Author Maria Gabriela Madrid Talks About Her Latest

Interview with the Venezuelan on her latest collection, "Entre los surcos del recuerdo,"

By Mayra Calvani
Published on LatinoLA: April 11, 2010

Author Maria Gabriela Madrid Talks About Her Latest

Venezuelan author Maria Gabriela Madrid comes from a family of famous, award-winning writers and poets such as Ana Enriqueta Ter?ín and Antonieta Madrid. Her work has been published in various anthologies and she's the author of the collection, "Entre los surcos del recuerdo," a group of twenty three short stories where fiction and reality mix, allowing the reader to transport herself to different tales that culminate in surprising endings. Narrated with an economy of language that borders on Literary Minimalism, the author uses humor and irony in her attempt to distant herself from her work.

As a bilingual author, many of Maria's short stories are written in English, as well as in Spanish. She currently lives in San Antonio, Texas.

Q: It's a pleasure having you as my guest on LatinoLA, Maria. I've heard you've been pretty busy writing and promoting your work. What's this about you being interviewed for an article on the New York Times? I hear it's controversial. Tell us all about it!

A: It all happened at the Modern Art Museum in NY City (MOMA).

I went to a retrospective of Marina Abramovic's work and got interviewed about the exhibit. As a performing artist several of Marina Abramovic's audacious pieces have been re-enacted by naked performers. The somewhat controversy exhibit allow people to confront their fears, and surpass their limits by dealing with nudity, pain, and endurance tests. Also, at the exhibit there are videos that show the artist confronting different emotions. One of the scenes that shake me was the mountain of bones and the desperate video of brushing and cleaning a skeleton.

As a Yugoslavian artist, Marina Abramovic's work brought to my mind the totalitarian regimes and its consequences. It was difficult to deal with, especially when my country, Venezuela, is having a dictator (Chavez) that not only has political prisoners, but also young women and men that wanted to express their mind and got caught in pacific demonstrations. Everyday human rights are violated in Venezuela, so the image of seeing mountains of bones was excruciating for me. Other videos that I enjoyed are the ones based on folklore tales (1st. several naked men facing down copulating on the ground because as the legend said the ground will become fertile. 2nd. In another video, women are dancing, and lifting their skirts to show their vagina in order to stop the rain. 3rd. The artist, Marina Abramovic, appears massaging her breast so it would rain). For some people the exhibit generated outrage, and for some others it was never their intention to visit.

I believe it is vital to have the right to choose, so I am grateful and applauded MOMA for allowing Marina Abramovic??s retrospective to be there.

Q: You also wrote a story in English, which appeared in "Voices de la Luna." What prompted you to write in English and what is the story about?

A: I have been living in the United States for the past twenty years, so not only I speak English on a daily basis but also the American culture has become part of me. I am a bilingual writer so it depends how the muse shows up. I read, write and dream in English as well as in Spanish (my native language). As a writer I enjoy the creative process and to me it is important not to limit myself.

The short story is called "Luminaria" and it is base on a fictional character that goes to a festival called "Luminaria" (her impressions, as well as different roles she has in society).

Q: You also attended a book festival in Houston a few weeks ago. What was that like?

A: The Book Festival was great. It was well organized, and I had the chance to promote my book "Entre los surcos del recuerdo", and to meet other writers.

That day, I sold twenty books, and now looking back, it makes me feel great to know that my books are in other shelves, and that others will read them.

Q: Do you think attending festivals and fairs is important for a writer?

A: It is important because it gives you the chance to leave your comfort zone and to show your work.

Q: You also participated in a New York writer's workshop recently. What type of workshop was it? Where you one of the presenters or an attendee?

A: Isabel Cecilia Gonz?íles Molina invited me. She is a Venezuelan novelist, and Director of International Affairs for "Circulo de Escritores de Venezuela"

This time we both acted like attendees and wrote everyday. We exchanged ideas, and criticized each other's work. The workshop lasted for several days and a lot of useful material was written during those days.

Q: What are you working on now?

A: I am working on two projects written in Spanish, and few short stories written in English.

Next week I will read at different cultural events in San Antonio-Texas:

1) On April 12 at Our lady of the Lake University Literary Festival with "Mujeres Writing Group" 3:00 pm. Library.

2) On April 12 at Barnes and Nobles San Pedro Crossing. 7:30 pm "Five Minutes With You" sponsored by The Society of Latino and Hispanic Writers of San Antonio.

About Mayra Calvani:
Mayra Calvani has had over 300 reviews, articles, stories and interviews published online and in print. She's the author of 8 books and the Latino Books Examiner for Examiner.com.
Author's website

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