Redonda’s Rulers

Juan Gabriel Vásquez

An article in the TLS mentions the curious kingdom of Redonda, its rulers, and Juan Gabriel Vásquez, its new king.

“Who rules Redonda? Collectors of literary esoterica will recall that this is the name of a small Caribbean island a few miles north of Montserrat. Its first “king” was M. P. Shiel, the author of The Purple Cloud (1901), whose father had claimed it on his behalf. (Redonda is uninhabited, at least by humans.) Shiel passed on the title to John Gawsworth, a young friend whose subsequent manoeuvres created some confusion about the order of succession. Widely accepted as ruler for many years – although see the TLS, April to June 2005, for some correspondence on the subject – was the Spanish novelist Javier Marías. Following Marías’s death a year ago, however, what has happened to the Kingdom of Redonda? The Spanish press took up the story last week. The new king, it was reported, is the Colombian novelist Juan Gabriel Vásquez.”

Read more here.


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