About Giannina Braschi

Author’s Bio: GIANNINA BRASCHI During her teen years in San Juan, Giannina Braschi was Puerto Rico’s tennis champion, a founding member of Coro de Niños de San Juan, and a fashion model. She later discovered writing as her calling and studied literature in Spain, France, Italy, England, and the US. With a Ph.D. in the Spanish Golden Age from the State University of New York-Stony Brook, Braschi taught Hispanic Literatures and Creative Writing at Rutgers University, City University of New York, and Colgate University where she served as National Endowment Distinguished Chair and Writer-in-Residence. Her most celebrated earlier titles are the poetry classic Empire of Dreams, which inaugurated the Yale Library of World Literature in Translation, and Yo-Yo Boing!, the Spanglish literary tour de force. United States of Banana, Braschi’s first book written originally in in English, debuted on November 8, 2011 to accolades from American literary journals such as Evergreen Review and Library Journal and news agencies such as The Associated Press, NY1, WAPATV, EFE, El Nuevo Dia, El Vocero, Claridad, and others. On the scholarly front, she published a book on the Spanish Romantic poet Bécquer and essays on classics by Cervantes, Garcilaso, Lorca, Machado, and Vallejo.Her work has been anthologized by Farrar Straus & Giroux, The Norton Anthology, Penguin, Houghton Mifflin, Alfaguara, and Prentice Hall. Braschi has won grants and awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, New York Foundation for the Arts, El Diario/La Prensa, PEN American Center, Ford Foundation, Danforth Scholarship, InterAmericas, Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña, and Reed Foundation. She served as a literary judge for PEN and as a Writer-in-Residence at Omni Center/Ledig House, Colgate University, and Baltic Centre for Writers and Translators. contact: gbraschi@verizon.net

CILE 2016: Royal Academy of the Spanish Language

Spanish is the Language of the Future

The Royal Academy of the Spanish Language is hosting an international conference on the future of the Spanish language

By LatinoLA
The Spanish Royal Academy and Cervantes Institute will present the 7th International Congress on the Spanish Language (CILE 2016) in San Juan, Puerto Rico, on March 15-18th, 2016.

The focus of the grand event is how alive, versatile, and ever expanding Spanish is. Did you know that Spanish is second most spoken language in the world with 490 million speakers? That is why it is called the language of the future with an anticipated 530 million speakers by 2030. It is the third most widely used language on the internet, and 20 million people around the world study Spanish as a second language.

Nobel prize winning novelist JEAN-MARIE LE CLÉZIO will give a keynote address at CILE 2016 on the impact of Cervantes on world culture. Nobel prize winning chemist MARIO MOLINA will give opening remarks on science, thought and communication. The program features panels by the most celebrated Puerto Rican authors LUIS RAFAEL SANCHEZ and GIANNINA BRASCHI.

The conference is dedicated Nicaraguan poet RUBEN DARIO, Puerto Rican poet LUIS PALES MATOS, and Spanish poet PEDRO SALINAS.

There will be representatives from 22 academies of the Spanish language throughout the Americas and Europe, and more than 50 journalists.

Amazon Crossing, the publishing division of the largest internet retailer Amazon, has launched a editorial program that publishes translations of world classics, popular and historical novels, and high-art books as well in Spanish translations. Amazon Crossing has pledged to translate literature by Nobel Laureates into Spanish and make them available for the mass market on Kindle and paper back. Puerto Rican author Giannina Braschi’s dramatic novel “Estados Unidos de Banana” will be published on March 15th, 2016 to celebrate the opening of CILE in Puerto Rico. Professor Braschi will participate in a panel with Spanish publishers on the subject of creativity, the book, and the market. She will also give a poetry reading as part of the cultural program.


Other CILE guests include Edmundo Paz Soldan, Jorge Edwards, Jorge Volpi, Myra Montero, Leonardo Padura, Antonio Skármeta, and Sergio Ramírez.

The event will feature concerts, book salons, and tours throughout Old San Juan.

To register, click here: http://www.eventbrite.es/e/entradas-vii-congreso-internacional-de-la-lengua-espanola-cile-en-san-juan-de-puerto-rico-20147471630




United States of Banana @ Columbia Stages


Here are photos by Carol Rosegg of the theater production of United States of Banana, directed and adapted by Juan Pablo Felix and produced by Grace Denoncourt for Columbia Stages, June 2015.

The Cast:  Giannina was played by Angela Sperazza, Hamlet by Raphael Corkhill, Zarathustra by Tauriq Jenkins, Gertrude by Hadley Boyd, Segismundo by Juan Arturo Villar-Ojito, Statue of Liberty by Alicia Giangrisotomi, Prisoners by George Hider, Charles Young, Ethan Nguyen, and Kristoffer Infante. Set design by You-Shen Chen.

Act I: Burial of the Sardine (at the Fulton Market post 911)



Act II: American Passport (in the dungeon under the skirt of the Statue of Liberty)


Act III:  The Wedding of the Century gertrude3

gertrude basilio 6


gertyseggerty seg7hamsegsi

Act IV: The Coronation (In the Crown of the Statue of Liberty)



hamletophelia ophelia3


Curtain Call (Hamlet played by Raphael Corkhill invites Giannina Braschi to the stage)

giannina and hamlet

A New Play! United States of Banana

Director Juan Pablo Felix brings to the stage for the first time “United States of Banana,” by Giannina Braschi on the post-911 American psyche around the politics of empire and independence.  The New York City debut takes place June 17th thru June 20th at The Schapiro Theatre at Columbia University.

Hamlet and Zarathustra join Giannina on a quest to liberate the Puerto Rican prisoner Segismundo from the dungeon of the Statue of Liberty, where he has been imprisoned by his father, the King of the United States of Banana, for more than 100 years for the crime of being born. The work tackles inter-American politics of empire and independence, the post-9/11 psyche, and the immigrant’s experience of marginality and liberation. The play depicts New York City as “the Darwinist capital of the Capitalist word” and U.S. imperialism as doomed as “a chicken with its head cut”. All Latin Americans are granted American passports, Puerto Rico is declared the 51st state, and then comes a revolution…

Adapted for the stage by Juan Pablo Felix and Giannina Braschi, author of United States of Banana, the Spanglish classic Yo-Yo Boing! and the postmodern epic Empire of Dreams.

JUAN PABLO FÉLIX is a theater director, filmmaker, and acting coach from Bogotá, Colombia. He was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship and enrolled in the MFA Theater Directing Program at Columbia University School of the Arts. He has staged “Uncle Vanya”, “Two Sisters” and his own musical fairy tale “The Amazing Story of El Hombre Caimán!” He served as casting director for the Oscar-nominated film “Maria Full of Grace” and directs theater workshops at Estudio Babel in Colombia and EICTV in Cuba.

  • Wednesday June 17th, 2015 7:30 pm
  • Thursday June 18th, 2015 7:30 pm
  • Friday June 19th, 2015 7:30 pm
  • Saturday June 20th, 2015 7:30 pm

For more information contact: gracedenoncourt@gmail.com

Schapiro Theater, 605 West 115th Street, NY, NY 10027

tel: (212) 854-3408


PEN American Center’s Gala on May 5th

PEN American Center’s annual Literary Gala will be held on May 5, 2014 in New York City, and its director Susan Nossel has stated that two members of the Russian feminist punk rock protest group Pussy Riot, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina, will be in attendance. This year’s Literary Gala will be the largest in PEN American’s history with more than 500 guests hosted by U.S. and international writers of note. The benefit will help support PEN’s work all over the world, the bedrock of which is defending writers under threat and promoting free expression. Literary hosts of the festive event include Giannina Braschi, Robert Caro, Chang Rae Lee, Francine Prose, and David Remnick.

The PEN American Center has been in New York City since 1922. It is one of two U.S. branches of PEN International, a strictly non-political NGO founded in London in 1921. PEN International is the world’s oldest human rights organization. It is in “formal consultative relations with UNESCO” and holds “Special Consultative Status” with the U.N.’s Economic and Social Council, notes the PEN American Center website. With a community of over 3,500 U.S. writers who are “working to break down barriers to free expression around the world,” PEN American Center is the largest of 145 such centers that are located in 101 countries.
pussy riot
PEN initially stood for poets, essayists, and novelists, but today the organization welcomes writers of all literary forms who want to advocate on behalf of those writers who are intimidated, imprisoned, and even killed for what they write.

The May 5 gala will present PEN’s highest honor, the Allen Foundation Literary Service Award, to Salman Rushdie for his role in founding and building the PEN World Voices Festival of International Literature, which begins seven days earlier, on April 28. The Literary Gala will mark the festival’s close. Rushdie will be introduced by Toni Morrison, who received the Literary Service Award in 2008. Twitter CEO Dick Costolo will be recognized with the first-ever Toni and James C. Goodale Digital Freedom Award for its “powerful new tool for communication and expression to hundreds of millions of people worldwide.” This tool, the PEN America site states, enables dialogue and the flow of information across political and geographical borders and has become essential for human rights activists, dissidents, and journalists.

The third award of the evening, the annual Barbara Goldsmith Freedom to Write Award, is always given to “an imprisoned writer who has made significant contributions and endured personal sacrifice in the service of free expression.” PEN America has announced that this year’s recipient will be Ilham Tohti of China. Tohti is an ethnic Uyghur Chinese writer, university professor, economist, and public intellectual. Tohti has long been harassed by the authorities in China for his unfavorable and vocal opinions about China’s treatment of the Muslim minority in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. The members of Pussy Riot, whom themselves were incarcerated for nearly two years due to their unfavorable and vocal opinions concerning their own government, will make some brief remarks during the presentation of this award.

PEN writers and translators who signed a letter of protest to the Chinese government include Edward Albee, Paul Auster, Giannina Braschi, Don Delillo, EL Doctorow, Deborah Eisenberg, Jennifer Egan, Tess O’Dwyer, David Remnick, Salman Rushdie, Francine Prose and John Waters.

Texas A&M Presents Giannina Braschi


Texas A & M International Presents
Giannina Braschi, a reading and discussion @ 5pm
Thursday, January 16, 2014

King Room in Killam Library, on the Texas A&M International campus, Laredo, TX

Presenter MANUEL BRONCANO is a professor of American Literature and former chair of the Department of Humanities at Texas A&M International University. He is currently the director of English, Spanish and Translation programs at the same university. Before relocating to Texas, Prof. Broncano taught for twenty years at the University of León, in Spain. A literary scholar as well as a translator, Broncano is the author of Religion in Cormac McCarthy’s Fiction: Apocryphal Borderlands, recently released by Routledge. He has translated and prepared the scholarly edition of Flannery O’Connor’s Wise Blood, Willa Cather’s Death Comes for the Archbishop, and Herman Melville’s Israel Potter. The three editions/translations have been published by Editorial Cátedra (Madrid) in its collection “Clásicos Universales.” Broncano is also the translator of Charlotte Lennox’s The Female Quixote, also published by Cátedra, and short stories by Edgar Allan Poe and Washington Irving. Broncano is currently working on the edition and the translation of Willa Cather’s The Professor’s House.  He is currently working on the Spanish translation of Giannina Braschi’s United States of Banana.



Assault on Time


And take upon’s the mystery of things,

As if we were God’s spies.

Shakespeare, King Lear, act 5, scene 3




Detrás de la palabra está el silencio.  Detrás de lo que suena está la puerta.  En cada cosa hay un envés y un pliegue que se oculta.  Y lo que se acercaba se cayó y se detuvo lejos en la cercanía.  Una expresión se duerme y se levanta.  Y lo que estaba allá regresa.  Es una forma de volver el mundo a su lugar.  Y algo vuelve cuando debiera quedarse recordando.

Pero si toco el timbre el agua salta y el río vuelve a caer del agua y el cuerpo se levanta y vibra.  Y la piedra se despierta y dice canto.  Y la mano se transforma en un pañuelo.  Y compañeros son el crepúsculo y el viento.  Y ese crepúsculo aparece en medio de un relámpago.  Fuera hay un pájaro y un árbol y una rama y aquel relámpago.  Y sobre todo hay mediodía sin forma.  Y de repente todo adquiere movimiento.  Dos viajeros se encuentran y sus zapatos bailan.  Y chocan la brisa y la mañana.  Y corre la gaviota y el conejo vuela.  Y corre y corre y corría la corriente.  Detrás de eso que corre está la vida.  Detrás de ese silencio está la puerta.



Hola.  Como regresaste tarde olvidé que te había escrito una línea, y recordé que la línea del libro había recogido un papel que me mandaste para que le escribiera al libro un recuerdo.  Otra vez te has olvidado de las comas.  No, no me olvidé.  Ellas olvidaron ponerle un punto final a la memoria.  Recordé la memoria cuando ya no podía escribirle.  Y luego tuve miedo de insistir.  No ha regresado todavía.  Si no regresa tendré que borrar la página cinco.  La memoria estaba en la lista de los invitados.  Pero olvidé su número de teléfono.  Luego caminé hasta la octava avenida de la página tres y me encontré de pronto con el olvido.  Crucé la avenida en la página diez y luego miré el horizonte de la página tres y borré la noche.  Estoy en el día de la página cinco.  El encuentro con el olvido fue gratuito.  No esperaba encontrarte en el camino.  Creía que tu visita llegaría en la página treinta.  Pero te has adelantado.  Estoy sentado a la izquierda de este libro.  Conversamos.



Sí, es cierto.  Las preguntas no cambian la verdad.  Pero le dan movimiento.  Hacen que se enfoque mi verdad desde otro ángulo.  Y tú dijiste:  estamos lavando la verdad.  Hay que aclarar asuntos.

No dices la verdad y al cabo tu chaqueta vuelve hecha de otro material, y tus zapatos dicen que sí, y regresan a ti diciendo mi verdad.  Aunque ahora llueva puede que adentro tu verdad sea que no llueve como llueve afuera.  Aunque calle puede que hables lo que pienso cuando te callabas.  Pero no me hagas caso y vuelve a comenzar a decirme ven cuando dijiste vete.  No esperes entonces que te escuche cuando me digas ven.  Vendrás con tu palabra fuera y se abrirá la puerta.  Escucho esa palabra y se entorna la puerta.  Vendrás entonces y ya sabré decirte: fuera.




Behind the word is silence.  Behind what sounds is the door.  There is a back and a fold hiding in everything. And what was approaching fell and stopped far away in proximity.  An expression falls asleep and rises.  And what was over there returns.  It’s a way to put the world back in its place.  And something comes back when it should remain remembering.  

But if I ring the bell, water jumps and a river falls out of the water again.  And the body rises and shakes.  And the rock wakes and says I sing.  And a hand turns into a kerchief.  And twilight and wind are companions.  And this twilight appears amid lightning.  Outside there is a bird and a branch and a tree and that lightning.  Above all, there is noon without form.  And suddenly everything acquires movement.  Two travelers meet and their shoes dance.  And breeze and morning clash.  And the seagull runs and the rabbit flies.  And runs and runs, and the current ran.  Behind what runs is life.  Behind that silence is the door.



Hello.  Since you came back late I forgot that I’d written you a line, but I remembered that the line from the book had picked up a paper you sent me so that I’d jot down a memory for the book.  You’ve forgotten the commas again.  No, I haven’t.  They forgot to end memory with a period.  I remembered memory when I could no longer write to her.  But then I was afraid to insist.  She hasn’t come back yet.  If she doesn’t come back, I’ll have to erase page five.  Memory was on the guest list.  But I forgot her telephone number.  Then I walked to eighth avenue of page thee and suddenly met forgetfulness.  I crossed the avenue on page ten and saw the horizon of page three and erased the night.  Now I’m on the day of page five.  Forgetfulness dropped by unannounced.  I wasn’t expecting to find you on the way.  I thought you would stop by on page thirty.  But you’re early.  I’m sitting to the left of this book.  We talk.



Sure, it’s true.  Questions don’t change the truth.  But they give it motion.  They focus my truth from another angle.  And you said: we’re cleaning up the truth.  We must clarify certain things.

 You don’t tell the truth and your jacket eventually comes back made of another material, and your shoes say sure! and run back to you telling my truth.  Even if it’s raining now, your truth may be that it’s not raining inside like it’s raining outside.  Though silent you may be saying what I’m thinking when you weren’t talking.  Don’t pay attention to me and keep saying come when you said go.  Then don’t expect me to listen when you say come.  You’ll come with your words get out and the door will open.  I hear those words and the door opens halfway.  Then you’ll come and I’ll know how to say: get out.


Summer reads: brilliant takes on Nuyoricans, random murder and narco-literatura

Down the Rabbit Hole, , , , , , , , , , , ,


by Claudio Iván Remeseira, @HispanicNewYork 

12:48 pm on 08/25/2013

Puerto Rican poet, novelist, and essayist Giannina Braschi is a true force of nature. Born in 1953 into an affluent San Juan family, by the age of 14 she was the youngest female tennis champion in Puerto Rico’s history. Before turning 18 she had left home to study literature in Madrid, Rome, London, and Paris. After four years in Europe, she established herself in New York, where she later earned a PhD in Spanish literature from the State University of New York, Stony Brook. An expert in Cervantes, Garcilaso, Lorca, Machado, Vallejo, and Bécquer, she taught for many years at Rutgers, Colgate, and other prestigious universities.

A writer in three languages –Spanish, English, and Spanglish—her own literary work has been considered cutting-edge and revolutionary by the critics, as well as recognized with several awards by the National Endowment for the Arts, New York Foundation for the Arts, PEN American Center, Ford Foundation, and the Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña, among other organizations.

In 1988 she turned out “El Imperio de los Sueños,” widely regarded as a classic of Latin American Postmodernism, which at times, in the words of one critic, sounded uncannily like a female, tropical version of Samuel Beckett. Braschi’s production blends fiction, drama, essays, poetry, philosophy, and performance art. In 1998 she published “Yo-Yo Boing!” a novel written in Spanglish that dramatized the linguistic clash between “Anglos” and Latinos in New York City. Both “Yo-Yo Boing!” and “Empire of Dreams” have been masterfully translated into English by Tess O’Dwyer.


Braschi’s latest book is also the first one that she wrote entirely in English, “United States of Banana.”  In a post-9/11 world, she explores the cultural experience of Latinos in the U.S. and the three political alternatives for Puerto Rico: nation, colony, and statehood—or in the author’s words, Wishy, Wishy-Washy, and Washy.

“Revolutionary in subject and form, UNITED STATES OF BANANA [sic] is a beautifully written declaration of personal independence,” declared The Evergreen Review. On September 26, Braschi is scheduled to appear on September 26 at the American Voces series organized by The John Hopkins University, Baltimore, where she will discuss her work with the audience.


Javier Marías’s 12th novel, “The Infatuations,” translated into English by Margaret Jull Costa, is a mesmerizing, disturbing novel. At the center of the story, there is an apparently random murder.  All we know about this murder we know from the perspective of a woman of a rather uncontrolled imagination. This woman, Maria, is also the one who tells the story.

This is the first time that the award-winning Marías, born in Madrid in 1951 and considered one of the greatest Spanish-language novelists alive, employs a female narrator. As the storyline progresses, the murder mystery turns into a metaphysical inquiry into love and death, guilt and obsession, chance and coincidence—in sum, on the elusive nature of truth and of our ability to find it.


On the surface, “Down the Rabbit Hole,” Juan Pablo Villalobos’s miniature novel, is just another example of “narco-literatura,” the genre inspired by the Mexican drug wars. More deeply, it is a brilliant experiment on perspective and the account of a delirious journey to grant a child’s wish.

Short-listed for the Guardian First Book Award, “Down the Rabbit Hole” is the promising debut of a post-boom generation writer (Villalobos was born in Guadalajara, Mexico, in 1973).

ClaudioRemeseiraClaudio Iván Remeseira is a New York-based award-winning journalist, writer, and critic. Translator of the Spanish-language on-line section of The Nation and editor of Hispanic New York, an online portal and blog on current events and culture. Editor of Hispanic New York: A Sourcebook (Columbia University Press, 2010), an anthology of essays on the city’s Latino, Latin American & Iberian cultural heritage, and winner of the Latino International Book Award in the category of Best Reference Book in English (2011).