“What Puig did to transform the way we think of American film, Santos-Febres has managed for Latin music. Sirena is fantastic! Like Cesaria Evora she'll come to haunt you, like Marc Anthony she'll steal your heart. The Grammys will have to invent a new category -- Best Album of the Year in Fiction.”
— Laura Esquivel, author of Like Water for Chocolate and The Law of Love

Mayra Santos-Febres

2009 Guggenheim | 2001 PEN of Puerto Rico Award | 2001 Romulo Gallegos Finalist | 1996 Juan Rulfo Award | 1996 Letras de Oro

PUERTO RICO

Born in Carolina, Puerto Rico, Mayra Santos-Febres is a novelist, poet, essayist, radio and television personality, and a professor in the humanities division of the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras.

While still an undergraduate at the University of Puerto Rico, Ms. Santos-Febres was already an internationally published author, with her stories and articles appearing in such journals and newspapers as Casa de las Américas (Cuba), Página doce (Argentina), Revue Noir(France), and the Latin American Revue of Arts and Literature (New York City). In 1991, the same year she received her Ph.D. from Cornell University, her first two collections of poems were both critically acclaimed: Anamú y maniqua (San Juan, PR: Ed. La iguana dorada) was selected as one of the best books published in Puerto Rico in that year, and the Tríptico Review awarded El orden escapada (San Juan: Ed. Tríptico) its first prize in poetry.

Her short stories were equally well received. For example, her collection Pez de vidrio, published by the North South Center of the University of Miami, won the Premio Letras de Oro; and her short story “Oso Blanco” garnered the Radio Internationale Juan Rulfo Award in 1996.

Sirena Selena vestida de pena (Spain: Grijalbo Mondadori, 2000) was Ms. Santos-Febres first novel. A finalist for the 2001 Rómulo Gallego’s Prize for the Novel, it won the PEN Club of Puerto Rico’s prize for best novel, and was subsequently translated into English and Italian. When Random House Mondadori published her second novel, Cualquier miércoles soy tuya, in 2002, the first edition sold out in a month; a second edition, issued in Spain and the Americas, did nearly as well; an English translation was published by Penguin Books. Her third novel, Nuestra Señora de las noche ((Rayo/HarperCollins, 2008), placed as a finalist for the Premio Primavera Literary Award, and captured Puerto Rico’s 2007 Premio Nacional de Literatura.

Mayra Santos-Febres is also well known as an essayist and book critic, and she reviews books regularly on Univision television. She also hosts the Radio Universidad show En su tinta. In her academic work as teacher and researcher, she specializes in African, Caribbean, and feminist literature. Mayra is a 2009 Guggenheim Fellow.

Prizes and Awards in a nutshell:
1996 Juan Rulfo Award, 1996 Premio Letras de Oro, 2001 Romulo Gallego's Award Best Novel Finalist, 2002 PEN Puerto Rico Club Award Best Novel, 2007 National Award for Literature (Puerto Rico), 2008 Premio Primavera Literary Award, 2009 Guggenheim fellow

 

 

 

 

Selected Books

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Nuestra señora de la noche (Our Lady of the Night)

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Our Lady of the Night

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Cualquier miércoles seré tuya (Any Wednesday I'm Yours)

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Fe en disfraz

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Sirena Selena

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Instrumentos de medicin

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Sirena Selena Vestida De Pena

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Any Wednesday I'm Yours

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Sirena Selena vestida de pena


“Santos-Febres examines questions of sexuality and power . . . blending lyrical hyperbole with social observation . . . in her lush and tragicomic first novel.”
— The New York Times Book Review

“In this titillating debut novel, a follow-up to her well-received short fiction collection, Urban Oracles, Santos-Febres evokes the sometimes dreamy, always seamy world of Caribbean drag queens, hustlers, transsexuals and two remarkable divas.... Flashbacks throughout this lushly lyrical novel reveal decades in the lives of Martha and Sirena, while an array of vibrant narrators animate the plot twists. Deep purple prose strikes just the right campy, melancholy note as Santos-Febres illuminates the essence of these unforgettable, fiery femmes with moving pathos.”
— Publishers Weekly

“What Puig did to transform the way we think of American film, Santos-Febres has managed for Latin music. Sirena is fantastic! Like Cesaria Evora she'll come to haunt you, like Marc Anthony she'll steal your heart. The Grammys will have to invent a new category -- Best Album of the Year in Fiction.”
— Laura Esquivel, author of Like Water for Chocolate and The Law of Love

“This impishly sensual novel is an often hilarious anatomy of gender confusion and reminiscent of the classic silent film The Blue Angel . . . The boy-girl Selena is as sweetly bedazzled as any hero-heroine out of a Shakespearean comedy.”
— Kirkus Review

image of Mayra Santos-Febres

Mayra Santos-Febres