La Habana, Cuba, 1970
Wendy Guerra graduated in Cinema Directing at the Higher Institute of Art in Havana, and was a student of Gabriel García Márquez, attending his scriptwriting workshop “How to Tell a Tale”. From childhood, she acted on TV and in films. A poet and fiction writer, her first novel, Todos se van (2006), based on true events from her childhood and adolescence diaries in Cuba, received the Bruguera Award, was listed by El País as Best Novel 2006 and was made into a film by Colombian filmmaker Sergio Cabrera. Her novel Domingo de Revolución, published by Anagrama and translated into English by Melville House —Revolution Sunday—, was listed book of the month by The New York Times for Christmas 2018. Harper Collins launched in 2023 I Was Never First Lady, the English translation. Wendy Guerra's work has been published in 23 languages. She has given lectures at universities in Mexico, Argentina and the United States, and contributed to several magazines and reviews worldwide. In 2010 was named Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Government. She has been included in compilations of contemporary literature, Latin American or women's literature published by various institutions and publishers around the world.
- “A genuine experience, both of life and literature. She describes a difficult life, both at the personal level and in society, without prejudices of any kind.” Eduardo Mendoza (on Todos se van)
- “…A revelatory tale of the Cuban Revolution’s impact on a family. […] Guerra holds the reader’s attention by evoking Cuba’s political tempest in Havana’s humid, salty air. It adds up to an effectively moody, intimate story.” Publishers Weekly (on I Was Never the First Lady)
- 'This is Wendy Guerra at her best. I Was Never The First Lady is a beautiful, disturbing, intimately-told novel about the existential orphanhood of women in a Cuba where Fidel’s Castro’s revolution has upended notions of family, individual identity and national belonging. Unforgettable.' Jon Lee Anderson
Anthology / Selection
La gran novela de Wendy Guerra sobre el mundo de la resistencia cubana.
El carismático mercenario que narra esta historia es un personaje real bajo el seudónimo de Adrián Falcón, aunque a lo largo de sus años en activo usó otros como El Parse, Garfio, Strelkinov... Tierno y diabólico, Falcón tiene ahora sesenta y tantos años y ha sobrevivido con peculiar sentido del humor a su compleja historia de vida. Y es que sufrió persecución en Estados Unidos y varios países latinoamericanos por terrorismo, fue pieza clave de casos tan escandalosos como el Irán-Contra, y operó con los cárteles colombianos para financiar acciones contrarrevolucionarias. Considerándose un «luchador por la libertad», actuó contra el mando de la Unión Soviética, el sandinismo y Fidel Castro.
Aunque en su momento fue blanco del FBI, termina sus días de combate convertido en condottiero de la CIA y descreído de todo. El desencanto hace que decida luchar por su destino y encuentre una aliada en Valentina, a la que conoce en París y con quien comienza una relación de intereses; a su modo, ella es también una superviviente mercenaria.
Esta obra ofrece un punto de referencia a quienes se preguntan por los enemigos que enfrentaron las izquierdas latinoamericanas y es producto de entrevistas con Falcón y de la revisión de archivos que llevó a cabo Wendy Guerra, hija del idealismo guerrillero que ha saltado la tapia para mirar del otro lado.
“This book showcases Wendy Guerra in all her splendor: lyrical, lighthearted, hilarious, hearbreaking and totally inimitable.” Alejandro Zambra, author
Cleo, a young writer from Havana, travels to Spain to receive a poetry award and to sign the publication of her book in several languages. Back in Cuba, with her success under her arm, she realizes that she has become an author under suspicion. She begins to perceive that she is continuously watched, even in the privacy of her bed, and discovers to her horror that she suddenly cannot trust anyone, not even her closest friends. In her attempts to clarify her situation, Cleo learns of an unusual fact: her real father may have been clandestinely executed by Castroism, accused of espionage. The investigation of this dark episode from the past allows Cleo to reconstruct her own identity, dissolved in the paranoia of a government obstinate in depriving her of the truth and in condemning whoever writes about her.
“Her books powerfully portray the uncomfortable grandchildren of the revolution. A generation facing the same 'forbidden’ destiny as their predecessors, experiencing the forbidden in ways that are lighter, but which cause more suffering as well.“ L. Santiago Méndez Alpízar, El País
“With this novel Wendy Guerra confirms her status as one of the most perspicacious, sophisticated and interesting Latin American writers working today.” Francisco Martínez Bouzas, Brújulas y Espirales
“With a prose that isa s poetica as it is volcanic, the Caribbean writer offers a living diary of a woman who is isolated on her own island, as well as a testimony of a crucial moment of change in the history of a country that the protagonist can’t abandon." El Nacional
Nirvana del Risco es la primera heroína negra cubana que se muestra desnuda, abierta y descarnada ante lo que por prejuicios muchos esconden: la bisexualidad, el racismo, la política, el miedo y la cercana intimidad con el enemigo. Hija de la generación de los años 60 y rebelde protagonista habanera en los 2000, recorre el camino entre lo prohibido y lo sagrado, revelando así ocultas recetas asentadas en una cultura afrocubana.
Es 1922. Anaïs Nin viaja a Cuba tras el rastro de un padre ausente e idealizado, en busca de su familia. Tiene 19 años y se ha comprometido con Hugo Guiler, un rico banquero cuyos padres se oponen a que su hijo se case con una latina católica y morena. Ella escribe el diario por el que será conocida y Wendy Guerra imagina lo que Anaïs pudo sentir.
A lush, sensuous, and original tale of family, love, and history, set against the backdrop of the Cuban Revolution and its aftermath.
Nadia Guerra’s mother, Albis Torres, left when Nadia was just ten years old. Growing up, the proponents of revolution promised a better future. Now that she’s an adult, Nadia finds that life in Havana hasn’t quite matched its promise; instead it has stifled her rebellious and artistic desires. Each night she DJs a radio show government censors block from broadcasting. Frustrated, Nadia finds hope and a way out when she wins a scholarship to study in Russia.
Leaving Cuba offers her the chance to find her long lost mother and her real father. But as she embarks on a journey east, Nadia soon begins to question everything she thought she knew and understood about her past.
As Nadia discovers more about her family, her fate becomes entwined with that of Celia Sanchez, an icon of the Cuban Revolution—a resistance fighter, ingenious spy, and the rumored lover of Fidel Castro. A tale of revolutionary ideals and promise, Celia’s story interweaves with Nadia’s search for meaning, and eventually reveals secrets Nadia could never have dreamed.
“A revelatory tale of the Cuban Revolution’s impact on a family... Guerra holds the reader’s attention by evoking Cuba’s political tempest in Havana’s humid, salty air. It adds up to an effectively moody, intimate story.” Publisher's Weekly
“In Wendy Guerra’s writing, Cuba is a character, a cosmic force, the loneliest place, the only place. [...] Guerra’s own unpredictable book is haunting, complicated, [and] linguistically beautiful.” The New York Times
“Moving around in time and space, I Was Never the First Lady juxtaposes decades’ worth of Cuban history with the story of a mother and daughter, each struggling to create art.” Words Without Borders
“A multilayered novel...Nadia's, her mother's, and Celia's stories provide fascinating insights into the female dimension of an infamously macho revolution.” Booklist
“This is Wendy Guerra at her best. I Was Never The First Lady is a beautiful, disturbing, intimately-told novel about the existential orphanhood of women in a Cuba where Fidel’s Castro’s revolution has upended notions of family, individual identity and national belonging. Unforgettable.” Jon Lee Anderson
“Guerra’s novel is a grand if bittersweet valentine to Cuba.” Kirkus Reviews
“[Guerra is] a staggering talent.” Oprah.com
An intimate look at Cuba.
"I don't know when I decided to stop being a child. I paid a very high price, growing up alone while everyone left he island. They abandoned me, one by one; now I can't behave like a regular woman, I'm out of this world. The tools they gave me no longer work, I take shelter in my Diary and I'm only comfortable and normal between its pages. There I've always been an adult; I pretended to be a child, but it wasn't true: too grown-up for the Diary, too much of a girl for real life."
From the age of eight to twenty years old, Nieve Guerra takes refuge in the pages of her diary, writing down her story, the story of her survival during her childhood and teenage years in contemporary Cuba.
As a child, Nieve lives with her hippy mother and her mother's boyfriend, a Swedish nuclear engineer that shocks the community by practicing nudism, until her biological father wins custody of her. From then on, Nieve finds herself forced to live under the brutal control of an alcoholic father that forgets to feed her or take her to school, and forces her to be a witness to his erotic adventures. As a teenager, Nieve goes to the compulsory military school. Later she attends art school and becomes part of the island's artistic and intellectual circle, where the ruling trend is No Love - don't fall in love - don't kiss, don't own another person's feelings. But Nieve can't help falling in love with Osvaldo, a promising artist with whom she lives a stormy and passionate love story.
El primer poemario de la autora editado fuera de Cuba trata sobre la insularidad, la pérdida, el sentimiento amoroso, el ansia de plenitud. Se abre con una cita muy determinante en que Anaïs Nin cuenta su visita a un famoso editor que, al devolverle sus manuscritos, los tira encima de la mesa y le dice: "Señora, haga el favor de llevarse de aquí su ropa interior".
“La poesía es mi protección mágica, cuando tengo mucho miedo recito los poetas de mi madre, en los hospitales y en las aduanas, en los vuelos intercontinentales cuando hay mal tiempo recito poemas que son mis compañeros de vida y de viaje. No tengo familia y creo que los poetas que yo amo son todo lo que tengo." Wendy Guerra.
Anthology / Selection
Poems from a critically acclaimed Cuban writer available in English for the first time.
Imbued with a sensuality reminiscent of the work of Anaïs Nin, Wendy Guerra’s Delicates takes readers on an exhilarating journey through the cities of love, where women leave their bodies ‘in the showers of men’, marking their territory ‘like animals in heat’, their panties ‘saturated with sand and a sidereal isolating odor’. Guerra’s shocking metaphors and images invite us to enter her gallery of striking and provoking poems where we witness a flight through the air from a thirty-fourth-story window and a woman’s pilgrimage to the salt flats ‘to taste the pink in stones’ on her lover’s behalf. Guerra’s relationship with her native Cuba—much like her relationships with men—is complex and multilayered. Her work confronts the realities of a political system that doesn’t celebrate artistic freedom. Here we have a new way of looking at a woman, an artist, a country, and the colonizers of that country. In these music-infused poems, Guerra shares with us her hard-won truths.
‘Guerra’s highly sensual poetry explores how people know the world by means of their bodies, and just why and how it becomes the guiding epistemology of one’s life, although it is dangerous to deliberately practice the breakdown of barriers between oneself and others.’ Susan Smith Nash, World Literature Today
‘[A] restless and provocative interrogation of power.’ Rebecca Morgan Frank, Literary Hub
‘The range of emotions and tones in Delicates speak to the comprehensiveness of Guerra’s poetic approach: a compelling book of longing and loss.’ Nick Ripatrazone, The Millions
‘Delicates aligns with a lineage of women writers in Cuba who wrote about female sexuality and the body. Guerra revels in what many women are told to keep secret. She writes with unabashed reclamation of the body and of pleasure. [. . .] Although many forces seek to silence and erase her voice from literature, Guerra rises triumphant in this collection.’ Laura Villareal, Free State Review
‘Haunting images drift up from every page of this collection in which Carlson and Snyder have captured the music of Guerra’s words and worlds — her delicates, if you will. This is a book that will not rest easily on the shelf; it does not deserve to gather dust. Instead, leave Delicates on your bedside table to pick up time and time again. Allow its words to caress you in your dreams.’ W. Luther Jett, Washington Independent Review of Books
- 2010 - Order of Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres, awarded by the French Government
- 2009 - Carbet des Lycéens Prize (France) for Todos se van
- 2007 - Selected in the Bogota 39 as one of the most important writers of the new generation of Latin-American fiction writers.
- 2006 - Critics' Prize from the El País newspaper as Best Novel of 2006 for Todos se van
- 2006 - Bruguera Prize for Todos se van
- 1994 - Pinos Nuevos Prize for Cabeza rapada
- 1987 - University of Havana Prize for Platea a oscuras