Gioconda Belli

Gioconda Belli (born December 9, 1948 in Managua, Nicaragua) is a Nicaraguan author, novelist and poet.

Gioconda Belli
Belli at Leipzig Book Fair 2016
Belli at Leipzig Book Fair 2016
Born (1948-12-09) December 9, 1948 (age 72)
Managua, Nicaragua
OccupationPoet, author, novelist

Early lifeEdit

Gioconda Belli[1] grew up in a wealthy family in Managua.[2] Her father is Humberto Belli Zapata and her brother is Humberto Belli.[3]

Gioconda Belli attended boarding school in Spain,[2] graduated from the Royal School of Santa Isabel in Madrid, and studied advertising and journalism in Philadelphia.[citation needed] When she returned to Nicaragua, she married[1] and had her first daughter at 19.[4]


Belli began her career at Pepsi-Cola as liaison to the company's advertising agency, Publisa, which then hired her as an account executive.[5]

Through one of her colleagues at the advertising agency, Belli met Camilo Ortega, who introduced her to the Sandinistas and asked her to join the group.[6] In 1970,[4] Belli joined the struggle against the Somoza dictatorship,[7] sworn into the movement by Leana Ortega, Camilo Ortega's wife.[8] Belli's work for the movement led to her being forced into exile in Mexico in 1975.[9] Returning in 1979 just before the Sandinista victory,[10] she became FSLN's international press liaison in 1982 and the director of State Communications in 1984. During that time she met Charles Castaldi, an American NPR journalist, whom she married in 1987.[11] She has been living in both Managua and Los Angeles since 1990. She has since left the FSLN and became a major critic of the Ortega government.


Belli in 1989

In 1970, Belli published her first poems in the literary supplement of Nicaraguan newspaper La Prensa.[12] In 1972, she won the Premio de Poesía Mariano Fiallos Gil award from the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Nicaragua.[13][14]

1988, Belli's book La Mujer Habitada (The Inhabited Woman), a semi-autobiographical novel that raised gender issues for the first time in the Nicaraguan revolutionary narratives, brought her increased attention; this book has been published in several languages and was on the reading list at four universities in the United States. The novel follows two parallel stories: the indigenous resistance to the Spanish and modern insurgency in Central America with various points in common: women's emancipation, passion, and a commitment to liberation. In 2000, she published her autobiography, emphasizing her involvement in the revolutionary movement, El país bajo mi piel, published under the name The Country Under My Skin in the United States; it was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize in 2003.[15] Belli continues publishing and maintains that poetry is her most important work. Belli was the recipient of the Premio Casa de las Américas in 1978.[16] In 2008 Belli received the Premio Biblioteca Breve for her book El infinito en la palma de la mano (Infinity in the Palm of The Hand), an allegory about Adam and Eve in paradise.[17]

Belli's books have been published in numerous languages.

Her 2010 book was submitted with the title "Crónicas de la Izquierda Erótica", but had to be changed to "El País de las Mujeres", since the previous title was too similar to that of a 1973 book by Ana María Rodas: Poemas de la Izquierda Erótica. The book tells the story of a world governed by women. In the novel she portrays a group of women that take power by means of a Political Party named "Partido de la Izquierda Erótica". This is the same name as a movement formed by women during the 80s, to which Belli belonged, which had been named as a tribute to Rodas´ work.

Political activityEdit

Belli opposed the dictatorship of Anastasio Somoza Debayle. From 1970, when she began writing her poems and like many intellectuals of her generation, she joined the ranks of the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN), at that time a clandestine and persecuted organization whose aim was the overthrow of the Somoza regime. She was a clandestine courier, transported weapons, travelled around Europe and Latin America obtaining resources and spreading the word about the Sandinista struggle. She became a member of the FSLN's Political-Diplomatic Commission.[18]

In 2018, Belli took a stand against the government of Daniel Ortega, which emerged from the 2016 elections, and became an active member of the Sandinista renewal movement.[19][20]


  • XXVIII "City of Melilla" International Poetry Award
  • "Mariano Fiallos Gil de Poesía" award, Nicaragua 1972
  • "Casa de las Américas" award, Cuba, Poesía 1978[2]
  • Award of the "Fundación de Libreros, Bibliotecarios" and "Editores Alemanes de la Fundación Friederich Ebhert" in 1989 for La Mujer Habitada, the "best political novel of the year"
  • "Anna Seghers de la Academia de Artes de Alemania" award, 1989
  • "Luchs del Semanario Die Zeit a su libro" award for El Taller de las Mariposas, 1992
  • Medal of recognition of the National Theater of Nicaragua for 25 years of cultural labor
  • "Internacional de Poesía Generación del 27" award, 2002
  • "Pluma de Plata" award, Bilbao, 2005
  • "Biblioteca Breve Award", 2008[17]
  • "Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz Award" for "best novel", International Book Fair in Guadalajara, 2008
  • "Oxfam Novib/PEN Award" 2019, Winternachten festival in the Hague (with Palestinian poet Dareen Tatour)[21]


  • Verse Sobre la grama (1972)
  • Línea de fuego (1978)
  • Truenos y arco iris (1982)
  • Amor insurrecto (1985)
  • De la costilla de Eva (1987)
    • From Eves Rib, translated by Stephen F. White. Northwestern University Press (1995) ISBN 1-880684-13-6
  • La mujer habitada (1988)
  • Poesía reunida (1989)
  • Sofía de los presagios (1990)
  • El ojo de la mujer (1991)
  • Sortilegio contra el frío (1992)
  • El taller de las mariposas (1994)
  • Waslala (1996)
  • El país bajo mi piel (2001)
  • El pergamino de la seducción (2005)
  • El infinito en la palma de la mano (2008)
  • El país de las mujeres (2010)
  • El intenso calor de la luna (2014)


  1. ^ a b Seaman, Donna. "Gioconda Belli's life as a Sandinista rebel". Chicago Tribune. Archived from the original on March 28, 2020. Retrieved November 21, 2007.
  2. ^ a b c Campbell, Duncan (November 12, 2002). "Daughter of the revolution". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Archived from the original on September 10, 2017. Retrieved September 10, 2017.
  3. ^ Smith, Calvin L. (2007). Revolution, Revival, and Religious Conflict in Sandinista Nicaragua. BRILL. p. 15. ISBN 9789047419358. Archived from the original on June 4, 2020. Retrieved March 16, 2019.
  4. ^ a b Halleck, Kenia (Winter 2001). "Gioconda Belli". BOMB Magazine. 74. Archived from the original on September 10, 2017. Retrieved September 10, 2017.
  5. ^ Belli, Giaconda (2003). The Country Under My Skin. New York: Random House. pp. 25. ISBN 0-375-40370-1.
  6. ^ Belli, Giaconda (2003). The Country Under My Skin. New York: Random House. pp. 33. ISBN 0-375-40370-1.
  7. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on May 3, 2007. Retrieved March 14, 2007.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  8. ^ Belli, Giaconda (2003). The Country Under My Skin. New York: Random House. pp. 45. ISBN 0-375-40370-1.
  9. ^ "Revista Envío - Women, Poetry, New Nicaraguan Culture". Archived from the original on September 24, 2015. Retrieved March 14, 2007.
  10. ^ "GIOCONDA BELLI". Archived from the original on March 28, 2020. Retrieved July 18, 2012.
  11. ^ " – Casino Magazin". Archived from the original on February 6, 2007. Retrieved March 14, 2007.
  12. ^ Belli, Gioconda (2003). The Country Under My Skin. New York: Random House. pp. 37-38. ISBN 0-375-40370-1.
  13. ^ "Biografia de Gioconda Belli". Archived from the original on March 11, 2007. Retrieved October 23, 2017.
  14. ^ Belli, Gioconda (2003). The Country Under My Skin. New York: Random House. pp. 42. ISBN 0-375-40370-1.
  15. ^ "REVOLUTION: A User's Manual". The New York Public Library. Archived from the original on June 10, 2008. Retrieved February 13, 2008.
  16. ^ "Comment, opinion and discussion from the Guardian US". the Guardian. Archived from the original on May 5, 2008. Retrieved December 28, 2017.
  17. ^ a b "La escritora nicaragüense Gioconda Belli gana el premio Biblioteca Breve" [The Nicaraguan Writer Gioconda Belli Wins the Premio Biblioteca Breve]. El País (in Spanish). Madrid. February 5, 2008. Archived from the original on September 6, 2018. Retrieved September 5, 2018.
  18. ^ Tiempo, Casa Editorial El (October 16, 2016). "Gioconda Belli: la escritora rebelde que ya no cree en la lucha armada". El Tiempo (in Spanish). Archived from the original on September 4, 2017. Retrieved May 14, 2020.
  19. ^ "Gioconda Belli: "La gente más de izquierda no está con Daniel Ortega"". (in Spanish). June 27, 2018. Archived from the original on May 1, 2019. Retrieved May 14, 2020.
  20. ^ Tiempo, Casa Editorial El (June 23, 2018). "'Daniel sembró vientos y está cosechando tempestades'". El Tiempo (in Spanish). Archived from the original on July 28, 2018. Retrieved May 14, 2020.
  21. ^ [ Archived January 19, 2019, at the Wayback Machine Winternachten festival opens with Oxfam Novib PEN Awards ceremony

External linksEdit