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Los recuerdos del porvenir (Recollection of Things to Come) (1963), the emblematic novel by Elena Garro, celebrates its 60th anniversary in 2023. It is a good opportunity to acknowledge the many merits and literary innovations of the Mexican author, with fresh perspectives, beyond the cultural and political censorship it has often undergone.
Elena Garro (Mexico 1916-1998) is one of the most important writers of the 20th century. She became known as a journalist, playwright, novelist, short story writer, screenwriter, memoirist, and poet. In this presentation we will visit some of the most relevant aspects of her life, in order to understand the origins of Los recuerdos del porvenir, in which she criticizes the post-revolutionary political system through her depiction of the Cristero War (1926-1929). We will also discuss the novel's lyrical style and innovative narrative technique, which make it a standout text in Latin American literature. None of her compatriots dismantled the tyranny of the opportunistic generals who betrayed the Mexican people like Garro did. Through the use of memory, myth, magical thinking, and the tension between Western and pre-Hispanic conceptions of time, Elena Garro questions official history and shows that, as we were yesterday, we are today as long as we do not acknowledge the whole truth. Los recuerdos del porvenir, translated into English by Ruth L.C. Simms as Recollections of Things to Come (1969) is not often recognised as a foundational work for subsequent trends in Latin American literature, including magic realism.
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Patricia Rosas Lopátegui
Patricia Rosas Lopátegui (Tuxpan, Veracruz) is Associate Professor at the Chicana and Chicano Studies Department of the University of New Mexico, in the United States. She has published a biography of Elena Garro in three volumes: I Yo sólo soy memoria. Biografía visual de Elena Garro (1999); Testimonios sobre Elena Garro. Biografía exclusiva y autorizada de Elena Garro (2002) and El asesinato de Elena. Periodismo a través de una perspectiva biográfica in Two Editions (2005; 2014). She is the first to compile Elena Garro's plays, and she coordinated and contributed to the “Introducción” de Obras reunidas II. Teatro (2009) and her unpublished poetry in Cristales de tiempo (1st ed., 2016; 2nd ed. 2018). Her most recent work on the Puebla-born author consists of two volumes, Diálogos con Elena Garro. Entrevistas y otros textos (2020), which is added to other publications.
Her interest in recognizing the innovations of ten Mexican writers of the 20th century led her to create the Insurrectas series.
Olivia Vázquez Medina
Olivia Vázquez Medina (San Luis Potosí, Mexico) is Associate Professor in Spanish at the University of Oxford. She has published widely on Mexican and Spanish American literature from the 20th and 21st centuries, including the monograph Cuerpo, historia y textualidad en Augusto Roa Bastos, Fernando del Paso y Gabriel García Márquez (Iberoamericana-Vervuert, 2013). Her current research focuses on prose fiction by contemporary Spanish American women writers, including Samanta Schweblin, Cristina Rivera Garza, Mariana Enríquez, Fernanda Trías, and Giovanna Rivero.
Montse Redondo is a Library Officer for Westminster Libraries. She is interested in Latin American authors and has organised numerous online and in-person events in partnership with different organisations such as; “Mexican novelist Juan Rulfo, an evening in Comala” , “Theatre of War: In conversation with Andrea Jeftanovic and Frances Riddle”, “In conversation with author Isabel Allende”, “Cracks & Scars: Las Juanas”.
She has an exquisite taste in literature and is committed to making libraries more diverse and inclusive by widening the range of cultural events available.
Montse holds a dual Macondo-Ixtepec literary citizenship.