Festival de la Palabra

By Alison Greaney

Bronx Journal Staff Writer

Lehman College held the Festival de la Palabra on October 11, in honor of National Hispanic Heritage month. The annual Puerto Rican literary festival celebrates the Spanish language.

A panel discussion included celebrated authors Awilda Cáez, Rosa Beltrán, Mayra Santos-Febres, Julio Ricardo Varela, José Manuel Fajardo and Lila Zemborain. It was held in the Lovinger Theatre on the Lehman campus.

The authors discussed “Writing Across Genres and Oceans: The Evolution of Fiction and Non-Fiction Writing for English and Spanish-Speaking Audiences.” Through anecdotes and readings from their various publications, the panel offered insight into Hispanic writers perspectives on writing and literature. The audience of students and community members got a glimpse of how the authors’ love of writing emerged and of their passion for writing.

The Authors

Mayra Santos-Febres

Mayra Santos-Febres is a Puerto Rican poet, author, novelist, literary critic, and professor of literature. In this audio clip, Santos-Febres answers the question, “Why do you write?”  She begins, “I write because I can’t stop doing it.” Santos laughs, “It’s a bad vice.”

Here, Santos-Febres reads an excerpt from her novel Any Wednesday I’m Yours. This is her second novel about a man who wants to be a writer, but cannot find his story.

 Julio Ricardo Varela

Julio Ricardo Varela is a writer and new media journalist.  A graduate of Harvard, he was raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and now resides in Boston. When asked “Why do you write?” he responds, “I write because I want freedom. I believe in this world there’s not a lot that you can sort of be Buddhist and go with the flow. Writing, for me, is that sort of freedom you get.”

Here Varela reads an excerpt from his novel, Franky Benitez.

Awilda Cáez

Cáez has worked as a cultural journalist for the radio and the press. El Nuevo Dia chose Cáez as one of the 10 best writers in 2010. She is currently working on her first novel.

Here Cáez reads an excerpt from her short story Tres Fragmentos.

Hilda García

Hilda García is a Latin American journalist and multimedia general manager for the newspaper El Universal. Here she talks about the “war” on drugs in Mexico.

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