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Monday, April 29, 2019

Partnership with Latino Literary Organization Nuestra Palabra Opens New Chapter for San Antonio’s Macondo Writers Workshop

Posted By on Mon, Apr 29, 2019 at 2:46 PM

  • Courtesy of Macondo Writers Workshop, Nuestra Palabra and Texas A&M University-San Antonio
Introduced in Nobel Prize-winning Colombian author Gabriel García Márquez’s (1927-2014) short story Leaf Storm and further brought to life in his iconic 1967 novel One Hundred Years of Solitude, the town of Macondo is among the most famous fictional locales of the literary realm. With a name the author plucked from a sign at a banana plantation, Macondo — which is also a variety of tree — is almost certainly based on the García Márquez’s birthplace of Aracataca, a picturesque, riverside town in Colombia’s Caribbean region.

Long associated with the everyday mysteries of magic realism — a genre García Márquez helped define — Macondo has sparked imaginations for decades and served as inspiration for countless creative endeavors, the most relevant to San Antonio being the Macondo Writers Workshop. Organized by beloved author and former San Antonio resident Sandra Cisneros (The House on Mango Street, Caramelo, Woman Hollering Creek) in 1995 — the same year she was named a MacArthur Fellow — the workshop has evolved from an informal gathering of writers, artists, activists and scholars to a nationally recognized, master’s level program geared for “committed and well-seasoned writers capable of reviewing each other’s work with compassionate rigor and vision.”

Since outgrowing its original home in King William, Macondo has been hosted
  • Sandra Cisneros photographed by Ray Santisteban in 2007
 by an array of local institutions and was placed in the hands of the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center in 2013 when Cisneros relocated to San Miguel de Allende. Last year Macondo found a new home base at Texas A&M University-San Antonio, which recently signed a memorandum of understanding with Nuestra Palabra: Latino Writers Having Their Say, a Houston-based organization dedicated to promoting Latino literature and literacy. A statement announcing the partnership explains that, “The agreement between A&M-SA and Nuestra Palabra essentially establishes a framework for a partnership in which A&M-SA organizes and conducts Macondo Writers Workshop while Nuestra Palabra financially sponsors the workshop’s writing faculty.”

Scheduled for the week of July 21-28 and organized by Macondo Board members Carla Trujillo, Alex Espinoza, Pat Alderete, Natalia Trevino, Miryam Bujanda, Anel Flores and Viktoria Valenzuela, the 24th annual Macondo Writers Workshop comprises four four-day workshops: a poetry workshop led by Sherwin Bitsui (Dissolve, Flood Song); a fiction workshop led by Helena Maria Viramontes (Their Dogs Came with Them, Under the Feet of Jesus); a creative/nonfiction workshop led by Joy Castro (Island of Bones, Hell or High Water); and a special session co-led by Cisneros and Ruth Behar (Translated Woman, The Vulnerable Observer).

Although the deadline for applications passed in February, Macondo traditionally includes evening readings and lectures, “many of which are open to public presence and participation.”

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