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Sandwiched between Argentina and Brazil, Uruguay is often overshadowed by the neighbouring behemoths when it comes to great literature. And yet, this is a country that’s produced world-renowned authors such as Eduardo Galeano and Mario Benedetti, not to mention the inimitable Cristina Peri Rossi and Ida Vitale.
Now, contemporary Uruguayan literature is starting to get the respect it deserves. Here’s my pick for five contemporary Uruguayan writers you should know (and read).
(Please note that this series focuses on authors and essayists. For poets from Uruguay, check out this post.)
Montevideo-born Fernanda Trías (1976) is one of the most prolific contemporary Uruguayan writers working right now, known for her novel The Rooftop (trans. Annie McDermott), as well as Mugre rosa and the short story collection No soñarás flores. As well as Uruguay, she’s lived in France, England, Argentina, and Germany; she’s currently a lecturer at a university in Bogotá, Colombia.
Vera Giaconi was born in Montevideo in 1974 but has lived her entire life in Buenos Aires. As a freelance editor, writer, and short story writer, she’s been published in a number of online magazines and journals. To date, Giaconi has two short story collections to her name—Carne viva and Seres queridos, which was a 2015 finalist for the Premio Internacional de Narrativa Breve Ribera del Duero.
Carolina de Robertis
Born in England to Uruguayan parents, Carolina de Robertis (1975) is a Uruguayan-American novelist, translator, and essayist now based in California with her wife and children. Her five published novels to date are Perla, The Invisible Mountain, Cantoras (which won a Stonewall Book Award), The Gods of Tango, and The President and the Frog. They’re currently a lecturer at San Francisco State University.
Acclaimed crime writer—as well as lawyer and journalist—Mercedes Rosende was born in Montevideo in 1958. Known for her award-winning novels Demasiados blues, Qué ganas de no verte nunca más, La muerte tendrá tus ojos, and El miserere de los cocodrilos (translated into English as Crocodile Tears by Tim Gutteridge), Rosende also writes short stories.
Lalo Barrubia (the pen name of María del Rosario González) is a Uruguayan writer, performer, and translator who’s been based in Malmö, Sweden for two decades. Her publications are varied, running the gamut from novel and short story to poetry, although Barrubia is perhaps best-known for her award-winning short story collection Ratas and bilingual poetry collection Borracha en las ciudades (trans. Juana Adcock).