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Biography

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Poet, novelist and journalist Gioconda Belli was born in Managua, Nicaragua, in 1948 to an upper middle-class Nicaraguan family of Italian origin.

Gioconda Belli 

Her father, Humberto Belli, was a businessman, and her mother, Gloria Pereira, the founder of the Experimental Theatre in Managua. Gioconda is the second of five siblings – Humberto, Eduardo, Lucía e Lavinia – and attended primary school at the Colegio de La Asunción in Managua, then secondary school at the Real Colegio de Santa Isabel in Madrid. She graduated in Advertising and Journalism from the University of Philadelphia in the United States.

She returned to Nicaragua in 1966 and began to work for an advertising company. In 1967 she married, and gave birth to her first daughter, Maryam, in 1969.

Later, in 1970, Gioconda, together with a number of other intellectuals, came into contact with the Frente Sandinista de Liberación Nacional (FSLN), a revolutionary group dedicated to the struggle against the regime of the country's dictator Anastasio Somoza Debayle.

It was during this period that she began to write poetry, which was published for the first time in magazines such as El gallo Ilustrado, Literary Press, Nicaragua and the cultural weekly magazine La Prensa. In 1972, she published her first collection of poetry, Sobre la grama, which was received very favourably by the critics and won the country's most prestigious poetry prize, the Mariano Fiallos Gil from National Autonomous University of Nicaragua.

Her political stance resulted in her being persecuted by the dictatorship in her own country, so she was forced to find refuge in Mexico, where she wrote her collection of verses Línea de fuego which, in 1978, won the Casa de Las Américas Prize in Cuba, and brought Gioconda to international recognition. She then continued her period of exile in Costa Rica, where she organized a network of refugees from the violence of Somoza's repressive regime.

Her marriage to Mariano A. Downing ended in divorce in 1976.

In 1979, subsequent to the political victory of the Frente Sandinista, she was appointed to a number of important positions within the revolutionary government until 1994, when the abandoned politics as a result of certain divergences with the party line. During this period, she also worked as director of the Writers' Union, and was one of the founders of the literary supplement Ventana.

Between 1982 and 1987, Belli published three volumes of verse: Truenos y arco iris, Amor insurrecto and De la costilla de Eva, which enjoyed worldwide success and were published in Spain, Mexico, Germany, Belgium, England, Italy and the United States.

In 1988 she published her first novel, La mujer habitada, which was translated into fourteen languages and became a world-wide best-seller. Her next works were Sofía de los presagios, Waslala, El país bajo mi piel, her autobiography of the Sandinista era, El pergamino de la seducción, El infinito en la palma de la mano, El país de las mujeres, El intenso calor de la luna and Las fiebres de la memoria.

She has also written a number of stories for children: El taller de las mariposas (2002); El apretado abrazo de la enredadera (2006); Cuando florenció la risa and El día que los arboles volaron (2017).

Belli has received numerous international prizes and awards, including the Friederich Ebhert Award (1989), the Anna Seghers-Preis awarded by the German Academy of Arts (1989), the Pluma de Plata Award (2005), the Biblioteca Breve Award (2008), the Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz Award (2009), the La Otra Orilla Prize (2010), the Premio Eñe (2018), the Hermann Kesten Prize (2018), and has been nominated Member of the Real Academia de Letras in Spain, and Chevalier de l'Ordre des arts et des lettres in France.

Since the mid-1990s, she has lived between Nicaragua and the United States. Belli is married to the American film producer Charles Castaldi and mother of four children: Maryam, Melissa, Camilo e Adriana.

 

BIBLIOGRAPHY

NOVELS

La mujer habitada (The Inhabitated Woman)
Managua, Vanguardia, 1988
Italian edition:
La donna abitata
translated by Margherita D’Amico
Roma, e/o, 1996

Sofía de los presagios 
Managua, Vanguardia,1990
Italian edition:
Sofia dei presagi
translated by Margherita D’Amico
Roma, e/o, 1998

Waslala: memorial del futuro 
Managua, Anamá, 1996
Italian edition:
Waslala
translated by Margherita D’Amico
Roma, e/o, 1999

El país bajo mi piel. Memorias de amor y de guerra (The Country under my Skin. A Memoir of Love and War) 
Barcelona, Plaza & Janes editores, 2001
Italian edition:
Il paese sotto la pelle
translated by Margherita D’Amico
Roma, e/o, 2002

El pergamino de la seducción (The Scroll of Seduction) 
Barcelona, Seix Barral, 2005
Italian edition:
La pergamena della seduzione
translated by Margherita D’Amico
Milano, Rizzoli, 2007

El infinito en la palma de la mano (Infinity in the Palm of her Hand: A Novel on Adam and Eve)
Barcelona, Seix Barral, 2008
Italian edition: 
L’infinito nel palmo della mano
translated by Tiziana Gibilisco
Milano, Feltrinelli, 2009

El pais de las mujeres
Barcelona, Booket, 2010
Italian edition:
Nel paese delle donne
translated by Tiziana Gibilisco
Milano, Feltrinelli, 2011

El intenso calor de la luna 
Barcelona, Seix Barral, 2014
italian edition:
L’intenso calore della luna
translated by Tiziana Gibilisco
Milano, Feltrinelli, 2015

Les fiebres de la memoria
Barcelona, Seix Barral, 2018
Italian edition:
Le febbri della memoria
translated by Francesca Pè
Milano, Feltrinelli, 2019

 

POETRY

Sobre la grama (Over the Grass)
Managua, Indesa, 1974

Linea de fuego
Havana, Casa de Las Americas, 1978

Truenos y arco iris
Managua, Nueva Nicaragua, 1982

Amor insurrecto 
Managua, Nueva Nicaragua, 1984

De la costilla de Eva (From Eve's Rib)
Managua, Nueva Nicaragua, 1984
Italian edition:
Della costola di Eva
translated by Edda Cicogna
Milano, Mondo Nuovo, 1990

Dieci anni di Nicaragua nella poesia di Gioconda Belli
by Valeria Manca
translated by Giovanna Barile and Valeria Manca
Roma, Edizioni Associate/Associazione Italia-Nicaragua,1989

Apogeo
Managua, Anamá, 1997

El ojo de la mujer
Managua, Anamá,1997
Italian edition:
L’occhio della donna
translation and afterword by Margherita D’Amico
Roma, e/o, 1998

Mi intima moltitud
Madrid, Visor Libros, 2003

Esto es amor: poesia erótica reunida 1970 – 2005
Managua, Anamá Ediciones Centroamericanas, 2005

Fuego soy, apartado y espada puesta lejos
Managua, Anamá, 2007

Antología personal
Madrid, Visor Libros, 2010

Escándalo de miel
Barcelona, Seix Barral, 2011

En la avanzada juventud. Poemas
Madrid, Visor Libros, 2013

Gioco Giocare Gioconda
translated by Emilio Coco
Rimini, Raffaelli, 2018

 

NARRATIVE FOR CHILDREN

Die Werkstatt der Schmetterlinge/El taller de las mariposas (The Butterfly Workshop)
illustrations by Wolf Erlbruch
Wuppertal, Peter Hammer Verlag, 1994
Italian edition:
La fabbrica delle farfalle
Roma, e/o, 2002

Die Blume Und der Baum
illustrations by Barbara Steinitz
Wuppertal, Peter Hammer Verlag, 2006

Cuando florenció la risa
illustrations by Alicia Baladan
Barcelona, Libros del Zorro Rojo, 2016
Italian edition:
La prima risata
with Alicia Baladan
illustrations by Alicia Baladan
translated by Lisa Topi
Milano, TopiPittori, 2017

Als Die Bäume Davonflogen/El día que los arboles volaron
illustrations by Barbara Steinitz
Wuppertal, Peter Hammer Verlag, 2017

 

The photo of this page and that of the background in Home Page are by Basso Cannarsa.
The framed portrait, lower right on the Home Page, is by Denise Lopez.

Gioconda Belli's Website

Gioconda Belli on Wikipedia

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