 2017), Krakow UNESCO City of Literature (Poland, 2018), IWTH (Latvia, 2019 and 2023) and IWP (China, 2020).
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About the Author
Núria Añó (1973) is a Catalan/Spanish novelist and biographer. Her first novel "Els nens de l’Elisa" was third among the finalists for the 24th Ramon Llull Prize and was published in 2006. "L’escriptora morta" [The Dead Writer, 2020], in 2008; "Núvols baixos" [Lowering Clouds, 2020], in 2009, and "La mirada del fill", in 2012. Her most recent work "El salón de los artistas exiliados en California" [The Salon of Exiled Artists in California] (2020) is a biography of screenwriter Salka Viertel, a Jewish salonnière and well-known in Hollywood in the thirties as a specialist on Greta Garbo scripts.
Some of her novels, short stories and articles are translated into Spanish, French, English, Italian, German, Polish, Chinese, Latvian, Portuguese, Dutch, Greek and Arabic.
Añó’s writing focus on the characters’ psychology, most of them antiheroes. The characters in her books are the most important due to an introspection, a reflection, not sentimental, but feminine. Her novels cover a multitude of topics, treat actual and socially relevant problems such as injustices or poor communication between people. Frequently, the core of her stories remains unexplained. Añó asks the reader to discover the deeper meaning and to become involved in the events presented.
Literary Prizes/ Awards:
2023. Awarded at International Writers’ and Translators’ House in Latvia.
2020. Awarded at International Writing Program in China.
2019. Awarded at International Writers’ and Translators’ House in Latvia.
2018. Fourth prize of the 5th Shanghai Get-together Writing Contest.
2018. Selected for a literary residence in Krakow UNESCO City of Literature, Poland.
2017. Awarded at the International Writers’ and Translators’ Center of Rhodes in Greece.
2017. Awarded at the Baltic Centre for Writers and Translators in Sweden.
2016. Awarded at the Shanghai Writing Program, hosted by the Shanghai Writer’s Association.
2016. Awarded by the Culture Association Nuoren Voiman Liitto to be a resident at Villa Sarkia in Finland.
2004. Third among the finalists for the 24th Ramon Llull Prize for Catalan Literature.
1997. Finalist for the 8th Mercè Rodoreda Prize for Short Stories.
1996. Awarded the 18th Joan Fuster Prize for Fiction.