Aurora Arias on Dominican Literature

The XXXIX Congress of the International Institute of Ibero-American Literature is in progress this week (July 3-6, 2012) in Cadiz, Spain. As 7 Días reports, hundreds of writers from all over the world are exchanging ideas and cultural idiosyncrasies, during sessions and conversations in various languages. These writers include Aurora Arias, well-known Dominican writer living in the United States, who is proudly representing the Dominican Republic in one of the leading literary meetings in Europe. See Joan Prats’ interview with Arias and her comments on Dominican literature today:

Is this the first time you participate in the Congress of the International Institute of Latin American Literature in Cadiz? What does this mean for you as a Dominican writer? Yes, it’s the first time. And it means a lot because the International Institute of Ibero-American Literature is one of the institutions promoting Latin American literature in the world; it is the first time an IILI congress takes place in Spain, and this year, in particular, with the theme “Cultural Dialogue,” there will be more attention given to Latin American writers, the diasporas in which they operate, and the issue of transatlantic confluences; the latter being one of the topics about which I am passionate as a Caribbean writer, which I will discuss in the paper I will present. [. . .]

What is your opinion about the current environment of Dominican literature compared to other countries?  I was recently in a conversation with a group of Colombian writers, held at a U.S. university, and they spoke of how popular editions (not luxury editions) of their books—sponsored by a Colombian government cultural program with the support of several private companies—were quite successful. For me, it made my mouth water, thinking that something like this could happen in our country [. . .] considering that we have excellent writers, who are sufficiently mature and committed to the trade (not mere vedettes), and in that sense, our literature can compete with any other, anywhere in the world.

The result of this commitment and maturity is obvious; our poets are winning major awards, as just happened with a poet of my generation, José Mármol in France. Chiqui Vicioso [also] just took part in London in a world poetry festival. With increasing frequency, international anthologies are being published, including texts by Dominican authors; the diaspora has excellent [male and female] writers whose career is based, not on “posturing,” but rather on constant work. I am thinking of Marianela Medrano, Yrene Santos, Miriam Ventura, Josefina Báez, José Acosta. [There is much] fresh and thriving blood: Rey Andújar, Juan Dicent, Rita Indiana. [And] on the island, I am thinking of [writers like] an Ángela Hernández, an Alexis Gómez Rosa, Marcio Veloz Maggiolo, Emelda Ramos, José Alcántara Almánzar, among other representative authors whose achievements make us proud.

For full text (in Spanish), see

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