Elicura Chihuailaf

Number 16

In our sixteenth issue, we celebrate Mapuche poet Elicura Chihuailaf, who in 2020 became the first indigenous writer to receive Chile's National Prize for Literature. We also feature dossiers dedicated to the work of Andrés Neuman, Latin American literary criticism, and the Latin American essay, plus a bilingual selection of texts from ...

Some books, more than books, are thresholds: lines we cross that leave us somewhere other than where we began. Some books lead us to realize, paraphrasing the gnostic gospel of Thomas, that another...

Translators Nick Caistor and Lorenza Garcia have given shape, together, to Andrés Neuman’s fiction in the English language. For the special feature on Neuman’s work in this issue of Latin American Literature Today, I spoke to Lorenza and Nick about their team effort to bring Neuman’s growing body of work into English.

I write because as a child I felt that writing was a form of curiosity and ignorance. I write because childhood is an attitude. I write because I don’t know, and I don’t know why I write. I write because that’s the only way I can think. I write because happiness is also a language. I write because pain is thankful to be named. I write because...

My attention / steps down from its center / like an oil stain. // Contradictory hand: / while it feigns snatching / specific objects, / its fingers count digressions. / Is to touch to have faith?


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The highway is a straight line. Cristobal drives in silence. It’s January and we are travelling south. Cristóbal’s grandmother has a little house in San Ramón. The sun hasn’t set yet. My back hurts. Cristóbal is slim and has sharp facial features. He wears a light blue shirt and jeans.

Looking Up

He was getting used to being alone by now. It was his birthday, and not a single person had gone to see him, or even given him a call. Not that he needed any of that, although now and again he would remember her, and something akin to nostalgia would come over him. So today the best thing for him to do was to leave his captivity and go to that...


They say that Amelia and María Luisa Requena stayed together right to the end. They died within a few minutes of each other, just the way they’d been born. This came as something of a surprise, given the way things were looking at one point.


Margo Glantz

Ever since the quarantine, the possibility of reading and writing seems directly related to the abilities of those who remain isolated, in their own place, distant from readers but close to the power of memory: a space where personal and important things are kept. There resides an isolated self, curiously away from those who also stay at...

Verónica Gerber Bicecci

A year ago, while I was on vacation in Bogotá, I met with a group of friends in the Hojas de Parra bookstore, a welcoming place near the Universidad Nacional. The store takes full advantage of its location in one of those old Bogotá middle-class houses and also of the emotional link felt by many of us who spent long afternoons hanging out on the...

Librería CDMX

Over the course of his long career, Corral—from Ecuador, with a doctorate from Columbia University—has focused his scholarshipon on the novel and criticism. His pedagogical work at universities in the Americas (Stanford, the University of Massachusetts, Chile, Ecuador) and Spain has allowed him to research his field up-close, and to analyze its...


Manuel Iris

The confinement from which I write is at the same time both a sentence and a luxury. Like many other people across the entire world, I have spent several months without leaving the house in order to protect myself—and to protect others—from the pandemic we will be talking about for the rest of our lives. In such circumstances, the act of writing...

Ricardo Forster

A debate, sometimes public and most often muted, has arisen in the humanities regarding writings, their differences, and their not-always-convergent designs. Claims of stylistic rigor and purification have been ever-present in our fields, as if such gestures meant staking out strong positions, theoretical worlds capable of becoming bearers of...

Micaela Paredes Barraza

In these non-poetic times of widespread disenchantment of the world, literature and especially poetry have been given less and less attention, relegated to the enclaves of elites or those who are largely marginal in society (often those extremes are the same). If the very essence of the poetic phenomenon—understood in the broad sense as a form of...


Metro Map

You came back in the warm night’s epicenter, / paled by the violence / of your desire. With stealth you were creeping / toward the borders of the bed, / a place where blood performs its miracles.

Islas Ballestas

You were on me and night fell / On the haystack in the stable / You rustled my breath like a white hanky / And we heard the cows low soooo long / You stayed on me and the hours passed


You only need to know water a little to realise it’s tired of being a liquid. The proof is that as soon as it has the chance, it turns into ice or vapour. But not even that satisfies it: vapour gets lost in absurd meanderings, and ice is clumsy and rough, forming wherever it can and generally useful only for pepping up penguins and gin and tonics...

Editor’s Pick

The Cardboard House

Rafael de la Fuente Benavides (1908—1985), better known by his pseudonym Martín Adán, was a fundamental figure in Peruvian literature at the beginning of the 20th century. Born in Lima to a family of aristocratic origins, which he always rejected, Adán was a poet of extraordinary talent and a renovator of the literary tradition of Peru.

Cerca del corazón salvaje

Clarice Lispector’s literature started appearing in Spanish-language libraries in the 1970s. Soon, the publishing house Sudamericana began to publish works by this writer, who is unclassifiable both in her writings and her personality. This Argentine press represents the group of writers from the so-called “boom” in Latin American literature,...

Obra completa

When wandering the contours of an unknown land, it is clear that there is nothing tying down the foreign spirit in pursuit of fully exploring the apparent nature of a place and its customs, which comes about in the availability of an immense amount of time: time to heal and to acknowledge, to look and to perceive. Time to be, and time to...