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Writers

Buenos Aires Journal
Argentina’s New Literary Tradition: Pensions for Aging Writers
Tomas Munita for The New York Times

Argentinian writer Alberto Laiseca, 71, at his house and studio in Buenos Aires.
By SIMON ROMERO
Published: August 12, 2012

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BUENOS AIRES — It is not enough for this city to boast cavernous bookstores that stay open past midnight, broad avenues once roamed by literary giants like Jorge Luis Borges, cafes serving copious amounts of beef and red wine, or even a bizarre neo-Gothic skyscraper, the Palacio Barolo, inspired by Dante’s “Divine Comedy.”
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Tomas Munita for The New York Times

Argentinian writer Bernardo Kleiner, 84, at his house and studio in Buenos Aires.

Now, writers have yet another reason to live here: pensions.

The city of Buenos Aires now gives pensions to published writers in a program that attempts to strengthen the “vertebral column of society,” as drafters of the law described their goal. Since its enactment recently, more than 80 writers have been awarded pensions, which can reach almost $900 a month, supplementing often meager retirement income.

“The program is magnificent, delivering some dignity to those of us who have toiled our entire life for literature,” said Alberto Laiseca, 71, one of the recipients, who has written more than a dozen books of horror fiction, including “The Garden of Talking Machines” and “The Adventures of Professor Eusebio Filigranati.”

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