PRdream mourns the passing of Rosario Ferré, September 28, 1938 – February 18, 2016


The grande dame of Puerto Rican belles lettres has died! Rosario Ferré was born in 1938 in Ponce, Puerto Rico. In 1960 she graduated from Manhattanville College in New York as an English major. She obtained her Masters degree in Spanish and Latin American literature from the University of Puerto Rico in 1985 and her Ph.D. from the University of Maryland in 1987. She began writing in 1970, when she edited and published a literary magazine called Zona de carga y descarga in Puerto Rico. This magazine published the works of young Puerto Rican writers, many of whom have later become well-known in the literary landscape of the island. In 1976 she published her first book of short stories, Papeles de Pandora (Mortiz, México). That same year she received a prize at the Ateneo Puertorriqueño and at Casa de las Américas, in Cuba, for her short stories. In 1978 she published El medio pollito, a book of fables (Huracán, P.R.); in 1981 La mona que le pisaron la cola and Los cuentos de Juan Bobo (Huracán, P.R.), children’s stories.

From 1977 to 1980 she wrote a column of literary criticism in the Puerto Rican newspaper, El Mundo, called “Carga y Descarga.” In 1982 she published a book of feminist essays, Sitio a Eros (Mortiz, México), and re-edited in an expanded version in 1985; in1984 she published her first book of poems, Fábulas de la garza desangrada (Mortiz, México). Her novel Maldito Amor (Mortiz), was published in 1985 and has been re-edited many times, by editorial Hispanoamericana in Argentina, and Huracán in Puerto Rico; in 1987 she published El acomodador, una lectura fantástica de Felisberto Hernández (Fondo de Cultura Económica, México). A book of critical essays about the Argentinian writer Julio Cortázar, El romántico en su observatorio, was published in 1990.

Ferré did a version of Maldito Amor in English, and it was published as Sweet Diamond Dust in January 1989 by Ballantine Books, N.Y.. It was reprinted by Dutton Plume in 1996. A book of fables, Sonatinas, was published in August 1989 by Huracán in Puerto Rico. A book of literary essays, El árbol y sus sombras, was published in November of 1989 by Fondo de Cultura Económica, in México. Her book of essays, El coloquio de las Perras, was published by Editorial Cultural in PR in1991. A book of short stories, The Youngest Doll, (an English version of Papeles de Pandora) was published in 1991 by the University of Nebraska Press. Editorial Cultural in Puerto Rico published her book on Julio Cortázar ‘s short stories, El romántico en su observatorio (1992).

In 1992 she published Las dos Venecias, a book of poems and short stories, with Mortiz, Mexico; as well as Memorias de Ponce, a biography of her father, Luis A. Ferré, with Editorial Norma, in Colombia. In 1992 she received the Liberatur Prix in Frankfurt, Germany, for her novel Kristalzucker, a translation of Sweet Diamond Dust into German, published in Switzerland by Rotpunkverlag. Her children’s stories have also been translated into German as Die Halbe Hunchen, and were published in Frankfurt. In1996 she was invited to participate as an honorary guest in the Grinzane Cavour prize in Turin, Italy, as a Puerto Rican writer. La batalla de las vírgenes, a novella, was published in1994 by Editorial Universitaria, in Río Piedras, P.R. Her anthology of poems, Antología Personal, was published by Editorial Cultural that same year. In 1997 Editorial Santillana-Alfaguara has published her children’s stories in Puerto Rico.

The novel, The House on the Lagoon, came out published by Farrar, Straus, Giroux in New York, in September,1995, and was picked as one of the five finalists for the National Book Award in the U. S. It also received the Critic’s Choice Award and was selected for the Book of the Month Club in 1995.

The Spanish version of this novel was published 1997 by EMECE in Spain. It was also published in Germany, Britain, The Netherlands, France, Poland, Italy and Greece. Her novel, Eccentric Neighborhoods, was published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux in March, 1998, and has recently been published by Editorial Planeta in Mexico and Vintage Español in the U.S. in Spanish. It was also published in Germany, with Krüger Verlag, in 1999, and in Italy, Holland and France.

Her most recent book of essays, A la sombra de tu nombre, was published by Alfaguara and is currently on sale in Puerto Rico and the United States. Her latest novel, Flight of the Swan, has was published by Farrar Straus and Giroux.

© Rosario Ferré, All Rights Reserved

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