Amparo Dávila (February 28, 1928 – April 18, 2020) was a Mexican writer best known for her short stories touching on the fantastic and the uncanny. She won the Xavier Villarrutia Award in 1977 for her short story collection, Árboles petrificados. In 2015 a literary prize in her honor was created in Mexico for the best story within the genre of "the fantastic": the Premio Bellas Artes del Cuento Fantástico Amparo Dávila.
28 February 1928
|Died||18 April 2020 (aged 92)|
|Occupation||novelist, poet, writer (horror, Macabre fiction)|
|Known for||Horror, Macabre fiction novel, poetry|
|Árboles petrificados (Petrified Trees) (1977),Tiempo destrozado (Broken TIme) (1959)|
|Awards||Premio Xavier Villaurrutia (1977), Medalla Bellas Artes (2015)|
Dávila was born in Pinos, a town in Zacatecas, Mexico. She learned to love reading at an early age by spending time in her father's library. Her childhood was marked by fear, a theme that appeared in a number of her future works as an author. Her first published work was Salmos bajo la luna in 1950. This was followed by Meditaciones a la orilla del sueńo and Perfil de soledades. In 1954 she moved to Mexico City where she worked as Alfonso Reyes's secretary. In 1966 she was a part of the Centro Mexicano de Escritores (Mexican Writer's Center) where she received a grant to continue writing. In 2008, Davila was recognized by the Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City.
Davila is known for her use of themes of insanity, danger, and death, typically dealing with a female protagonist. Many of her protagonists appear to have mental disorders and lash out, often violently, against others. Many times the women are still unable to escape from their mental issues and live with the actions they have taken. She also plays with ideas of time by using time as a symbol of that which we cannot change.
Her other works include:
- Salmos bajo la luna (1950)
- Meditaciones a la orilla del sueño (1954)
- Perfil de soledades (1954)
- Tiempo destrozado (1959)
- Música concreta (1964)
- Árboles petrificados (1977)
- Muerte en el bosque (1985)
- The Houseguest and Other Stories (New Directions, 2018) tr. Audrey Harris and Matthew Gleeson
May I not die on a cold Winter day and leave shivering from cold and fear into the unknown that world of shades. Not like that. A faceless being walking endlessly by my side or that awaits around the corner. And that unfathomable mystery that we cannot uncover and that anguishes and disrupts existence. I want to leave in a sunny day of a green Spring full of sprouts and birds and flowers to look for my Garden of Eden, my lost paradise and enjoy the fruit of the vine and the fig tree, the perfume of the blossomed cherry and orange trees, the warmth of the sun that never sets.
- Cultura, Secretaría de. "Obra de Amparo Dávila es referencia indispensable para jóvenes cuentistas". gob.mx (in Spanish). Retrieved 2019-01-04.
- Gleeson, Matthew (2017-02-14). "The Crying Cat". The Paris Review. Retrieved 2018-10-28.
- "Amparo Dávila: una maestra del cuento". www.jornada.com.mx.
- "Dávila, Amparo". www.escritores.org.
- "The Houseguest". 2018-11-27. Retrieved 2018-11-03.
- "Mexican author Amparo Dávila passes away". El Universal (Mexico City). 18 April 2020.
- "The Fern Cat: On Translating Amparo Dávila's 'Moses and Gaspar.'" Audrey Harris, The Paris Review, 21 February 2017.
- "Ghosts Embodied: The Visions of Amparo Davila" Darren Huang, 3:AM Magazine, 6 November 2018.
- ""The Houseguest and Other Stories by Amparo Dávila Amber Wheeler Bacon, Ploughshares at Emerson College, 16 November 2018.
- "Amparo Dávila’s short stories are beautifully wrought nightmares" by Juan Vidal, Los Angeles Times, 30 November 2018.
- “'Who Would Read Me, Lower Your Eyes': Remembering Amparo Dávila" Matthew Gleeson, Los Angeles Review of Books, 26 June 2020.