Women writers from Latin America are riding a wave of acclaim.


Women writers from Latin America are riding a wave of acclaim.

Women writers from Uruguay to Mexico, Argentina to Ecuador are gaining traction after years of marginalization by an industry that they believe has always favored male authors.

They reject the description of a new “Latin American boom,” similar to the one that propelled male writers like Mario Vargas Llosa of Peru and Gabriel Garcia Marquez of Colombia to popularity in the 1960s and 1970s.

Rather, they see their success as a welcome departure from the bigotry that kept many of their forefathers out of the workforce during the twentieth century.

Hundreds of writers, editors, and literary agents are set to descend on Guadalajara this weekend for the Guadalajara International Book Fair, which is widely regarded as one of the most important in the world.

For her novel “Mugre Rosa,” Uruguayan writer Fernanda Trias will be awarded the Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz Prize (Filthy Rose).

The Latin American boom of the twentieth century exalted luminaries like Garcia Marquez and Mario Vargas Llosa, but it also “rendered the great women writers of the time invisible,” according to Trias, 45.

Things, though, are changing.

Cristina Peri Rossi, a compatriot, won the Cervantes Prize this year, which is considered the most prestigious award in Spanish-language writing.

Karina Pacheco of Peru prefers to speak of a “beautiful outpouring of women’s voices” rather than a “boom.”

“They’ve been there for a long time, contained by a dam, by the assumption that a woman can’t write as well as a guy,” said Pacheco, 52, author of “El ano del viento” (The Year of the Wind).

Guadalupe Nettel, the 2014 Herralde Spanish literary prize winner for her novel “Despues del invierno” (After the Winter), observes underlying trends in reader preferences.

“Much more towards subjectivities, minorities, the most intimate stories,” she remarked, both writers and readers.

“And women have always been the great narrators of ordinary life, of the inner life,” the 48-year-old continued.

According to Maria Fernanda Ampuero, the Ecuadorian author of “Pelea de Gallos,” common themes tackled by Latin American women writers include violence, dread, and victimhood, as well as terror, supernatural or otherwise (Cockfight).

Another common thread is the refusal to marry or have children, because “we were on the streets more, more exposed… to the hazards of being a woman,” said Ampuero, 45.

De-romanticizing motherhood and “the various sorts of abuse faced by women’s bodies” are frequent themes, according to Trias.

“Women’s issues are human issues,” she stated.

Regardless of the advances, discrimination exists in the sense that “anything that women make is positioned as if it were female literature,” but male writing is not. The Washington Newsday Brief News is a daily newspaper published in Washington, D.C.


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