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María Mercedes Carranza: never forgotten

She has been rated as one of the foremost figures in mid-twentieth century Colombian literature. Ten years after her death, homage is still being paid to her memory.


María Mercedes Carranza 1Coming very soon within the context of the 16th International Bogotá Book Trade Fair, an emotional salute in recognition of the Colombian author, María Mercedes Carranza, will be delivered  with the publication of a collection of some of her most important writings.

Under the title “María Mercedes Carranza: Collected poetry & 19 poems in her memory”, her countrymen and the rest of the world will be able to enjoy a selection of some of her previously published verse.

But, five poems from her work “Verdaderos placers” (“True pleasures”) – which the author never managed to finish – stand out among the new discoveries in this book. These verses and writings are proof of how the author’s life experiences influenced her work.

María Mercedes Carranza 4Carranza, who left Colombia at a very young age, lived a large part of her childhood in Spain owing to her father, Eduardo Carranza’s need to find work – an experience which, by Carranza’s own admission, is reflected in her work. This, together with her close relationship with her great-aunt, the poet Elisa Mujica, were  guiding forces behind her literary craft, as she pointed out in an interview with the journalist, Carlos Jáuregui.

“The magic of my childhood is interwoven with her mythical tales and legendary characters. With her, I discovered the power of words” remarks Carranza to  Jáuregui in answer to one of his questions.

On her return to Colombia at 13-years-old, Carranza experienced a difficult period trying to readjust to  her native country’s culture. However, the teenager was able to make good use of everything she had learnt up until that moment and forged ahead with her writing.

María Mercedes Carranza 2Among her notable credits include managing a number Colombian publications such as La Vanguardia (“The Vanguard”), as well as publishing a variety of different books over the course of her lifetime.

As a result of these achievements, and a full decade after her death, “María Mercedes Carranza: Collected poetry & 19 poems in her memory” includes contributions from a number of  poets  paying  special homage to her.

Notable guest poets include Nicolás Suescún, Jotamario Arbeláez, Jaime García Maffla, Juan Manuel Roca, Juan Gustavo Cobo Borda, Gustavo Adolfo Garcés, Fernando Linero, Rafael del Castillo and, Alberto Rodríguez Tosca, among others. All the authors appraise her legacy and, in a heartfelt fashion, each honour her, giving a reading of a poem written in her memory.

Date and time: 7pm – 8:30pm on the 21st of April, 2013.

Venue: Sala José Eustasio Rivera.  Bogotá, Colombia.

The event is programmed in among the various scheduled activities of the 16th International Book Trade Fair.

For more information visit the website.


(Translated by Nigel Conibear)

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