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One of the best writer’s coaches in Buenos Aires is Marcelo di Marco. As the author of three best-selling books on the art of writing and editing, and the mentor, trainer, and editor of two generations of writers he has given his best to make sure young and not that young writers understand the importance of a polished, refined, and well-thought language.  As the editor of several literary magazines mostly dedicated to horror and fantasy, he has promoted a Gothic revival.  

A poet, a great storyteller, and a novelist himself, his writing  shows his mastery of language as well as his poetic view on the world.  He has just published at Editorial Sudamericana (the traditional Argentine publishing house, now a branch of Random)a remarkable novel, Victoria entre las sombras, a classic thriller which turns into an unforgettable portrait of Argentine society.  The novel web page at:

http://www.victoriaentrelassombras.com/

Mario Vargas Llosa

 He not only built a perfect career as a Latin American writer but was also a presidential candidate in Peru, his country.  His work has been a work of excellence in every field: novels, such as The Green House, Conversation in the Cathedral and the endearing Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter, short stories such as the early and dazzling Los Jefes, essays such as the wonderful La verdad de las mentiras and plays, the most famous of them La Señorita de Tacna. He was honored this week with the Nobel Prize and he has done everything, and more, to deserve it.

A major writer and a fighter for freedom, he has been translated but is not as widely acknowledged as the other giant of Latin American literature, his former friend and later his political enemy, besides other domestic quarrels, Gabriel García Márquez. The Nobel Prize in Literature will certainly draw attention to his work and allow those readers who have missed hi to discover and enjoy his work.

Manuel Puig

Twenty years ago, on July 22nd 1990, Manuel Puig died in Mexico, leaving behind a literary work which has obtained a world recognition for its originality and honesty.

His proverbial integrity can be observed and pondered in one of the few recorded available interviews where he also recalls his childhood in his native Argentina, the years spent later in Europe trying to master  a language – filmmaking – that he finally discovered was not his, and how he came to write his first and celebrated novel La traición de Rita Hayworth during his exile  in New York.

My preferred Puig’s novel is Cae la noche tropical, set in Rio de Janeiro, a  lesser known work from his last years, where his craft as a writer peaks and his wisdom as a human being permeates every page with love.

Interview at Radiotelevisión Española (in Spanish) in 5 parts at You Tube:

1- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1VUCTtTI2nw

2http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wrG53oDgIps&feature=related

3-http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GZ1lSvMYdSA&feature=related

4-http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ebERoCGb74g&feature=related

5-http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M1gX4Tj6lmo&feature=related

More excellent material and a bibliography can be found at: http://manuelpuig.blogspot.com/2007/12/contenido-y-bibliografa-del-cd-rom.html

Far from the legendary Sur, the magazine directed by Victoria Ocampo in the 30’s, 40’s, and 50’s which introduced more than one Argentine writer to local and foreign audiences and allowed the local audience to become  global reading every new foreign writer with some worth,  and not even close to the audacity of literary magazines in the 60’s, Argentine readers have to rely now mostly on the literary supplements of the two main newspapers.  Every Saturday, La Nación publishes ADN and Clarín the magazine Ñ.  The first one claims, from its title on, to revel on the Argentine cultural identity, and the second one makes a plea for the Hispanic letter Ñ as an identity opposed to the always envied Anglo-Saxon,  which has also shown some reluctance  to adding the letter to keyboards and Internet domains. Politics meddles with culture and, unfortunately, not enough culture or art meddles with politics, at least at the bottom of the Americas.

While a new literary renaissance makes its difficult path within the disorganized and improperly led Argentine community and while worthy writers, scattered now all over the world or  unseen by their own fellow citizens, make their way toward public recognition, this is where local and foreign readers can resort to know what’s going on in the literary Argentina:

ADN Cultura: http://www.lanacion.com.ar/diario-de-hoy/suplementos/adn-cultura/index.asp

 Revista Ñ:   http://www.revistaenie.clarin.com 

She is the most famous Uruguayan woman poet. Born in Montevideo in 1886, she left a remarkable body of work. Her poetry explores woman’s sexuality, and most of her poems  use  with ease an erotic language. Ahead of her time, firmly aligned with Modernism, Delmira’s best collection is Los cálices vacíos (The Empty Calyces) published in 1913.  Because of this book, inspired in Eros and sexual pleasure, she was considered a member of the Latin America avant-garde.

She married in August  1913, abandoned a month later her husband and divorced him before a year had passed,  in June 1914. Her ending was tragic: in July 1914, one month after their divorce, his ex-husband murdered her and then committed suicide.

Delmira’s poetry and her conflicted life in a very conservative milieu remain as a powerful testimony of women’s condition in Latin America by the beginning of the 20th century and beyond.

Rodrigo Fresán

One of the most talented Argentine writers, a journalist and a translator of American authors, he was born in Buenos Aires in 1963. He lives now in Barcelona, Spain.

A great admirer of John Cheever, he has translated part of his work. Fresán’s first book, Historia argentina, published in Buenos Aires in 1991, was an absolute best seller.

This work was followed by Vida de santos, Esperanto, Trabajos manualesLa fuerza del fuego, Jardines de Kensington (Kensington Gardens, translated into English) and a novel widely translated La velocidad de las cosas (1998.)

His last novel, El fondo del cielo (2009,) mix of science fiction and romance, where boy meets girl but also love meets galaxy, reminds us of the odd literary marriage of Borges and Cheever celebrated within Fresán’s style, as in a fantasctic church imagined by Bioy.

Some of his contemporary Argentine colleagues find him too American, though, as influenced by his translator work. He might have rather recovered that old track in Argentine literature nurtured by the English and early American literatures– of which Borges was the best and most noticeable follower– and which was abandoned at the times of the Latin American boom.

Dawn Powell

Gore Vidal published in 1987, in The New York Review of Books, his essay “Dawn Powell; Queen of the Golden Age” in which he championed this great satirist and novelist. Because of Vidal and Tim Page’s efforts, Dawn Powell (1897-1965) was brought again into the American literary landscape and her works reprinted.

Witty and a literary savvy, Dawn’s most famous quote is: ” ‘Realism’ is the only completely vague word. ‘Satire’ is the technical word for writing people as they are: ‘romantic’ the other extreme of people as they are to themselves –but both of these are the truth. The ability to put in motive is called satire; the ability to put in vision is romanticism.” 

Among her best novels. The Golden Spur and The Wicked Pavillion.