A survey of what current authors literature students are reading
compiled by Flaminia Ocampo, Salvador San Juan and Lila Zemborain

What follows are some results of a survey among literature students—at Universidad de la Plata in Buenos Aires, and New York University—who were asked to name their favorite living Latin American writer and say why. The answers are in alphabetical order.

Mario Bellatín, Peru-Mexico. “Bellatín’s writing shows a provocative artistic attitude, using techniques like copying or pasting complete paragraphs, similar or identical, in different parts of novels or texts, but always proposing that there is not, and there shouldn’t be, a definitive text but one that is constantly changing.”
Gioconda Belli, Nicaragua. “A writer of poetry and prose, her writing and politics have been very much linked. Very engaged with her time, she can be called a revolutionary writer. Also her poetry and fiction celebrate women in a very misogynist society.”
Félix Bruzzone, Argentina. “Because he is one of the few among young writers who has succeeded in what many tried to do without success: a writing apparently very simple, and colloquial to narrate with a complexity that reveals itself with repeated readings.”
Horacio Castellanos Moya, El Salvador/Honduras. “He tackles literature with journalistic methods and humor. He is very sardonic and creates an immediate connection between writer and reader, his writing always goes deep into the subject he takes on. He has shown in his books a deep involvement with the history of Central America.”
Faumelisa Manquepillán, Chile. “This Mapuche poet moves me because she deeps into primitive roots from the perspective of miscegenation and gender. She celebrates rituals of original cultures at the same time that she denounces the abuse committed by the occidental influx into those cultures.”
Luciana de Mello, Brazil. “Although she has published only one novel up to now, Mandinga de amor, her writing has an attractive musicality, perhaps due to the fact that she is a singer and she often uses portuñol, a mixing of Spanish and Portuguese. But it is not only her language that is on the frontier but also her subject matters.”
Lina Meruane, Chile. “Seeing Red, her first novel, has such a dreamlike, almost nightmarish atmosphere, as if what she is narrating is suspended in the air. I also like the publishing house Brutas Editoras that she directs, publishing texts in Spanish translated to English.”
Sylvia Molloy, Argentina. “She is a writer between languages, not only Spanish and English but also French, a writer of the plurilingüismo. At the same time because she has had a long career in academia, behind the apparent naturalness of her writing you can feel the strength of her knowledge about what words mean.”
María Negroni, Argentina. “Last year I’ve been under her spell. There are no barriers between literary genres, everything she writes is at the end poetry. She plays when she writes; she plays impeccably.”
Elvira Orphée, Argentina. “Carlos Fuentes mentioned her often as one of the best Latin American writers. There is no other writer alive in the Spanish language able to construct sentences with so much lyricism and impact. She is probably unique in the efficiency of her writing.”
Felipe Polleri, Uruguay. “He describes characters in adverse lives with such subtle cruelty, his writing is spare and efficient and at the same time full of black humor. He is described as belonging to the group of “los raros”, the strange. “ in Uruguay, and he always says that the only strange thing is to be a writer in Uruguay during all your life.”
Antonio José Ponte, Cuba. “He presents a suggestive overview of Castro’s Cuba in a state of crisis. When the Soviet Union loses influence in Cuba in the 90’s, the island remains adrift between the American economic blockade and a power that has let it go. Ponte’s atmosphere recreates the Habana at that time, individuals in a state of tension, blackouts in the city, characters with an uncertain destiny… ”
Marcela Serrano, Chile. “Before becoming a writer she was a painter and it shows in her texts because there is a construction of scenes as if they were a realistic painting.”
Fabián Severo, Uruguay-Brasil. “He is a poet of new times, who explores the question of the frontier. What does it mean to write from places traversed by different languages that are in close contact? He includes many idiomatic turns with portuñol, and this also generates musicality, especially when Portuguese is used with more emphasis.”
Enrique Symns, Argentina. “Without euphemism, without linguistic paraphernalia, he writes about what is: the frog keeps on being a frog in a mediocre existence and the damsel never falls asleep because she is in the habit of inhaling cocaine. It has been said that Symns is the Argentine Bukowski, but he is something else, he is the Master of the Abyss, an unruly poet, sensible and lewd who observes and reports life from the most remote corners of society.”

FLAMINIA OCAMPO’s stories have appeared in Spanish as La locura de los otros (2003) and in English as Other People’s Phobias (2013). Her other books include the novels Siete Vidas (2004) and Cobayos Criollos (2015), a biographical study of Victoria Ocampo, Victoria y sus amigos (2009), and two books of essays, Deseos y desconsuelo (2015), Un asesino entre nosotros: Eichmann en Buenos Aires (2016).