Latina Reads: 9 Venezuelan And Venezuelan-American Women Authors To Make Room For On Your Bookshelves

Venezuela, known for its stunning beaches, gorgeous beauty pageant contestants and disheartening economic crisis, has a rich literary history — with several women contributing to the South American country’s canon.

Here, Venezuelan and Venezuelan-American female authors who used their words to call out unequal treatment and blazed their own trail in a world that wasn’t very welcoming to outspoken and literate women.

1. Ana Enriqueta Terán

One of Venezuela’s most renown 20th century poets, Ana Enriqueta Terán is known for her unique wordplay. Her poems mainly center on love, sensuality, nostalgia and the natural beauty of her homeland. In her long career, she published 12 works, including the compilation “Casa de Hablas” in 1991. In 1989, she was awarded the Premio Nacional de Literatura, a literary prize awarded annually in Venezuela. Terán passed away at the age of 99 in 2017.

2. Enriqueta Arvelo Larriva

Una mujer de temple, con una poesía magistral. #poesia #poeta #enriquetaarvelolarriva #Repost @daritello (@get_repost) El cristal nervioso Es clara e inquieta. Es clara e inquieta  y ahueco hoy las manos para brindarla. ¡Cuánta contienen mis manos  de esta dulce agua! La cojo cuando ágil y naciente salta —plena de fragancia, de frescor,  de iris— mojando el follaje de mis ansias. Vértice de mi alma, en ti nace el agua. Tomad cada uno prolongado sorbo, los que váis sedientos de un cristal nervioso. Impaciencia lucen mis manos delgadas, vaso que palpita sintiéndose colmo. Bebed, que se apagan las burbujas pronto y será agua muerta  el agua bullente que en las manos porto. El agua está viva. ¿Tenéis sed de alma? Bebed, que casi oigo música, si acerco las manos al rostro. El agua está viva, y es para nosotros, los que váis sedientos de un cristal nervioso Enriqueta Arvelo Larriva

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Enriqueta Arvelo Larriva, born in 1886,  is one of the founders of the women’s poetry movement in Venezuela and one of its most well known avant-garde poets. For most of her life, she resided in Barinitas,where she taught herself, working as a teacher on her family’s estate. One of her most famous poems is “Destino,” which is written in the style of Venezuelan llanos and the prairie burn-off of the dry season. In 1958, she was awarded the Municipal Poetry Prize for her “Mandato del Canto.

3. Luz Machado

Luz Machado was a triple threat and all-around Venezuelan icon as a political activist, journalist and poet. She founded the Circle of Venezuelan Writers (Círculo Escritores de Venezuela) and in 1934 developed the magazine, Valores Intellectuales. Machado, along with Larriva and Terán, are considered the trifecta of poetry representative of Venezuela’s female creatives. In 1946, she was awarded the National Poetry Prize for the book “Vaso de Resplandor.

4. Tui T. Sutherland

The 39-year-old Venezuelan-American children’s book author Tui T. Sutherland was born in Caracas and currently resides in Boston. In her extensive career, she has written about 40 books for children and teens, including the bestselling fantasy young adult series, “Wings of Fire,” an 11-book epic about dragons with the latest, “The Lost Continent,” coming out this month. Her mother, hailing from New Zealand, named her after the tui, a bird native to that country.

5. María Calcaño

María Calcaño, born in 1906, established herself as a revolutionary poet later in life after marrying at the age of 14 and having six children by the age of 27. Her body of work is avant-garde, writing erotic poetry, during a time when women’s sexuality and literature were both taboo. She strayed from the common themes of her time and instead focused on women’s identity and physical experiences, writing three collections of poetry, though only one was published in her lifetime.

6. Eva Golinger

Eva Golinger is a Venezuelan-American lawyer, writer and journalist who specializes in immigration and international law. Called “La Novia de Venezuela” by Hugo Chávez, she was an avid supporter of the former president and has written several books about him, including the best-sellers, “The Chávez Code” and “Bush vs. Chávez: Washington’s War on Venezuela.” She is currently the host of two television shows on the international television network, RT Spanish.

7. Margaret Donnelly

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Margaret Donnelly was born in Venezuela and moved to the United States at age 15, when her family relocated to Dallas, Texas. She’s the author of four books, including “The Spirits of Venezuela,” published in 2005, about Venezuela’s Indian and African spiritual underground, and “The Path of Lord Jaguar,” which combines historical and spiritual elements surrounding the diversity among immigrants coming to the U.S.

8. Teresa de la Parra

Considered one of the most important Venezuelan novelists of her time, Teresa de la Parra’s 1924 book “Ifigenia: Diary of a Young Girl Who Wrote Because She Was Bored” marked a definitive shift in Venezuelan literature. The novel is a portrait of Caracan society in the early twentieth century with a heroine who is confined by a society that doesn’t allow her to freely express herself. The story was partially inspired by her time in a religious boarding school. She died in Madrid at the age of 46 in 1936 due to tuberculosis and her remains were exhumed and brought to Caracas in 1947. In 1989, the 100th anniversary of her birth, she was reburied with honors at the National Pantheon in Caracas.

9. Sonia Chocrón

The multi-talented and internationally recognized Sonia Chocrón is a poet, novelist, screenwriter and playwright born in a Spanish-Jewish family in Caracas in 1961. Her 2012 novel “Las Mujeres de Houdini” follows the story of  three generations of women who embark on a journey of redemption and forgiveness. The book was a finalist in the Critics Award for best novel in 2014. She has written five books of poetry, including her latest “Mary Poppins and Other Poems” published in 2015.

Read: Latina Reads: 13 Guatemalan And Guatemalan-American Women Authors To Make Room For On Your Bookshelves

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