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Latina Reads: 9 Bolivian Authors And Poets To Get Fired Up About This Month

In a country that is known for its patriarchal views and the marginalization of women, some of the women on this list used the power of their words to promote equality. Today Bolivian women are in every position of power and its thanks in part to feminist icons like Adela Zamudio who used her poems to empower and enlighten. The nation is home to the largest population of indigenous people in South America and their voice and struggles are also represented in some of the publications on this list. Bolivians are among the largest group of migrants from South America in the U.S. with estimates around 200,000 and yet little is talked about when it comes to these feminist pioneers and their rich literary contributions.

This week, we’re reflecting on these positive and influential mujeres and why they need to be on your bookshelf.

Giovanna Rivero

Considered one of Bolivia’s most successful contemporary writers, Giovanna Rivero has received awards and acclaim for her short stories. Rivero, 46, has published four short story collections including “Las Bestias” published in 2005 and awarded the National Literary Prize of Santa Cruz. In 2006 she was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship and later earned a master’s degree and doctorate in Latin American literature from the University of Florida. She has taught at her alma mater, the University of Santa Cruz de la Sierra and Ithaca College. Her latest book, “The Darkest of the Forest,” is the sequel to “La Dueña De Nuestros Sueños,” (“The Owner of Our Dreams”) and it follows the three protagonists from the original novel as they enter adolescence and one’s battle with bipolar disorder.

María Mujía

Bolivian poet María Mujía is one of the nation’s first Romantic poets and one of its first female writers following its independence. She was born in 1812 and blind by the age of 14 but that didn’t stop her from writing more than 300 poems and a novel. She’s known for her honest and lyrical prose and melancholy and dark verses that led to her being known as the “La Alondra del Dolor” (“The Lark of Pain”). Her body of work was collected by Gustavo Jordán Ríos and published under the title “María Josefa Mujía: Obra Completa” in 2009. 

Blanca Wiethüchter

Historian, writer and publisher Blanca Wiethüchter is considered one of the most iconic poets in Bolivian literature. She was born in La Paz in 1947 and starting in 1975 she published fifteen collections of poetry along with several essays, short stories and a novel, “El Jardín de Nora”. She was a professor at the University of San Andrés and organized the creative writing program at the Bolivian Catholic University. She died in 2004 in Cochabamba, Bolivia.

Yolanda Bedregal de Cónitzer

Poet and novelist Yolanda Bedregal de Cónitzer is commonly known as “Yolanda de Bolivia”, and is the founder of the Bolivian National Union of Poets. Through her works, she explored themes of isolation and loneliness and became known for her portrayal of human emotions. She published her first book “Naufragioi” in 1936 and released more than 20 collections of poetry, narrative and anthologies in the span of her career. Her work is commonly divided into three stages: the first stage explores the human condition, the second focused on symbolism, and the third centers around religion and the darker aspects of life. She died in La Paz on 21 May 1999.

Matilde Casazola

Matilde Casazola is a beloved singer and songwriter who has published thirteen books of poetry. She began writing when she was just 8 years old, taking inspiration from her environment, something she continued to do throughout her career. She published her first book of poetry in 1967 while she was in exile in Argentina where she developed her writing. Her most important works include “Obra Poética” published in 1996 which compiled 12 of her poetry books, and “Canciones del Corazón para la Vida”, a songbook that includes forty of her compositions of writing and music. In 2016, she received the National Culture Award in Bolivia. “My poetic works have often come to me in the darkness of sleepless nights, that is to say they’ve sprung from my conscious as well as my subconscious thought, and more or less in an onerous state. Melodies arise in my mind; they enchant me, and I try to memorize them. The majority of these melodies come with a poetic idea, too, so trying to decipher them and put them on paper is an interesting adventure,” she told the Bolivian Express.

Liliana Colanzi Serrate

Award-winning author Liliana Colanzi Serrate, 37, has published three short story collections including “Our Dead World” published in 2016. The novel, translated to English in 2017, tells the story of marginalized people and the contrasts between traditional and modern worlds in relation to indigenous history and colonization. In 2015 she won the International Aura Estrada literary prize, given to Spanish-speaking authors under 35 who live in Mexico and the United States. Colanzi studied social communication at the Private University of Santa Cruz de la Sierra and has a master’s in Latin American studies from the University of Cambridge, she currently teaches at Cornell University.

Ana María Romero de Campero

A prominent activist and journalist, Ana María Romero de Campero is also known for her literary works promoting democracy and human rights. She was the former Minister of State, first Defender of the People and president of the National Senate. Her books include “Not All Nor So Holy, Chronicles On Power”, about her time in the Ministry of Press and Information and the democratic resistance to the military coup. Her 2005 fiction novel “Crossed Wires” was inspired by her experiences in the Latin American Bureau of the news agency United Press International in Washington DC. Among the numerous awards she’s received, she was also nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize as part of the “1,000 Women for peace in the world” initiative in 2005. She passed away in 2010.

Adela Zamudio

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Cada 11 de octubre se celebra en Bolivia el Día de la Mujer Boliviana; es por el natalicio de su escritora más importante, y una de las precursoras del feminismo en su país: Adela Zamudio. Nació en Cochabamba y desde pequeña se interesó por la escritura; cuando llegó al tope de la educación ofrecida para mujeres en la época, siguió instruyéndose. A los 15 años publicó el poema Dos Rosas bajo el seudónimo Soledad, y a los 25 años sus poesías en El Heraldo, pero su primer libro, Ensayo poéticos, fue recién a imprenta en Buenos Aires en 1887. A esta publicación se sumaron después el compilado de poesía Ráfagas en 1903, e Íntimas, una novela de 1913; mucho material, desde cuentos a poemas y hasta obras de teatro, llegaron a imprenta tras su muerte. Es en Ráfagas donde aparece uno de sus poemas más famosos, llamado Quo Vadis, con el que se enfrentó a la Iglesia Católica. Criada dentro del catolicismo reinante en la época en América Latina, Adela Zamudio se volvió un nombre famoso en su país no sólo por sus poemas en estilo literario romántico, sino que por batallar por el laicismo en el aula. Tuvo una lucha epistolar con el Padre Pierini, sacerdote que después sería obispo, y que vio en Zamudio una enemiga de la fe. En Quo Vadis, Adela Zamudio escribió: “La Roma en que tus mártires supieron/ En horribles suplicios perecer/ Es hoy lo que Los césares quisieron/ Emporio de elegancia y de placer”. Además, la escritora dejó plasmado en sus poemas la precaria situación que vivían las mujeres. Otra de sus poesías famosas es Nacer hombre, donde ironiza sobre las infidelidades masculinas o el derecho a voto. Adela Zamudio siguió luchando por la educación de las niñas y niños de Bolivia, y se convirtió en directora. En su tumba se puede leer el siguiente poema: “Vuelvo a morar en ignorada estrella / libre ya del suplicio de la vida, / Allá os espero; hasta seguir mi huella / Lloradme ausente pero no perdida”. #mujeresbacanas #adelazamudio

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Considered Bolivia’s finest poet, Adela Zamudio is also the founder of the nation’s first feminist movement. She was born in Cochabamba in 1854 and published her first poem, “Two Roses” when she was 15 with the help of her father. She went on to become the director of a girls’ high school where she did something that was unheard of at the time- she promoted women’s rights. Her poems are considered intellectual and question religion and other ideologies, mainly focusing on society’s struggles, the revolution, and inequality. She refused to accept societal norms and battled with loneliness hence the pen name “Soledad”, which she used to publish several of her works including the controversial “Quo Vadis”. In 1926 she was given the Bolivian Crown of Distinction award, the country’s highest literary honor. In recognition of her feminist beliefs, Bolivian Women’s Day is celebrated on October 11, her birthday.

Isabel Ibañez

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The face of a girl who turned in the first round of her edits!!! ???????????????????????? I did it! Worked through 20+ notes/feedback in one month and now I get to work on the Book 2 submission package until I get line edits back for WOVEN IN MOONLIGHT (later this month)!!! . . . . On a whim, I decided to drive 2 hours to Brooklyn tomorrow for the Brooklyn Book Festival! Who else is going?! If you see me walking around by myself or trying to figure out how to parallel park my rental, come say hi to me! I’m way nice. 🙂 . . . #brooklynbookfestival #brooklynbookfestival2018 #authorsofinstagram #authorsofig #writersofinstagram #writer #writersofig #youngadultbooks #bookstagram #amediting #yalovin #bookstagram #writerscommunity #youngadultbooks

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Isabel Ibañez was born in Boca Raton to Bolivian immigrants and is set to publish her first book in 2019. The graphic designer, blogger and writer majored in creative writing and history and is  a mentor in Pitch Wars for the young adult category. Six years ago she founded the design and stationery studio 9th Letter Press and though she recently sold the company she remains their lead designer. Her debut novel, “Woven in Moonlight”, is a Bolivian-inspired fantasy that tells the story of a 17-year-old weaver who plans to overthrow the corrupt monarch of Inkasisa, it’s set to be released in the fall of 2019.

Read: Latina Reads: 7 Classic Literary Works Created By Costa Rica’s Most Beloved Women Writers

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Netflix Is Turning Gabriel García Márquez’s Classic ‘One Hundred Years of Solitude’ Into A Series


Netflix Is Turning Gabriel García Márquez’s Classic ‘One Hundred Years of Solitude’ Into A Series

Fans of magical realism rejoice. On Wednesday, Netflix announced it acquired the rights to Gabriel García Márquez’s “One Hundred Years of Solitude” and will be turning the literary masterpiece into a Spanish-language series.

This is the first time the 1967 novel, considered “one of the most significant works of the 20th Century,” will be adapted for screen. For years, the author, who died in 2014, refused to sell the film rights, believing the story could not be done justice through a two-hour project, according to Deadline.

Rodrigo Garcia and Gonzalo García Barcha, García Márquez’s sons, who are serving as executive producers on the show, believe a series is an appropriate approach to the book.

“For decades, our father was reluctant to sell the film rights to Cien Años de Soledad. He believed that it could not be made under the time constraints of a feature film, or that producing it in a language other than Spanish would not do it justice,” Rodrigo Garcia told BuzzFeed News, adding that the “current golden age of series,” with “the level of talented writing and directing, the cinematic quality of content,” changed the family’s mind.

“The time could not be better to bring an adaptation to the extraordinary global viewership that Netflix provides,” he continued.

The series will be filmed in Colombia.

“One Hundred Years of Solitude” tells the story of the multi-generational Buendia family, whose patriarch Jose Arcadio Buendia founded Macondo, a fictional town in the South American country.

The book has sold more than 50 million copies and has been translated into 46 languages.

In a statement, Francisco Ramos, Netflix’s vice president of Spanish-language content, said, “We know our members around the world love watching Spanish-language films and series and we feel this will be a perfect match of project and our platform.”

He’s right. Since announcing the adaptation, fans of the magical realism novel have been celebrating the news.

There’s no word yet on when the series will debut and who will star in it.

Read: This Film About Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Is At The Center Of The Most Expensive Sundance Documentary Deal Of All Time

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Up Next: Rombai Is Ushering In The Return Of Latin Pop Bands


Up Next: Rombai Is Ushering In The Return Of Latin Pop Bands

Up Next is a FIERCE series highlighting rising Latina and Latin American women artists you might not know about but definitely should.

If you’ve been waiting for the return of Latin pop bands, let me introduce you to Rombai.

Originally formed in 2013, the vivacious cumbia group, known for bringing Gen-Z fun and flair to the classic genre, went through a series of changes in members before breaking out again last year. After an international social media contest to find two new members, Uruguayan band leader Fer Vazquez is now accompanied by Bolivian Megumy “Megu” Bowles and Colombian Valeriana “Vale” Emiliani, and the three have been cooking up poppy bops that blend the ritmos and sabor of their homelands.

“We believe we are totally different from what is in the market,” Megu told FIERCE. “I think we are all very open-minded to new sounds and are not afraid to experiment,” Vale added.

The band’s first single “Me Voy,” a candied, mid-tempo song about leaving a toxic relationship, proves that Megu’s sensual vox and Vale’s honey-sweet hooks are the perfect mix for Fer’s own charming vocals. The hit already has more than 63 million views on YouTube, and international fans, many attending Rombai’s introductory Latin American tour last year, are hungry for more.

We chatted with the ladies of Rombai about what life has been like since joining the rising band last year, what they each bring to the group, the fun and learning that comes with being an international trio and what’s in store for the group this year.

FIERCE: Rombai formed in 2013. But, since then, there have been a lot of changes. You two joined the group most recently. When and how were you both brought into Rombai?

@rombai / Instagram

Rombai: We entered Rombai through a casting that was done on Instagram this past 2018. Sony Music and Walter Kolm, the manager of Rombai, did this in order to find the new members of Rombai. Girls from all over the world uploaded covers with the hashtag #Rombai2018. Thank God, we were selected and now we are here fulfilling our dream.

FIERCE: What do you think you bring to Rombai that’s fresh and exciting?

@rombai / Instagram

Megu: Much of my culture and flavor, and I hear that I also bring a lot of sensuality.

Vale: Flavor and diversity. Everything about us, even our accents, are totally different.

FIERCE: Absolutely! As you said, what’s great now is that there is a blend of cultures. Vale is Colombian, Megu is Bolivian and Fer is Uruguayan. What do you think this brings to Rombai’s style?

@rombai / Instagram

Megu: We believe we are totally different from what is in the market. I am from Bolivia, but I have been in the US for many years. So I love R&B, I love a lot of Anglo music.

Vale: I love our music, Latino genres, tropical sounds, African rhythms, reggae, and if we combine this with all the years of experience Fer has with cumbia, look at the beautiful mix we get.

FIERCE: How do you think these different styles influence Rombai’s cumbia-pop sound?

@rombai / Instagram

Megu: I believe that each one of us brings our own flavor, and it’s from our cultures. We are very different, but at the same time, we are very similar. Sometimes, it is amazing to see how different and similar we can be. I am definitely the most “gringa,” but we like that because I bring new music ideas like R&B that they love.

Vale: I grew up listening to a lot of African rhythms, Colombian porro, cumbia. I think we are all very open-minded to new sounds and are not afraid to experiment.

FIERCE: What’s cool about being in a group, especially one with men and women, is that you can share different perspectives in one song. We see this in one of your first singles together “Me Voy.” How do you ensure everyone’s voices and perspectives are included in a way that still flows musically when you’re songwriting?

@rombai / Instagram

Rombai: It is a double-edged sword. Whenever we write, we think of the three. It is good to have three people, but sometimes it is also difficult. The good thing is that we know our voices, so we know what parts are left to each one before we enter the studio to record. Above all, communication is important. In Rombai, you can not miss that.

FIERCE: In the chorus for “Me Voy,” which you both sing, you say, “Me voy acostumbrando a estar sola / Así estoy mejor, así estoy mejor.” What are some things you are able to do alone that you might not be able to do when you are in a relationship?

@rombai / Instagram

Megu: It’s a big difference to be in a relationship versus being single. It also depends on the person you are with. For example, now that we are traveling a lot, it is very difficult to have a relationship. I wouldn’t be able to hang out and party with friends, and I do not like having to give explanations. Right now, I’m happy single.

Vale: When you are single, you can do many more things without giving explanations. But I really think that the song speaks of a toxic relationship, one that’s not well, one where both partners are tired of hurting each other and prefer to be alone.

FIERCE: Totally! And it’s important to make that distinction. You all just had your first promotion tour in Latin America, going to Bolivia, Paraguay, Uruguay, Argentina, Chile, Ecuador, Peru and Colombia. What was that like?

@rombai / Instagram

Megu: Honestly, it was incredible. I returned to my country after seven years of not having stepped foot on my land, and I returned fulfilling my dream. I am very proud of myself. It was so great to learn different cultures. There were times that I couldn’t even believe it.

Vale: For me, it was very exciting. I did not know any of these countries, yet I could feel the love of all the fans that were already part of Rombai years ago. Just the fact that I’m working in the music industry and traveling and meeting so many people, I am really fulfilling my dream.

FIERCE: I know you all were working on a lot of music last year. What can you tell us is in store for Rombai in 2019?

@rombai / Instagram

Megu: UFF! Truthfully, there’s a lot of celebration and joy to come. We want to incorporate new sounds, but, above all, have fun, that’ll always be a part of Rombai.

Vale: It’s important for us to never lose our essence, what makes us different, and continue to cover new countries. We continue to search every day for new sounds for all our fans.

FIERCE: You are both so young, at the start of your careers, what do you hope people can say about Rombai in about 10 to 15 years?

@rombai / Instagram

Megu: What I would like you to say about Rombai is, “Wow, Rombai broke it! What young fighters, who worked so hard to bring their music to different countries.” Also, “what beautiful women and what a sexy man!” Haha!

Vale: That they’re a band that made a difference, left a nice message and brought cumbia to international recognition! There’s still a lot left to do.

Read: Up Next: Meet MyVerse, The Latina Battle Rapper Dominating The Wild N’ Out Stage

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