Tag Archives: Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Happy Birthday, Mario Vargas Llosa!

Mario Vargas Llosa was born 76 years ago today in Arequipa, Peru. He is one of only a dozen Latinos to win the Nobel Prize in Literature, which he received two years ago.

He is known – along with Mexican Carlos Fuentes and his rival, Colombian Gabriel García Márquez – for the Latin American boom in literature in the 1960s. Here’s a terrific article from The New York Times when he won the Nobel.

Politics remain a central theme in his works and his life – 1963’s Time of the Hero, which was burned by Peruvian soldiers because of its depiction of military schools; 1975’s Conversation in the Cathedral, describes life under 1950s Peru while dictator Manuel A. Odría rules the country; Death in the Andes, released in 1993, is a haunting tale about the disappearance of men in Peru; and 2000’s The Feast of the Goat, covers time in the Dominican Republic under Rafael Trujillo’s regime. Vargas Llosa ran unsuccessfully for president of Peru in 1990.

But Vargas Llosa isn’t always serious: 1982’s Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter is a comic novel about the title character’s affair with her nephew.

His next book, The Dream of the Celt, about Irish human rights activist Roger Casement, is scheduled to come out in June.

Leave a comment

Filed under Author Profiles

Happy Birthday, Gabriel García Márquez!

(Update: García Márquez passed away in April 2014. Here is his obituary from The New York Times; an overview of his life in Mental Floss magazine that first appeared in 2009; a collection of his short stories published in The New Yorker; and reaction to his death from world leaders and writers compiled by the Huffington Post.)

Gabriel García Márquez was born 85 years old today in Aracataca, Colombia. He is the greatest Latino writer alive, perhaps ever.

García Márquez is known for his classic books, One Hundred Years of Solitude and Love in the Time of Cholera. He was part of the Latin American boom of literature in the 1960s, along with Carlos Fuentes and his rival, Mario Vargas Llosa. (Their feud resulted in García Márquez getting a black eye.)

His books are known for their magic realism. But some books are too realistic: 1996’s News of a Kidnapping, which reflected the turmoil in his country, recently received a sales boost in Tehran because the story is similar to recent events in that country.

What makes García Márquez the most significant writer in Latino literature today? He was awarded the Nobel Prize in literature earlier than any other living recipient. But he’s also permeated the pop culture more than anyone else. Oprah Winfrey chose his works for her book club. Cholera plays a major plot point in the 2001 movie Serendipity. And, best of all, actor Tom Hanks is shown reading Solitude in the 1989 movie Turner and Hooch. What could be better than that?

1 Comment

Filed under Author Profiles

In the news: New books by Sáenz and Aira, plus Cisneros, García Márquez

New releases:

• Coming out this week: the young adult novel Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz, about the friendship between two teenage boys, and Varamo by César Aira, about the making of an epic poem by a Panamanian bureaucrat.

Latino scholars honored:

Latino scholars Teófilo Ruiz and Ramón Saldívar were awarded the National Humanities Medal by President Barack Obama.

Children’s books:

Pam Muñoz Ryan’s When Marian Sang: The True Recital of Marian Anderson and Esperanza Rising and Antonio Skarmeta’s The Composition made USA Today’s 100 Greatest Books for Kids.

Reading is Fundamental’s 2011-12 Multicultural Booklist includes books by Loretta Lopez, Alma Flor Ada, George Ancona and Gary Soto.

Other stories:

• The San Antonio Current ran an article about author Sandra Cisneros’ impact on the city, which she plans to leave.

Gabriel García Márquez’s Love in the Time of Cholera inspired Carlos Campos’ latest fashion collection, according to the Los Angeles Times.

• A Toronto librarian found a letter that appeared to have been written by Jorge Luis Borges, reports the Canadian magazine Quill & Quire.

Leave a comment

Filed under 2012 Books, Children's Books, News

Love, Latino-style: Books and movies for Valentine’s Day

Depending on your point of view, Valentine’s Day is either one of the best or worst holidays of the year. But no matter what your point of view, this is a good time to look at some of the greatest love stories in Latino literature.

For the hopeless romantic:

In Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s Love in the Time of Cholera – young Florentino Ariza loves Fermina Daza from the moment he sees her – and keeps loving her even when she marries another man. This classic book was made into a 2007 movie staring Javier Bardem and Benjamin Bratt.

For the food lover:

Tita’s emotions can be felt in the food she is making in Laura Esquivel’s 1989 Like Water for Chocolate ­– and her emotions are intense when her sister marries the man she loves. The best-selling novel, made into a 1992 movie, includes recipes for the meals.

For a good cry:

Francisco Goldman’s 2011 Say Her Name tells the story of Goldman’s relationship with his wife, Aura Estrada, who died in a swimming accident. His love for her is so palpable that your heart will break along with his.

For the poetry fan:

If you prefer poetry, you can’t more romantic than Nobel Prize-winning poet Pablo Neruda’s Love Poems. This book inspired the 1994 Academy Award-nominated movie Il Postino, in which Neruda appears as a character who helps a postal carrier woo the woman he loves. 

For the movie lover:

The 2011 film Chico and Rita features the romance between a Cuban pianist and singer in the 1940s. NPR talked to co-director Fernando Trueba about the film, which is up for an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature Film.

Do you know of any other great Latino love stories that should be included here? Post them in the comments.

Leave a comment

Filed under Features, Fiction, Movies

In the news: Arizona, awards, Mexico, Marquez, Saenz

Arizona:

• Wednesday will mark a National Day of Solidarity in which educators across the country are encouraged to teach the controversial Tucson, Ariz., school district curriculum – including Latino-themed books such as Occupied America. The district put away the books so it could still receive funding from the state, which has banned ethnic studies. Tucson teacher Curtis Acosta discussed the situation here.

• The Huffington Post wrote about Aztec Muse magazine’s Librotraficante caravan, which will distribute the banned books in Tucson in March.

The Progressive magazine features several articles about the situation, with reactions from banned authors Ana Castillo, Junot Diaz and Dagoberto Gilb.

Awards:

• Books by Meg Medina and Bettina Restrepo were named to the 2011 Amelia Bloomer list for their feminist themes. Medina was honored for Tia Isa Wants a Car and Restrepo was awarded for Illegal.

• Congratulations to California-based writer Jennifer Torres, who won the Lee and Low New Voices Award for her book, Live at the Cielito Lindo. She received a publishing contract from the publisher.

• The 2011 Best Fiction for Young Adults list, chosen by the Young Adult Library Services Association, includes I Will Save You by Matt de la Peña, Under the Mesquite by Guadalupe Garcia McCall and What Can(t) Wait by Ashley Hope Pérez.

Mexico:

• Nobel Prize winner Mario Vargas Llosa and 170 other writers signed a letter published in the Mexican newspaper El Universal calling for the end of violence to journalists in that country, according to the BBC.

Author profiles:

• Nobel winner Gabriel Garcia Marquez, left, talked to the Daily Sun about his return to journalism.

Benjamin Alire Sáenz discussed his writing and painting to the El Paso Times. The article noted that Sáenz, as well as Marquez and Pat Mora, made the list of the top 50 most inspiring writers in the world by Poets & Writers magazine in 2010. Salvador Plascencia was also included.

• Slam poet Jessica Helen Lopez received a nice profile from the San Antonio Express-News before a recent performance there.

Leave a comment

Filed under Awards, Children's Books, News, Young Adult Books

In the news

New releases: Fantasy mega-bestseller Diana Gabaldon, who is of Mexican-American and English descent, released her latest book, The Scottish Prisoner, on Tuesday.  Entertainment Weekly has a great interview in which she lists her favorite and not-so-favorite books. Also new on the bookshelves is Something Urgent I Have to Say to You: The Life and Works of William Carlos Williams, a biography of the poet, who was half-Puerto Rican, by Herbert Leibowitz.

Year in Review: Two of The Hispanic Reader’s favorite books of the year, Héctor Tobar’s The Barbarian Nurseries and Francisco Goldman’s Say Her Name, were named to The New York Times’s 100 Notable Books of 2011. For its Best of 2011 list, Kirkus Reviews picked The Secret History of Costaguana by Columbian author Juan Gabriel Vásquez and We the Animals by Justin Torres. (Its teen list includes by If I Could Fly by Judith Ortiz Cofer and Under the Mesquite by Guadalupe Martinez McCall.) Animals also made Amazon.com’s Best of 2011 Top Twenty list. Lorraine Lopez’s The Realm of Hungry Spirits was selected for Bookpage’s best list.

Law: Nobel Laurete Gabriel García Márquez won a lawsuit in which a Colombian man claimed that a character in Márquez’s 1984 book Chronicle of a Death Foretold was based on him, according to The Guardian.

Random: President Obama purchased Junot Diaz’s The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, among other books, while holiday shopping, ABC News reported.

Awards: Julia Alvarez, pictured at right, recently wrote about her acceptance of the Vermont Governor’sAward for Excellence in the Arts, which she received in November. The Cervantes Prize, considered the most prestigious Spanish language literary award, was given to Chilean poet Nicanor Parra, 97.

Leave a comment

Filed under News

Happy Birthday, Carlos Fuentes!

Update: Carlos Fuentes passed away in May 2012. Here’s his obituary from The New York Times and a remembrance from his friends Alberto Manguel and Liz Calder in The Guardian.

Fuentes, perhaps Mexico’s best known writer, turns 83 today. Along with Columbian Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Peruvian Mario Llosa Vargas, he was part of the Latin American boom in literature in the 1960s and 1970s. Encyclopedia Britannica has his biography here.

His best known books are 1962’s The Death of Artemio Cruz, about an dying soldier looking back on his life, and 1985’s The Old Gringo, the story of an American writer in the Mexican revolution that was made into a 1989 movie with Gregory Peck, Jane Fonda and Jimmy Smits.

Here’s some clips of Fuentes on The Charlie Rose Show.

In this article for the Latin American Herald-Tribune, Fuentes discussed the history of Latin American literature.

Leave a comment

Filed under Author Profiles

Latinos and the Nobel Prize

Sometime this month, the Nobel Prize will be awarded for literature. Only a dozen of the 107 recipients – including 2010 recipient, Peruvian Mario Vargas Llosa (right) – have Hispanic and/or Latino roots.

The Nobel Prize is considered the most prestigious literary award in the world, given for lifetime achievement. So, who are some possible Latino contenders for the Nobel? Chile’s Isabel Allende seems like a great candidate – she has accumulated a large amount of work with critical acclaim. Other possible contenders could include Oscar Hijuelos and Victor Villasenor (as Felix Sanchez noted in this Huffington Post article about the Kennedy Center honors).

But since Llosa won his award fairly recently, the committee may give the honor to a writer from another part of the world. The committee can be unpredictable, as The Guardian pointed out in a recent article: “Some of their choices are so leftfield as to barely register.” The Washington Post speculates that Canadian Margaret Atwood, Syrian Adonis or American Phillip Roth could win the literary prize. By the way, no American has won the award since Toni Morrison took the prize in1993.

Here’s a list at the past Latino Nobel Prize winners. Click on this link to learn more about them.

1904 – José Echegaray, Spain

1922 – Jacinto Benavente, Spain

1945 – Gabriela Mistral, Chile

1956 – Juan Ramón Jiménez, Spain

1967 – Miguel Ángel Asturias, Guatemala

1971 – Pablo Neruda, Chile

1977 – Vicente Aleixandre, Spain

1982 – Gabriel García Márquez, Colombia

1989 – Camilo José Cela, Spain

1990 – Octavio Paz, Mexico

1998 – José Saramago, Portugal

2010 – Mario Vargas Llosa, Peru/Spain

Leave a comment

Filed under Author Profiles, Awards, Fiction

Meet novelist Guadalupe Garcia McCall

The seeds for Guadalupe Garcia McCall’s career as a novelist began in school, when her teachers encouraged her to become a writer. McCall’s first young adult novel, Under the Mesquite, was published earlier this month by Lee & Low Books.

McCall was born in Mexico and grew up in Eagle Pass. She is working on a second young adult novel and her poetry has been published in several literary journals. She also works as a junior high English teacher.

Q: Tell me more about your book, Under the Mesquite.

Under the Mesquite is a novel in verse, which came about because my editor, Emily Hazel, came across a small collection of poems I had submitted to Lee & Low. The poems were nothing more than small vignettes, glimpses of my life on the border, but Emily loved the poems so much she asked if I would work with her on turning the collection into a book. I agreed and thus began a three-year journey. Through several revisions, Emily and I decided to make it a work of fiction to allow for more freedom in the creative process.

Under the Mesquite is the story of Lupita, a young Mexican-American girl living the American dream, trying to fit in, dealing with normal teenage angst, until she learns her mother has cancer. The news devastates the family, but Lupita is determined to do whatever it takes to help Mami get better, and that includes taking on the role of parents while her parents travel to Galveston for her mother’s treatments. Unfortunately, life gets harder and harder, and Lupita’s journey is long and painful. However, because she is strong in love and faith, Lupita learns to cope and ultimately survive this difficult time in her life.

Q: What inspired you to become a writer?

Both my parents were an inspiration to me. They were hard-working people, with little education, so they always stressed education for us. My parents wanted great things for each and every one of us. They always made sure we saw how special and talented we were. From an early age, they looked for and fostered our “qualities” or talents.

However, my teachers played an integral role in my desire to become a writer. My third grade teacher, Mr. Hernandez, read a story I wrote in Spanish and asked me if I was going to become a writer. That planted the seed. Then, in high school, Ms. Garcia and Ms. Urbina were convinced I had the talent to become published. Even Ms. Moses, my mentor and math teacher, wanted that for me. I’ll never forget that she gave me a Writer’s Digest book for my high school graduation. I have all my wonderful teachers to thank for this beautiful dream I am living. They planted and nurtured the seed within me. All I had to do was believe them.

Q: What Latino/a authors have been your biggest influence and why?

There are so many authors I admire. I love Sandra Cisneros and Gary Soto and Julia Alvarez. As far as fiction is concerned, the author I love reading is Gabriel Garcia Marquez. I love his One Hundred Years of Solitude. I’ve read and reread that book so many times, and yet, every time, it feels like the first time because there is so much depth to that book. Someday, I want to grow up to write just like him. However, I am especially fond of Pat Mora, who has such beautiful lyrical poetry for children. I love her Dizzy in Your Eyes. She is my inspiration and my idol and “Dia de los Ninos” (her celebration of family literary) is close to my heart.

3 Comments

Filed under 2011 Books, Author Q&A, Fiction, Young Adult Books

News from Latino authors

Here’s some news happening this week with Latino authors:

• Cuban-American author Alisa Valdes (formerly Valdes-Rodriguez) released her third book in The Dirty Girls Social Club series, Lauren’s Saints of Dirty Faith, this week. She’s selling the novel by e-book and paperback through an online merchant instead of through traditional bookstores. An excerpt of the book can be found in the October issue of Latina magazine.

The Guardian reported that Colombian Nobel Prize winner Gabriel García Márquez’s 1996 book, News of a Kidnapping, has been selling out in Tehran because it has drawn similarities to kidnappings in Iran.

• Puerto Rican writer Justin Torres continues to get critical acclaim for his book We the Animals, and, as this Reuters article points out, he has made it to the New York Times bestsellers chart.

• A campaign to bring a Latino-oriented bookstore, called La Casa Azul, to East Harlem has drawn attention from the Shelf Awareness e-newsletter and the Huffington Post. The owner hopes to raise $40,000, which an anonymous donor will match.

• Brazilian Paulo Coelho, (pictured at right) author of one of the mega-bestselling book, The Alchemist, will release his latest novel, Aleph, on Sept. 26.

Leave a comment

Filed under 2011 Books, News