Narratives of Migration – Latin Americans in London a conversation with authors Patria Roman and Jessica Retis

Narratives of Migration – Latin Americans in London a conversation with authors Patria Roman and Jessica Retis chaired by Silvia Rothlisberger took place on the 3rd of October during the 2020 London Spanish Book & Zine Fair.

Journalists, researchers and writers Patria Roman and Jessica Retis discussed their recently published book Narratives of Migration, Relocation and Belonging which gives voices to the diverse diasporic Latin American communities living in the UK.

About the book:

Narratives of Migration, Relocation and Belonging is a book that gives voices to the diverse diasporic Latin American communities living in the UK by exploring first and onward migration of Latin Americans to Europe, with a specific reference to London. The authors discuss how networks of solidarity and local struggles are played out, enacted, negotiated and experienced in different spatial spheres, whether this be migration routes into London, work spaces, diasporic media and urban places. Each of these spaces are explored in separate chapters to argue that transnational networks of solidarity and local struggles are facilitating renewed sense of belongingness and claims to the city. In this context we witness manifestations of British Latinidad that invoke new forms of belongingness beyond and against old colonial powers.

About the authors:

Patria Román-Velázquez is a Senior Lecturer in the Institute for Media and Creative Industries at Loughborough University London. Patria is a sociology and communication specialist with an interest in urban communication, migrant and ethnic economies and urban regeneration. Her research is framed around theories of globalisation, cities, place and identity mainly through ethnographic research with Latin Americans in London. Her current research interrogates the impact of urban regeneration and urban planning policy frameworks for London’s migrant and ethnic economies. Patria is the author of the book The Making of Latin London: Salsa Music, Place and Identity (1999); co-author of Narratives of migration, relocation and belonging: Latin Americans in London (2020); and has published articles in a number of journals and edited collections. She is also founder and Chair of Trustees at Latin Elephant, CIO. A charity that works with migrant and ethnic groups, and Latin Americans in particular, to increase inclusion, engagement and participation in processes of urban change in London.

Twitter:  @patria_roman

Jessica Retis is Associate Professor in the School of Journalism and Director of the Master’s in Bilingual Journalism at the University of Arizona. She is affiliated Faculty with the Center for Latin American Studies and the Human Rights Practice Program at UA. Retis holds a Major in Communications (University of Lima, Peru), a Masters in Latin American Studies (National Autonomous University of Mexico) and a Ph.D. in Contemporary Latin America (Complutense University of Madrid, Spain). She has almost two decades of professional experience as journalist in Peru, Mexico and Spain and almost three decades of teaching experience in several universities in the United States, Spain and Mexico. Her areas of research include Latin America, international migration, diasporas and transnational communities; cultural industries; ethnic media; diversity and the media; Latino media in Europe, North America and Asia; bilingual journalism, journalism studies, and journalism education. She is co-editor of The Handbook of Diasporas, Media and Culture (Willey, 2019) and co-author of Latin Americans in London: Narratives of Migration, Relocation and Belonging (Palgrave, 2020).

Twitter: @jretis

Literary Party! Fanzine launch and author Q&A

Event on the 13th of September!


With our colleagues from FLAWA Festival we are launching an amazing fanzine created by women and gender diverse writers and illustrators from Latin America… so we are having a Literary Party!

Meet Brazilian author Luiza Sauma, who will be talking about her second novel Everything You Ever Wanted.
There’ll be an open mic for any author who wants to take over the stage and share their work.
PLUS MUSIC! DJ Amancai will be playing Latin tunes along the way!

About the fanzine:
FLAWA Festival and Literary South have created a fanzine led by women and gender diverse writers that celebrates all the literary events during FLAWA Festival 2019.
Featuring poems by Calu Lema, Soraya Fernandez DF, Barbara López Cardona, Angelica Quintero (Hada Candelaria), Sonia Quintero, Patricia Cardona, Jael de la Luz, Sonia Hadj Said and three poets from Las Juanas poetry collective (Mabel Evergreen-Oaks, Maria Eugenia Bravo-Calderara, Denisse Vargas). Interviews with Alia Trabucco Zerán, Yara Rodrigues Fowler. Also, Rebecca Wilson interviewing the authors, ilustrations by Mitucami Mituca, Gisella Stapleton Prieto and images by Ingrid Ayunkuyen Guyon.
Designed by Jeimy Caviedes. Edited by Silvia Juliana Rothlisberger.

Facebook event



Against literary machismo in Latin America

Silvia Rothlisberger

A manifesto signed by hundreds of Latin American female and male writers from the region raises awareness of the gender disparity in most of the cultural and literary events in Latin America and of the machismo culture that reigns in the industry.

The most recent example and the one that encouraged this manifesto was The III Mario Vargas Llosa Novel Biennale, which took place on the last week of May in Guadalajara, Mexico. The Biennale awards a Latin American author with US $100,000 and is named after the most recent Nobel Prize winner from the region Mario Vargas Llosa who stirred things up on March 2018 after writing in the Spanish-language newspaper El País that nowadays feminism is the biggest enemy of literature as “it pretends to decontaminate it from misogyny, prejudice and immorality”.

The scarce female presence on this year’s Mario Vargas Llosa Biennale couldn’t be ignored: from the 16 panellists only three were women, from the five shortlisted authors of the literary award only one was a woman. And from the five judges of the prize only one was a woman.

“This year is not different from past years”, states the manifesto. “In 2014 the panellists were 25 men and only six women; in 2015: 22 men and eight women,” it continues. “And in both editions, the panel of judges and the shortlisted authors for the award were equally disproportionate. Also, on both occasions the winners were male. We can guess what gender will be this year’s winner.” As if predicting the near future the winner of the III Mario Vargas Llosa Novel Biennale Award was a male writer.

The Manifesto also raises awareness of the machismo culture in the literary industry. After a scandal that broke on Mexico at the end of March when a journalist denounced on Twitter that a male writer had physically harmed many women and they were afraid to speak up. This unveiled a wave of testimonies of harassment via Twitter from personal accounts under the hashtag #MetooEscritoresMexicanos (#MetooMexicanWriters) and there is now a Twitter account called @MeTooEscritores where women can send their testimonies and they are published on this account. If they want to remain anonymous they can.

#metooescritoresmexicanos (also known as #MujeresjuntasMarabunta) is now a movement and their manifesto states: “In the last couple of weeks, more and more women working in publishing have joined in a collective and subversive action against violence that has been normalized in our workspaces: publishing houses, book fairs, conferences, congresses, universities, workshops, etc. This is not new. We have kept harassment, humiliation, segregation and sexual assault to ourselves far too long, in fear that our accusations would be dismissed and our work excluded.” The manifesto also states how their “mission is to underscore impunity, which in Mexico stands at an alarming rate of 95% -an absolute imbalance of power that benefits perpetrators”.

The movement has ten demands as an initial stage to stop the harassment and gender imparity. To highlight a few: That the development of public policy guarantee gender parity in the different levels of cultural institutions, as well as in juries and selection committees for all state and national contests. That all publicly funded magazines and publications include at least 50% of female authors in their catalogue. That there be an alternation between men and women in decision-making positions.

This movement in Mexico is the latest of an increasing number of feminist movements in the literary sphere throughout Latin America that wants to change the industry into a more balanced and fair environment for women.

Comando Plath is a collective from Peru of women writers, artists and intellectuals who are tired of being “stereotyped, ignored, treated violently and being ridiculed”. The collective Comando Plath created a successful petition on asking the president of Peru to withdraw the National poetry award given to the poet Reynaldo Naranjo. This petition came after an award winning investigation by journalists Gabriella Wiener and Diego Salazar exposed the laureate poet of sexually abusing his daughter and stepdaughter in the 70s.

#EscribimosPublicamosExistimos | #Colombiatieneescritoras


Photo: Katherine Hanlon

Episode 21: Black History Month with writer and musician Freddy Macha

Sound engineer: Oscar Pérez.

In this episode, we did a mini tribute to Victoria Santa Cruz and his brother Nicomedes Santa Cruz by bringing to live their most iconic poems. Victoria’s Me gritaron negra (They shout black at me) and Nicomedes’ Black Rhythms from Peru; performed by poet and musician from Tanzania Freddy Macha.

Mentioned in this episode:

Victoria Santa Cruz’s poem Me gritaron negra / They shout black at me

Nicomedes Santa Cruz’s poem

Freddy Macha’s website

The Last Poets

Gil Scott Heron

A glimpse into the making of this episode…

Victoria Santa Cruz performing Me Gritaron Negra

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