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Wendy Guerra, Havana’s literary darling

Wendy Guerra, Havana’s literary darling

Her books have not been published in Cuba for several years now. For many people, Wendy is no more than a memory of a child who narrated children’s stories on TV’s Buenos Días, the first morning news program on Cuban television. There were some rumors that she had been successful as a writer and, for those of us living on the island, we are fortunate that in 2013 the Letras Cubanas Press has published Posar desnuda en La Habana, a novel that reconstructs the Cuban sojourn of the French-born writer Anaïs Nin, taking the format of an apocryphal diary. The book is going to be presented at the 2014 Havana Book Fair. Wendy gives us a copy and I devour it on the way home. I read as I walk, I read on the bus, I read it in the kitchen and, when I have finished, I want more.

Wendy admits that she is a darling of the market. Her books have been translated into thirteen languages and they are always sold out. She is deeply in love with poetry and she tells us that whenever someone calls themselves a good poet, as she does, almost always they are good people. But above anything else, she confesses that she loves being with herself. Reading, thinking, writing. After the gregarious lifestyle of many of us Cubans (rural schools, production jobs, school residences that have great numbers of students living together), Wendy believes that a little peace and quiet is needed, some individuality if you will.

It was Gabriel García Márquez who gave Wendy’s literary career its first boost: “He told me to forget about the movies and write pure, hard literature,” she tells us. Time would prove the Nobel laureate right. In 2006 her first novel Todos se van was published and received the Bruguera Press Award for that year. Translated into French, Italian, German, Bulgarian, Swedish and English and printed in the US, it was chosen by Latino Author Review of the United States as one of the nine best books of the year. In 2008 she published Nunca fui Primera Dama (Bruguera Press, Barcelona) and in 2011, Posar desnuda en La Habana. Diario apócrifo de Anaïs Nin (Alfaguara Press, Mexico). She tells us she is now working on Negra, a new novel dealing with racism, something that has never been totally eradicated from Cuban society, which still carries baggage from the scourge of slavery in the sugar cane plantations.

I’m anxious to get a copy of this new book and, as we say good-bye, I have the urge to wonder one more time what secrets lie behind that somewhat childlike appearance. Perhaps her new novel will reveal the mystery.

January 2015 This article formed part of the January 2015 issue of What’s On Havana The definitive monthly travel & culture guide to Havana Download our current issue of What’s On Havana, your definitive travel, culture and entertainment guide for all things happening in Havana, Cuba’s bustling and enigmatic capital city. We include features from around Cuba written by the best international travel writers covering Cuba. Our monthly online digital magazine is also available in Spanish and French.


What’s On Havana What’s On La Habana What’s On La Havane January, 2015
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