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Colombia has long been at the forefront of Latin America’s literary output, from the writing of Gabriel García Márquez to the fiction of Laura Restrepo. It’s also a country that’s produced some of the best contemporary writers working right now but knowing where to begin is tricky.
Enter: my pick of five of the most interesting contemporary Colombian writers you should know (and read).
(Please note that this series focuses on authors and essayists. For poets from Colombia, check out this post.)
Julián Delgado Lopera
Julián Delgado Lopera—born in Bogotá in 1988—is a Pushcart Prize-nominated writer and performer who has written for McSweeney’s, Teen Vogue, Granta, and more. His first novel, Fiebre Tropical, is a queer coming-of-age tale set in Miami and written in Spanglish, while Quiéreme is a hybrid essay collection and ¡Cuéntamelo! is an illustrated collection of oral histories. They’re the former executive director of RADAR Productions in San Francisco.
Read my review of Fiebre Tropical here.
Margarita Garcia Robayo
Buenos Aires-based, Cartagena-born Margarita García Robayo (1980) is a multi-talented writer who works with short story, journalism, scripts, essay, and novels. Her work has been translated into English by Charlotte Coombe, as well as Italian, Turkish, Hebrew, and more. Her short story and novella collection Fish Soup was considered one of the best books of 2018 and Holiday Heart was also received to critical acclaim.
Ingrid Rojas Contreras
Born and raised in Bogotá, Ingrid Rojas Contreras and her family moved to the United States when she was a child. Her first novel, Fruit of the Drunken Tree, was published in English and has also been translated into Spanish by Guillermo Sánchez Arreola. Also known for her short stories, Rojas Contreras is currently working on a family memoir inspired by her grandfather, a curandero, and is a Visiting Writer at Saint Mary’s College.
Writer Pilar Quintana was born in Cali in 1972 and has since produced a dozen novels and short story collections. Perhaps her best-known work in English-speaking circles is The Bitch (trans. Lisa Dillman)—which was also translated into multiple other languages—although her novel about the complexities of motherhood, Los abismos, won the Premio Alfaguara de Novela in 2021. She was ranked one of the Bogotá39 by the Hay Festival in 2007.
Read my review of The Bitch here.
María Ospina was born in Bogotá in 1977 and is now a fiction writer and Associate Professor of Spanish and Latin American culture at Wesleyan University, Connecticut. Her first book of short stories Azares del cuerpo was translated to Variations on the Body by Heather Cleary in 2021. Her areas of interest include memory, violence, and culture in contemporary Colombia.