Mayra Santos-Febres

Mayra Santos-Febres (born 1966 in Carolina) is a Puerto Rican author, poet, novelist, professor of literature, essayist, and literary critic and author of children's books.[1] Her work focuses on themes of diaspora identity, female sexuality, the erotic, gender fluidity, desire, and power.[2][3] She is a community activist who helps to bring books to young readers and the less fortunate.[4] Her writings have been translated into French, English, German, and Italian.[5][1]

Mayra Santos-Febres
Born1966 (age 55–56)
Carolina, Puerto Rico
Notable worksPez de Vidrio (translated to English as Urban Oracles), Sirena Selena vestida de pena
Notable awardsGuggenheim Fellowship, long-listed for IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, Juan Rulfo Award, Letras de Oro

Early lifeEdit

Santos-Febres was born in 1966 to parents who were both schoolteachers. She began writing at the age of five because her asthma did not permit her to "climb trees or ride bikes like the kids in the neighborhood."[6] She states that her disability, combined with her educator parents' knack for keeping books in the house, catapulted her into the beginnings of her writing career. At the age of fifteen, after writing for ten years, she was encouraged to take her writing seriously by Ivonna Sanavitis, the only female teacher who was not a nun at her Catholic school Colegio Lourdes, Puerto Rico.[6]

Education and academic workEdit

Santos-Febres completed her undergraduate work at the University of Puerto Rico in 1991 and currently holds an M.A. and Ph.D. from Cornell University. She has been a visiting professor at Harvard university and Cornell University.[7][8]

Career and literary workEdit

While still an undergraduate at the University of Puerto Rico, Santos-Febres had her work published in magazines and journal reviews such as Casa de las Américas in Cuba, Página doce in Argentina, Revue Noire in France and Review: Latin American Literature and Arts, in New York.[5][1] Santos-Febres acknowledged in El País the Puerto Rican narrators who influenced her career: “I come from a long tradition of women writers, Rosario Ferré, Giannina Braschi, Ana Lydia Vega. Mayra Santos-Febres got a bachelor's degree in Hispanic Studies, from the University of Puerto Rico which she graduated with high honors in 1987.”[9]

In 1991, Santos-Febres published her first two collections of poetry, Anamu y manigua and El orden escapado, to critical acclaim.[10] In 1994, Santos-Febres won the Letras de Oro literary prize for her collection of short stories Pez de Vidrio.[11] "Oso Blanco," a short story from this collection, also won the Juan Rulfo Prize in 1996.[12][13] Pez de Vidrio (Urban Oracles) contains 15 short stories about the complicated relationships between sexual desire, race, identity, social status, and political status in modern Caribbean society.

Santos-Febres' first novel was Sirena Selena vestida de pena (Spain: Grijalbo Mondadori, 2000) about a teenaged drag queen who works in the streets and sings boleros.[2][14] 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. Random House Mondadori published her second novel, Cualquier miércoles soy tuya, in 2002. Cualquier Miercoles Soy Tuya (Any Wednesday I'm yours) was also translated in English and was published by Penguin Books in 2002. Her most recent novel is La amanita de Gardel, which she completed during her Guggenheim Fellowship term.Her third novel, Nuestra Señora de las noche (Rayo/HarperCollins, 2008), was a finalist for the Premio Primavera Literary Award and won Puerto Rico’s 2007 Premio Nacional de Literatura. Her other novels include Nuestra Señora de la Noche (Our Lady of the Night)[15] and La amante de Gardel (2015).[16]

Santos-Febres teaches at the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras Campus, where she specializes in African, Caribbean, and feminist literature. She also is the Executive Director of Festival de la Palabra in Puerto Rico.[7][8][17] She also reviews books on Univision television and hosts the Radio Universidad show En su tinta (sources?).

Awards and honoursEdit

  • Award for poetry from Revista Tríptico in Puerto Rico 1991
  • Award Letras de Oro 1994
  • Award Juan Rulfo de cuentos 1996
  • Award Rómulo Gallegos 2001
  • Guggenheim Fellowship 2009
  • long-listed for the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award


  • Anamu y manigua (1990)
  • El orden escapado (1991)
  • Pez de vidrio (1994) (Winner of the Juan Rulfo Award)
  • El cuerpo correcto (1996)
  • Urban Oracles (1997) (English translation of Pez de vidrio)
  • Sirena Selena vestida de pena (2000) (translated as Sirena Selena, 2000)
  • Tercer mundo (2000)
  • Cualquier miércoles soy tuya (2002) (translated as Any Wednesday, I'm Yours, 2005)
  • Sobre piel y papel (2005)
  • Boat People (2005)
  • Ernesto , El domador de los suenos (2008)
  • Nuestra Señora de la Noche (2006) (translated as Our Lady of the Night, 2009)
  • Fe en disfraz (2009)
  • Tratado de Medicina Natural para Hombres Melancólicos (2011)
  • El baile de la vida (2012)
  • La amante de Gardel (2015)

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c "Santos-Febres, Mayra". (in European Spanish). Retrieved December 13, 2017.
  2. ^ a b Haesendonck, Kristian van (2008). Encanto o espanto?: identidad y nación en la novela puertorriqueña actual. Madrid: Iberoamericana. ISBN 978-84-8489-330-1. OCLC 232616762.
  3. ^ "Gale - Product Login".
  4. ^ Celis Salgado, Nadia; Febres, Mayra Santos (January 1, 2008). ""Mayra Santos-Febres: El lenguaje de los cuerpos". A Body of One's Own: Conversations with Caribbean Women Writers". Hispanic Studies Faculty Publications.
  5. ^ a b "John Simon Guggenheim Foundation | Mayra Santos-Febres". Retrieved December 26, 2019.
  6. ^ a b "Entrevista con Mayra Santos Febres". Retrieved October 4, 2019.
  7. ^ a b "Mayra Santos Febres, biografía". May 2012. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  8. ^ a b "How Puerto Ricans Do So Much, When We're So Few". La Respuesta. October 23, 2014. Retrieved December 13, 2017.
  9. ^ Esguerra, Cristina (March 27, 2012). "Narrativa caribeña a ritmo femenino". El País (in Spanish). ISSN 1134-6582. Retrieved August 18, 2020.
  10. ^ "Mayra Santos-Febres." John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, 2012. Web. April 6, 2015. .
  11. ^ Agency, Vilar Creative. "Mayra Santos-Febres". Vilar Creative Agency. Archived from the original on April 17, 2016. Retrieved April 7, 2016.
  12. ^ Molero, Jose Antonio. "Fernando Schwartz Gana La X Edición Del Premio Primavera De Novela." Gibralfaro. University of Malaga, March 8, 2006. Web. February 27, 2012.
  13. ^ "Mayra Santos-Febres." Vilar Creative Agency (Author Profile). Web. April 6, 2015.
  14. ^ Waldron, John. ""Killing Colonialism's Ghosts in McOndo: Mayra Santos Febres and Giannina Braschi."". CIEHL: Cuaderno Internacional de Estudios Humanisticos y Literatura. 14: 110–120.
  15. ^ Santos-Febres, Mayra. Our Lady of the Night. Trans. from the Spanish by Ernesto Mestre-Reed. New York: Harper Perennial, 2009. ISBN 978-0-06-173130-3
  16. ^ "La amante de Gardel by Mayra Santos-Febres". Latin American Literature Today. January 10, 2017. Retrieved August 18, 2020.
  17. ^ "Mayra Santos-Febres: "El Festival de la Palabra va"". El Nuevo Dia (in Spanish). August 31, 2017. Retrieved December 8, 2017.

External linksEdit