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A journey through contemporary Latin American literature. These are the Latin American authors that you should read
In this series of articles, we recommend the great authors of current Latin American literature.
Here it goes the first part of the series.
Samanta Schweblin, Argentina
Schweblin is one of the most prestigious and recognized authors of recent years. She studied Image and Sound Design at the University of Buenos Aires, but she has dedicated herself to writing. In 2002, she published El kernel del disturbio, her first collection of stories with which she won the National Endowment for the Arts prize in 2001. Her second collection of stories, Pájaros en la boca (Mouthful of Birds, translated by Megan Mcdowell and published by Riverhead Books in 2019), won the Casa de las Americas prize in 2008 and was published in 2009. With these two books, an important path in Latin American letters was opened. Her stories are powerful and have the ability to confuse the reader with an alteration of what is real and what is not.
Leer en español: Literatura latinoamericana: 20 países, 20 autores (Parte I)
In 2014, she published her first novel, Distancia de rescate (Fever Dream, translated by Megan Mcdowell and published by Riverhead Books in 2017), a terrifying story about rural life in Argentina that led her to be acclaimed by literary critics; she was awarded the Juan Tigre Prize and the English version won the Shirley Jackson Award for best short novel. Her third book of short stories, Siete casas vacías, came out in 2015 with which she won the IV International Short Story Award Ribera del Duero. This year, 2019, the Penguin Random House published Kentukis, her second novel, in which the author deals with fears about the hyperconnection of the modern world.
We recommend reading Samanta Schweblin because it works with a language economy that not only makes her texts 'easy' to read at first glance, but because behind that apparent easiness there are some powerful and strange letters that will make you uncomfortable, to the point of not being able to stop reading it.
Liliana Colanzi, Bolivia
Colanzi studied Social Communication at UPSA in Santa Cruz, did a Master's degree in Latin American Studies in Cambridge and a PhD in Comparative Literature at Cornell University. Her trajectory as an author consists of three collections of stories: Vacaciones permanentes, 2010; La ola, 2014 and Our Dead World in 2016 (translated by Jessica Sequeira and published by Dalkey Archive Press in 2017), edited by Laguna Libros in Colombia. In 2004, the author won the National Short Story Contest and in 2015 she was awarded the Aura Estrada International Literature Prize.
To read Liliana Colanzi is to find an interesting proposal in which the indigenous cosmovision is handled with the western world from stories of simple situations that become wonderful and strange, at the moment in which these very different ways of rationalizing are found in a same point. Colanzi's writing accounts for the absurdity that can be 'credible'.
João Paulo Cuenca, Brazil
Cuenca was born in Rio de Janeiro and studied a degree in Economics at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro. He began his journey in letters in 1999 by writing in the blog Folhetim Bizarro and, shortly after, publishing in a magazine a story called "Baile Perfumado", which gave him recognition in the local literary circle. By that time, Cuenca was working on Corpo Presente, a book that was published in 2002 and highly praised by critics.
In 2007, he published O dia Mastroianni and, in that same year, he was chosen among the best authors under 39 for Bogota 39. In 2010, he published The only happy ending for a love story is an accident (translated by Elizabeth Lowe and published by Tagus Press in 2013), a book that "tells two love stories that intersect, the story of an erotic doll and its creator, an old poet, and the story of the son of this poet, a young executive, with a Romanian-Polish waitress. While telling these stories, I try to reflect on the representation and the world full of images where we live today", according to the author's own words. The last thing he published was Descobri que estava morto, a novel that he adapted to film and launched in 2015. The author is also a chronicler and filmmaker.
We recommend you to read Cuenco for his writing careless of the social context, without being pejorative, because he is faithful to his idea of a project far from capturing a social reality. It is also necessary to approach Latin American literature that is not Spanish-speaking, because in Brazil many of the brightest feathers of our time have been created.
Nona Fernández, Chile
Fernández is an actress, screenwriter, and writer; she studied at the Theater School of the Catholic University of Chile and founded the theater company Merri Melodys. She began her career in literature by participating in a creative writing workshop with Antonio Skármeta and winning the Gabriela Mistral Literary Prize in 1995. In 2000, she released her first collection of short stories, El cielo, and in 2002 she published her first novel, Mapocho, for which she won the Municipal Prize for Literature of Santiago. So far she has published five other novels: Av. 10 de Julio Huamachuco (2007), Uqbar (2012), Space invaders (2013), Chilean Electric (2015) and La dimensión desconocida (2016), winning novel of the Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz Award in 2017.
She defines herself as an "Actress for pleasure, narrator to mess with everyone, for not forgetting what should not be forgotten, scriptwriter of soap operas out of necessity, uncomfortable and sometimes angry Chilean". In fact, Fernandez writes for the reader and herself to keep the memory intact, a memory that is the reality of the darkest days that were already, but in a certain way continue to exist.
LatinAmerican Post | Vanesa López Romero
Translated from "Literatura latinoamericana: 20 países, 20 autores (Parte 1)"