Latina Reads: 13 Argentine Women Writers Whose Works You’ll Devour

Argentina’s most common claim to fame may be tango and its soccer players, but the South American country’s literary scene is also extensive, with women playing a huge role.  

A haven for refugees in the early 20th century, Argentina became home to women from various parts of Europe who embraced the “land of silver” and voiced their discontent with the nation’s rampant political corruption. Many were contemporaries of Jorge Luis Borges, arguably Argentina’s most famous writer, while others are just now making their mark as emerging writers in both Spanish and English.

This list of feminists and trail blazers from the second-largest country in its region is unsurprisingly eclectic, featuring works ranging from children’s poetry to the macabre, with most, if not all, decrying the violence of Argentina’s Dirty War.

1. Samanta Schweblin 

Born in Buenos Aires, Berlin-based Samanta Schweblin, 40, gained international fame with her terrifying thriller “Fever Dream,” her first book to be translated to English in 2017. The eerie novel, originally published in 2014 as “Distancia de Rescate,”  is a series of exchanges between a mysterious young boy and a woman in a hospital set in rural Argentina and dealing with themes of parental love and toxic environments. In 2010, she was chosen by UK-based literary magazine Granta as one of the “22 best writers in Spanish under 35.” Schweblin, who has authored four novels, has received the prestigious Juan Rolfo Story Prize and “Fever Dream” was even nominated for the International Man Booker Prize.

2. Mariana Enríquez

Mariana Enríquez has developed a reputation for combining folklore with supernatural elements and real-life violence. Her debut short story collection, “Things We Lost in the Fire,” is mostly set in Argentina, and within its 12 stories, there’s murder, sex work and violence — all reminiscent of the country’s Dirty War that led to the disappearance of roughly 30,000 people. Enríquez is also an editor at Página/12, a newspaper based in Buenos Aires. I always write for myself. That is to say — I primarily write thinking about Argentina, and in a larger context about Latin America, because we share many similar realities,” she told Electric Literature. The truth is that I don’t think too much about readers from any part of the world. Argentina is a theme and a character in my stories. I write for myself, thinking about my country and its reality. I don’t go beyond that.”

3. Silvina Ocampo

Born in 1903, Silvina Ocampo is one of Argentina’s most well-known short fiction writers. She published eight books of poetry and eight of stories, in addition to the notable Antología de literature fantástica that she edited with her husband, fellow Argentine sci-fi writer Adolfo Bioy Casares, and arguably the most famous Argentine writer Jorge Luis  Borges. She won the second prize in the National Poetry Competition for “Los Nombres” in 1953 and came back to win the first place prize in 1962 with “Lo amargo por dulce.” Her style includes dream-like imagery with a penchant for ghost and horror stories and mysteries. In 1980, she told an interviewer that her work had been denied Argentina’s National Prize for Literature because it was “too cruel.” Her early poem “Irremissable Memory” has the dedication “for no one,” and includes the line, ”Within me dwells that infinite impenetrable space.”

4. Ana María Shua

. Profil Penulis . . Ana María Shua lahir di Buenos Aires, pada 1951. Menggebrak dunia sastra pada usia 16 tahun lewat kumpulan puisi El sol y yo (1967) yang meraih dua penghargaan nasional. Kini ia telah melahirkan puluhan buku dalam berbagai genre: puisi, novel, cerita pendek, fiksi mini, dan humor. . Ia menerima Guggenheim Fellowship untuk novel El libro de los recuerdos (1994), penghargaan Premio Club de los XIII dan Premio Ciudad de Buenos Aires untuk novel La muerte como efecto secundario (1997). . Novel anak-anaknya Miedo en el sur (2016) juga meraih Premio Ciudad de Buenos Aires. Pada 2014 ia menerima penghargaan Konex de Platino dan Premio Nacional de Literatura. Untuk pencapaiannya di genre fiksi mini, pada 2016 ia menerima Premio Internacional de Minificción dari Meksiko. . . Pemburu Aksara . Penulis: Ana María Shua Penerjemah: Ronny Agustinus Detail buku:12 x 19 cm; x + 132 hlm Harga web: Rp 45.000 Pemesanan: Konfirmasi Bukti Transfer dan No. Order (bukan pembelian): 08118204386 . . #bukubaru #pemburuaksara #anamaríashua #sastra #sastraamerikalatin #sastradunia #bukumarjinkiri #marjinkiribooks #penerbitindonesia #indiepublisher #indonesia #marjinkiri

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Known as the “Queen of Microfiction” throughout Latin America, Ana Maria Shua has published more than 80 books in numerous genres, including novels, poetry, children’s literature and Jewish folklore. Shua’s novels are humorous and often sarcastic portraits of Argentine society, as in her first novel “Soy Paciente,” which describes the miserable standards of health care that force patients to be patient. Her 2007 novel “El peso de la tentación,” translated in 2012, is a dystopian fantasy centering on a woman who stays at a fat farm to attain the ideal thin body. In 2016, she was awarded the first Premio Iberoamericano Juan José Arreola in the category of mini-fiction.

5. Luisa Valenzuela

En su libro #Entrecruzamientos, Luisa habla de la cita entre Julio Cortázar y Carlos Fuentes que propone entre sus páginas: un encuentro feliz, enriquecedor y necesario, en especial porque ya no están entre nosotros. Al llegar ayer a la charla abierta, otro amigo ya ausente fue de la partida: Luisa llegaba de despedir a Máximo Simpson, a quien recordó con la lectura de uno de sus poemas. Y así transcurrimos la tarde noche: con las historias, reflexiones y memorias que con tanta generosidad compartió, como amiga y como protagonista. Y como a Luisa le gustan los Cafés, pero en especial los Cafés de esquina, hablamos de aquel con paredes espejadas en el que #HugoPassarelloLuna la retrató en París: así quedó inaugurado el “Fotoreportaje inesperado sobre Cortázar, París y sus lectores”, un recorrido por una de las ciudades de Julio a través de sus lectores. ¡Muchas gracias Luisa por regalarnos estas historias en un día tan especial; muchas gracias Hugo por este maravilloso paseo a la distancia; muchas gracias, cronopios todos, por acompañarnos una vez más! #agendacultural #charlaabierta #luisavalenzuela #juliocortázar #carlosfuentes #hugopassarelloluna #entrecruzamientos #literatura #fotografía #cafécortázar #café #palermo #buenosaires #parís

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Known for writing from a feminist perspective, Luisa Valenzuela, 79, often uses magical realism, a style made famous in Latin America. In her lengthy career, she has released about 15 books in both English and Spanish, mostly revolving around women’s issues, Argentine politics and the violence experienced as a result of corruption in Latin America. Her novel “Cola de lagartija” is  political satire about a cruel sorcerer’s rise to  political power, which is based on Jose Lopez Rega, Isabel Peron’s Minister of Social Welfare.  Valenzuela developed a reputation for her critique of the Argentine dictatorship in the 1970s and for her examination of patriarchal power structures in society.

6. Pola Oloixarac

#nervous #premiere #30mintogo #herculesinmatogroso

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Pola Oloixarac’s first novel, “Las teorias salvajes,” was published in Argentina in 2008 and became her English debut in 2017 to rave reviews. “Savage Theories” explores violence, war, sex and philosophy through flawed and complicated characters and examines  theories about human nature. In 2010, she was awarded the Argentinian National Endowment for the Arts and named one of the Best Young Spanish Novelists by literary magazine Granta. She’s currently working on her Ph.D at Stanford University.  In 2015, she published “Las constelaciones oscuras,” which looks at Argentina’s explorers and nerds of the 21st century.  “Women are supposed to be very witty in their sentiment, very deep in their grasp of relationships, but they are not supposed to deal with other things, such as political, philosophical, high-end matters,” she told The Writing University. “Although this is not something particular to the Argentinian context, you could say that this level of machismo is a big part of Hispanic culture.”

7. Angélica Gorodischer

#angelicagorodischer #angélicagorodischer Tremenda

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Angélica Gorodischer was born in 1928 and spent most of her life in Rosario, Argentina and is known as a luminary in the world of science fiction. Her most famous work, “Kalpa Imperial,” the first of 19 award-winning books to be translated into English, was translated by famed U.S. sci-fi writer Ursula K. Le Guin. The collection of short stories is about the rise and fall of an empire spanning the time of nomads to the time of airplanes presented in an unexpected timeline. She was awarded the World Fantasy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2011.

8. Alicia Borinsky

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Alicia Borinsky has published extensively in both English and Spanish and is currently a professor of Spanish at Boston University. She has written more than a dozen works, including “Frivolous Women and Other Sinners,” featuring poems that showcase an eclectic group of women from reluctant mothers to brujas to illustrate the light and dark sides of complex and lustful women. Her most recent book, “One-Way Tickets: Writers and the Culture of Exile,” is an exploration on being a Jewish Latina. She is the recipient the Latino Literature Prize for Fiction and a John Simon Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship.

9. Liliana Heker

Liliana Heker is an award-winning novelist and founding editor of two literary magazines in Argentina: El Escarabajo de Oro (The Golden Beetle) and El Ornitorrinco (The Platypus).  A prodigy, who published her first collection of stories at 17, Heker went on to release five volumes of short stories and two novels mainly examining the dynamics in relationships (especially between women and girls) and how that connects to a bigger political or social issue.  One of her most popular English short story collections is “Please Talk to Me,” which shares snippets of different familial, everyday scenarios alluding to issues of class and social status and set during the military dictatorship in the ‘70s.

10. Silvina Bullrich

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Known as “La Gran Burguesa” (“The Great Bourgeois Lady”), best-selling novelist Silvina Bullrich was famous for criticizing male chauvinism and corruption in Argentina in her works. Her 1951 book “Bodas de Cristal,” which reviews the last 15 years of a marriage for its “crystal” anniversary, was adapted into a 1975 film, and she wrote the screenplay for it. She was raised in a privileged household, hence her nickname, but that didn’t keep her from noting social inequality in her country, which inspired one of her best-selling and most acclaimed books, “Los Burgueses.”

11. María Elena Walsh

La enorme #MariaElenaWalsh ♥️

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María Elena Walsh’s most notable contribution to literature is her children’s poetry that garnered her the illustrious Hans Christian Andersen Award in 1994 and comparisons to Lewis Carroll.  When she was 15, Walsh had some of her poems published in the magazine El Hogar and the newspaper La Nación, and a few years later she published her first collection of poetry. Her work often contained an underlying political message, which is evident in the song “El País del Nomeacuerdo” (“The Country of I-Don’t-Remember”), featured as the theme song for the film “The Official Story,” winner of the 1985 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. In 1985, she received the title of Illhe City of Buenos Aires and also gained recognition for her folklore performances working with fellow Argentine singer and one-time romantic partner Leda Valladares.

12. Norah Lange

Ultramodernist poet and memoirist Norah Lange was born in 1905 and blazed the trail for women writers during a time when it was a male-dominated genre. Her first major success came in 1937 with her memoirNotes from Childhood,” followed by the companion memoir Before They Die.Her poetry collections include La Calle de la Tarde” and “Los Días y las Noches;” however, English translations are hard to come by.  

13. Alfonsina Storni

Swiss-born Alfonsina Storni was four years old when her family immigrated to Argentina, where she grew up, to become one of the most prominent modernist poets. An ardent feminist, her views on the repression of women are most evident in “Ocre,” published in 1925, as well as “Mundo de siete pozos” and “Mascarilla y trébol.”  She struggled with depression brought on by her battle with breast cancer, which shifted her style to become more intellectual and dramatic. A volume containing all her poetry, “Obra poetica completa,”  was published in 1961.

Read: Latina Reads: 11 Panamanian And Panamanian-American Escritoras You Need To Add To Your Reading List Ahora Mismo

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