Mirta Yáñez in San Francisco
Mirta's downstairs bookcase, the inspiration for the Cubanabooks logo
Mirta Gloria Yáñez Quiñoa (Havana, 1947)
After graduating from a prep school for gifted and talented adolescents, the Raúl Cepero Bonilla Special Pre-University Institute, Yáñez entered the University of Havana in 1965. Five years later she finished her B.A. in Humanities. She continued post-graduate study at the same institution and received her Doctorate in Philology in 1992. Her area of specialization is Latin American, especially Cuban, literature, with a secondary focus on feminine discourse. A university professor and researcher for many years, more recently she has concentrated fully on her literary writing, journalistic essays, and the promotion of Cuban women writers.
The grand prize for poetry at the Concurso 13 de Marzo , awarded in 1970 for her earliest collection Las visitas [The Visitors], was the first of many accolades that Mirta Yáñez has received throughout her trajectory as a multifaceted writer. Considered one of the most relevant intellectuals of her generation, she has excelled in practically every genre she has tried: poetry, short fiction, novel, and essay. A screenwriter for film and television, she also has to her credit an extensive bibliography as a journalist and literary critic.
In 2004 Yáñez was selected for the MEET Writers in Residence program, hosted by the Maison des Ecrivans et des Traducteurs in Saint-Nazaire, France, where she finished a brief collection of stories, subsequently published in Spanish as Falsos documentos (as well as in French and German). Several of these stories are included in the anthology Havana Is a Very Big City, published in English by Cubanabooks in 2010. Increasingly the subject for academic and critical attention in the United States, sessions focusing on her work have been given at such major conferences as the Modern Language Association Convention and the Latin American Studies Association Congress.
Mirta Yáñez has presented lectures and taught courses all over the globe, including in Venezuela, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Chile, Spain, United States, Great Britain, Poland, Germany, and France.
She currently resides in the coastal town of Cojímar, famed as Hemingway’s favorite fishing spot, which is located just across the bay from Havana.
Yáñez’s most recent novel, Sangra por la herida [The Bleeding Wound] just won the Critics’ Choice prize for literature in Cuba and is forthcoming in a bilingual edition from Cubanabooks in 2012. Link to the article in Cuba’s Rebelión magazine, where the prize is announced: http://www.rebelion.org/noticia.php?id=136640
Prizes and Awards
- 1970: Poetry Prize Concurso 13 de Marzo for Las visitas
- 1977: Narrative Prize in the Edad de Oro Competition
- 1988: Critics’ Choice for El diablo son las cosas
- 1990: Critics’ Choice for La narrativa rom&antica en Latinoamérica
- 1999: Memoire Prize given by the Centro Cultural Pablo de la Torriente Brau
- 2001: Forderpreis der Iniciative LiBeraturpreis, Frankfurt, Alemania
- 2005: Critics’ Choice for Falsos Documentos
Selected Published Works
- Sangra por la herida. Novel. La Habana, Ediciones Unión y Letras Cubanas, 2010.
- Havana is a really big city and other short stories. USA, Ed. Cubanabooks, 2010.
- El bufalo ciego y otros cuentos. Short stories. La Habana, Ediciones Unión, 2008.
- Faux Papiers/Falsos documentos. Short stories, bilingual edition. Saint-Nazaire, France, Ed. MEET, 2007.
- Serafin y las aventuras en el Reino de los Comejenes. Children’s stories. La Habana, Colección Dienteleche, Ediciones Uni&on, 2007
- Falsos documentos. Short stories. La Habana, Colección Vagabundo del Alba, Ediciones Unión, 2005 (other editions: Ciudad de La Habana, Plan Especial, Ediciones Unión, 2007)
- Havanna ist eine ziemlich grosse stadt. Short stories. Bremen, Ed. Atlantik, 2001.
- Narraciones desordenadas e incompletas. Short stories. La Habana, Ed. Letras Cubanas, 1997
- El diablo son las cosas. Short stories. La Habana, Ed. Letras Cubanas, 1988 (otras ediciones: Edición del autor, Tucumán, 1993; Ciudad de la Habana, Ed. Letras Cubanas, 2000)
- La hora de los mameyes. Novel. La Habana, Ed. Letras Cubanas, 1983
- La Habana es una ciudad bien grande. Short stories. La Habana, Ed. Letras Cubanas, 1980
- Serafín y sus aventuras con los caballitos. Children’s stories. La Habana, Ed. Gente Nueva, 1979 (otras ediciones: Ciudad de la Habana, Ed. Gente Nueva, 1987, con ilustraciones de la autora, 2003; con otro título, La fiesta de los caballitos. México: Ed. Progreso, 2006)
- Todos los negros tomamos café. Novel. La Habana, Ed. Arte y Literatura, Instituto Cubano del Libro, 1976 (otras ediciones: Edici&on del autor, Tucum&an, 1993)
- Un solo bosque negro. La Habana, Ed. Letras Cubanas, 2003
- Algun lugar en ruinas. La Habana, Ediciones Unión, 1997
- Poesía casi completa de Jiribilla el conejo. La Habana, Ed. Gente Nueva, 1994
Poemas. Colombia, Ed. Embalaje, 1987
- Las visitas y otros poemas. La Habana, Ed. Letras Cubanas, 1986. This book was included in the White Ravens Expo in 1989, an anual event organized by the International Youth Library, Munich, Alemania
- Las visitas. La Habana, Imprenta Universitaria, Universidad de La Habana, 1971
Literary Criticism and Commentary
El Matadero: un modelo para desarmar. La Habana, Ed. Letras Cubanas, 2005
- Cubanas a capítulo. Santiago de Cuba, Ed. Oriente, 2000
- La narrativa romántica en Latinoamérica. La Habana, Colección Giraldilla, Ed. Letras Cubanas, 1990
- El mundo literario prehispánico (co-author). La Habana, Imprenta Universitaria, 1986
Link to an interview with the author, published in Ciberletras in 2002 (in Spanish): http://www.lehman.cuny.edu/ciberletras/v07/cooper.html
Link to the author’s entry in Escritoras.com (in Spanish): http://escritoras.com/escritoras/escritora.php?i=960216285
Link to the author’s entry in Wikipedia (in Spanish)—the author herself corrected the entry, so the information there is accurate! http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mirta_Yáńez
Link to Lisa Paravisini’s blog, where she describes Yáñez’s most recent novel, Sangra por la herida: http://repeatingislands.com/2011/07/08/new-book-mirta-yanez’s-“blessure-ouverte-cuba-le-temps-perdu”-sangra-por-la-herida/