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Although home to a rich if relatively youthful literary tradition, Venezuelan literature is often hard to come by in English translation and, more often than not, little circulated even in Spanish-speaking countries.
Nowadays, contemporary Venezuelan literature appears to be dominated by writers exiled from their home country, immigrants in other nations; in fact, that applies to every one of my picks for the five contemporary Venezuelan writers you should know (and read).
(Please note that this series focuses on authors and essayists. For poets from Venezuela, check out this post.)
Raquel Abend van Dalen
Raquel Abend van Dalen was born in Caracas in 1989 but currently lives in Houston, Texas, where she’s working towards her PhD and forms part of the #NewLatinoBoom. The granddaughter of a Dutch bookseller, Abend van Dalen is an author, poet, and editor with three novels and four poetry collections to her name. Amongst them: La señora Varsovia, Cuarto azul, and Andor.
Kaila Vall de la Ville
Another member of the #NewLatinoBoom, Kaila Vall de la Ville was born in Venezuela but has lived in New York for a decade. As a novelist, short story writer, and poet, Vall de la Ville has some half a dozen titles to her name to date, including the award-winning The Animal Days (trans. Robin Myers), Ana no duerme, Enero es el mes más largo, and Minerva: trazo inquieto.
Karina Sainz Borgo
Journalist and writer Karina Sainz Borgo (Caracas, 1982) has been based in Spain for over a decade, where she regularly works as a reporter and columnist for several publications. As a fiction writer, Sainz Borgo is best-known for her stratospherically successful It Would Be Night in Caracas (trans. Elizabeth Bryer), translated into 26 languages, although she’s also written Crónicas barbitúricas and El Tercer País.
Read my review of It Would Be Night in Caracas here.
Michelle Roche Rodríguez
Per her website, Michelle Roche Rodríguez “writes, all the time”, an assertion that’s evidenced by her novel Malasangre, collection of short stories Gente decente, and book-length essay Madre mía que estás en el mito. Books aside, Roche Rodríguez is a literary critic and journalist, who’s been based in Madrid since 2015 and founding director of Colofón Revista Literaria.
Writer, professor, and translator Naida Saavedra was born in Maracaíbo, Venezuela in 1979 but is currently based in New England. Not only is she part of the #NewLatinoBoom, Saavedra is also the leading researcher behind the phenomenon, as well as the author of the short story collection Desordenadas and the novel En esta tierra maldita. Her short stories have been widely published online, as have her essays.