We are extremely fortunate to have Carmen Rodríguez in Sheffield next October. Carmen is  a Chilean novelist, an acclaimed poet and short story writer who arrived in Canada as a refugee from Chile after the 1973 coup that ousted President Salvador Allende.

 Carmen will be talking about her novel Retribution (awarded Second Place in the Best Popular Novel Category at the 2012 International Latino Book Awards in NYC) and will discuss her views about writing and society.

 Her novel  Retribution takes place in Chile over the course of three generations in Valdivia, Santiago, and finally in Vancouver, Canada, in exile. The writing of the novel began in Spanish and was intended to be a trilogy, but as Carmen rewrote it in English and continued to sculpt the stories of the Martinez family, their narratives coalesced into a single work that covers over seventy years. It’s no surprise then that Retribution took ten years to create. And yet fortuitously the novel was released at a moment when its depiction of the student movements of the 1960s closely resembled the ones that are happening today, and which continue to bring out hundreds of thousands of Chileans onto the street to combat the increasing privatisation of public services and the concentration of wealth in the country.

“Retribution is a love-laden novel that cuts through the pain of a country; an intimate voice with the ability to make words visible and credible; a sensitive and skilful narrator who knows how to tell a Chilean story and turn it into one which will also captivate international readers.”  Antonio Skármeta, author of Burning Patience (The Postman) and The Dancer and the Thief


Date: Tuesday 22nd October 2013

 Time: 18:30 – 20:15

 Venue: TBA

 Organise:  The Institute for Lifelong Learning (TILL ), Sheffield University & the Chilean Community Association (ChileScda)


Carmen’s vision

“I had come to understand the connection between language and activism many years before both, through my literacy work and through my readings. From Paulo Freire and the Popular Education movement I had learned that language is not a neutral tool for communication, but a loaded weapon”.

“From Eduardo Galeano, Pablo Neruda, Gabriela Mistral, Alfonsina Storni, Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, Luisa Valenzuela, Gabriel García Márquez and many others, I had learned that literature can be an optimum vehicle to depict and denounce the realities of an unjust world and name our visions of a different, more equitable one”.

“So, for me, writing and activism go hand in hand. To write is to protest. To write is to remember. To write is to bear witness. To write is to denounce. To write is to provoke and to propose. To write is to use the tool, the weapon called language in pursuit of justice; so that horror can turn into beauty, shame into dignity, and deceit into truth”.