San Miguel Literary Sala - San Miguel Literary Sala, A.C. is a non-profit organization in Mexico

January 11, 2018: Literary Sala Readings

Date: Thursday, January 11, 2018
Time: 5:00–7:00 p.m.

Location: Hotel de La Aldea
Ancha de San Antonio #15

Admission: $50 pesos for Literary Sala members, $100 for non-members. Complimentary Wine Reception. Tickets available at the door.

San Miguel’s Unsung Hero: Cossio del Pomar Plus The Story of a Jewish Immigrant

By Carole Schor

The first Literary Sala of 2018 presents two types of history: the story of Felipe Cossío del Pomar, founder of the art school at the Instituto Allende; and Bernard Beck’s own family memoir, One American Dream, A Family History.

Felipe Cossio del Pomar

The Instituto Allende is one of the most iconic landmarks in San Miguel de Allende. But how often do we walk by it without thinking about its history, how it came to define San Miguel, who started it and what secrets it holds. Felipe Cossío del Pomar was a Peruvian painter and left-wing political activist who was exiled from his country and came to San Miguel. He thought the town was the perfect spot for an art school, and in 1938, he founded one in what is now Bellas Artes. The school fell into the hands of incompetent leadership and closed, so in 1950, Pomar founded a second art school at the Instituto Allende, a university-level arts school that still remains active. Cossío del Pomar loved social gatherings and cultural reunions, and sent invitations to friends, writers and artists to come stay at his Rancho de Atascadero in San Miguel. The visits by extraordinary writers such as Pablo Neruda and Nobel Prize Laureate Gabriela Mistral are collected in Pomar’s memoir, Cossío del Pomar in San Miguel de Allende, translated into English by Maline Gilbert McCalla in 2007.

Pomar was a close friend of Stirling Dickinson, who co-founded the Instituto Allende with him. In some ways, Pomar is the true founder of the arts community that still thrives here in San Miguel. Many feel we should name a street after Pomar!

On January 11, we will see a short film about Pomar, created by Ezequiel Morones, and we will meet both Morones and Maline McCalla, the translator of Pomar’s memoir.

Bernard Beck

Bernard BeckBernard Beck, author of One American Dream: A Family History, is the story of a Jewish immigrant from Poland who arrives in New York City in the late 1800s, when many Jews were leaving Eastern Europe because of persecution and poverty.

With references to Jewish scholars from Hillel to Maimonides, to social and ceremonial distinctions between Orthodox and Reform Jews, and to Kabbalah, One American Dream chronicles the life of three generations as they make their way through the murky waters of immigration and assimilation. Jack Rubin, once Jacob Rubinowitz of Poland, finds that no matter how much he integrates into America and the middle class success he has been chasing, he feels like a failure. Only when he finds himself helping those less fortunate during the Great Depression does Jack realize that he’s been a real American all along.

Join us for a fascinating evening of books and history at the Literary Sala on January 11 at 5 PM at the Hotel La Aldea. Admission is $50 pesos for members and $100 pesos for non-members, including a wine and snack reception.

December 21, 2017: Poetry Café Bellas Artes

Date: Thursday, December 21, 2017
Time: 5:00–6:00 p.m.

Location: Sala Literaria at Bellas Artes, 1st Floor
Centro Cultural Ignacio Ramírez “El Nigromante”
Hernández Macías 75, Centro

Admission: Suggested Donation $50 pesos

San Miguel’s Poetry Café To Host “Open Mic”

By Maia Williams

Calling all poets! San Miguel de Allende’s Poetry Café Bellas Artes will end 2017 with an Open Mic on Thursday, December 21st, 5:00 – 6:00 PM.

Poets are asked to arrive at Sala Literaria at 4:30 PM to claim one of twelve time slots. Each poet may share up to three poems for a total presentation of four minutes or less.

First-time Open Mic Café presenters who arrive by 4:30 will be given priority.

Poetry Café Bellas Artes: Winona LInn

Winona Linn

Since it’s inaugural event in January of 2016, the Poetry Café has featured dozens of established and emerging poets from San Miguel de Allende and throughout Mexico, Canada, the United States, and France. We welcome members of the community and visitors to participate, as presenting poets and as members of the audience.

Poetry Café Bellas Artes meets monthly, September through April. The all-volunteer community organization features local and visiting poets (established and emerging) sharing original work in a casual setting.

Lemonade will be served. Seating is first come, first seated.

December 14, 2017: Literary Sala Readings

Date: Thursday, December 14, 2017
Time: 5:00–7:00 p.m.

Location: Hotel de La Aldea
Ancha de San Antonio #15

Admission: $50 pesos for Literary Sala members, $100 for non-members. Complimentary Wine Reception. Tickets available at the door.

Literary Sala: The Future of Books and the History of San Miguel

By Carole Schor

The December 14 Literary Sala proudly presents Merilyn Simonds, the popular Canadian author of sixteen books, and local San Miguel historian, Joseph Toone.

Merilyn Simonds

Merilyn’s topic on December 14 is, “The Future of Books,” and will be about her latest book entitled Gutenberg’s Fingerprint. The book explores the greatest change in the literary world, the invention of the printing press, which not only brought literacy and knowledge to the whole world, but also heralded the beginning of the manufacturing era. Merilyn investigates the past, present and evolving future of what we call a “book” in paper, type, ink, and press. She unravels our assumptions about reading, writing, the nature of creativity, and the value of imperfection. Gutenberg’s Fingerprint is a timely and fascinating book that explores the myths, inventions, and consequences of the digital shift and attempts to answer the question: what is lost and what is gained as paper turns to pixel.

Merilyn loves books, be they print or digital, or now audible. “I am part of the last generation to grow up in a world where books were made of paper, where writing meant moving a pen or pencil through the cursive alphabet, and publishing involved big companies with big machines. I’ve watched the digital revolution replace paper with pixels, pencils with electronic keyboards, publishers with the ability to produce our own books.”

Books and writing have always been a part of Merilyn’s life, beginning with writing her first book in the 1970’s on a Smith Corona typewriter. “As I wrote Gutenberg’s Fingerprint, I thought a lot about books, what they are, what they mean, why I love them, how they are changing and how they are becoming what they started out to be.” She loves the feel of a book in her hand. “There is something deeply intimate about a book. It nestles in my hands for hours, my fingers tracing down its spine. I gaze into its pages with rapt attention.” Still, she has embraced the digital revolution (perhaps somewhat reluctantly, as a seismic change in the literary landscape) for the ease of storytelling. “Because, in the end, what matters are stories—stories that we’ve been telling each other, in one form or another, for as long as we’ve lived.”

Joseph Toone

Joseph Toone is a storyteller as well, with a specialization in the stories and tales of our own San Miguel de Allende. His tours combine Mexican history, faith, and culture with insight into how today’s traditions are a mix of the indigenous and Spanish. Joseph’s knowledge of the interplay of pre-Hispanic cultures and Catholicism in the history of San Miguel, his familiarity with the history of each church and its evolution, all the saints, the virgins, and the cultural evolution of the city make for a lively and interesting tour for visitors to SMA.

Joseph has taken all the stories behind the symbolism, religious significance, and architectural charm in San Miguel and surrounding areas and created a series of books, San Miguel de Allende Secrets. His Christmas with St. Nick’s Nudes, Devils and Jesus’ Doppelganger is a unique guide to the San Miguel Christmas traditions that are an extraordinary mixture of an ancestral pagan past and the Catholic faith.  Easter with Plagues, Prison, Piñatas and Popsicles will tell you everything about Semana Santa, the uniquely Latin tradition of Holy Week leading up to Easter Sunday. Want to know why there are fireworks every night and morning and what the church bells mean?  Joseph’s History and Culture with Virgins, Barbies and Transgender Saints will tell you all you want to know. And if you’ve just enjoyed a fantastic week of Catrinas and calacas, you can find out more in Joseph’s book, Day of the Dead with Skeletons, Witches and Spirit Dogs.

Join us for a fascinating evening of books and history at the Literary Sala on December 14 at 5 PM at the Hotel Aldea. Admission is 50 pesos for Literary Sala members and 100 pesos for non-members, including a wine and snack reception. To explore membership, go to

December 9, 2017: Holiday Book Fair

Date: Saturday, December 9, 2017
Time: 11:00 a.m.–3:00 p.m.

Location: Casa Europa en México
San Francisco #23, Centro

Local Authors Will Read at the Holiday Book Fair

By Sarah Grace Powers

San Miguel Book FariThe Literary Sala’s Holiday Book Fair is scheduled for Saturday, December 9th, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m at Casa Europa en México (San Francisco #23, Centro). Don’t miss this fun event where you’ll have an opportunity to meet and chat with local authors as well as artisans.

At the Fair you may just be able to finish your holiday shopping list all in one swoop! In addition to art prints, cards, and other artisanal items, you’ll find numerous books in various genres, all penned by local authors, including a few in Spanish.

A popular feature is the mini-readings that go on throughout the day. The authors read or tell stories from their own books, and sometimes have time for a few questions. Check out the reading schedule below.

2017 12 Book Fair Reading Schedule