Tag Archive: authors

 presents Sonia Rivera Valdés’ latest book

available in English and Spanish

 Editorial Campana presenta el más reciente libro de Sonia Rivera Valdés

disponible en versiones en español e inglés

The books can be bought through Editorial Campana , Amazon, and Barnes & Noble.

Following the success of her bestselling first book (Casa de las Américas award, 1997), Sonia Rivera Valdés continues the saga in Stories of Little Women and Grown-Up Girls, where characters and narrations intertwine and whirl. The tragic death of Ana, a writer’s sexual adventures in Cuba, and the erotic incidents involving a music professor and her student’s fiancee. Love, death, betrayal and sex…these stories rise and fall on waves of humor and surprise, and drop us deep into lives that maintain their centers and strength, regardless of crumbling worlds around them.

 Historias de mujeres grandes y chiquitas de Sonia Rivera Valdés (Premio Casa de las Américas, 1997) es un libro donde los personajes y las narraciones se suceden incesantemente: la trágica muerte de Ana, los enlaces eróticos de una profesora de música con el novio de una estudiante y las aventuras sexuales de una escritora en Cuba. Con un excelente sentido del humor, con el elemento sorpresa atravesando cada relato y con la oralidad marcando cada texto, las escenas contadas harán que el lector se involucre mientras las escucha.


 Praise For Sonia Rivera Valdés’ Work


 Sonia Rivera Valdés is a transgressor in different spheres and has found a strange internal peace in her writing exercise which incessantly, and sheltered by the parasol of tolerance, is at the service of an infinite number of noble causes. Her minimalist style speaks about extremely crude realities in a clear and inimitable language. This is a captivating, unforgettable book.

–Nancy Morejón, winner of Cuba’s National Prize for Literature, 2001

 Sonia Rivera Valdés has an uncannily intense way of inhabiting the souls of her characters. Their predicaments are usually irresolvable, but then so is life, and it is her allegiance to the texture of life that makes her work so remarkably vivid. These bitterly exuberant, sweetly regretful, very sad and fierce and beautiful stories will haunt you for a long time.

–Paul Russell, author of War Against the Animals

 The mad, the curious, the inexplicable in human behavior-that which is not sanctioned by society-are the pivotal points in Sonia Rivera-Valdés’s narratives. Her characters live fully, without missteps, precisely because the author has turned the tables on propriety.

–Zaida Capote Cruz, Institute of Literature and Linguistics, Havana, Cuba

 Sonia Rivera Valdés presents a prose that is unconstrained, daring, reminiscent of Anaïs Nin.

    –Oh! Magazine

 Vastly entertaining, slyly heretical, and probably the most important book of stories since Joyce’s Dubliners.

–William Monahan, author of Light House

 This work promises to be revelatory.

–Library Journal

The book alternates between tears and an ironic smile…We cry with the prisoner in “Like in Jail” and we laugh satisfied (especially women) with the lesson the cello professor gives her accommodating lover in “The Eighth Fold”.             

–Hoy, newspaper (New York)

 The stories of women that Sonia Rivera Valdés presents keep this writer among the Hispanic talents who place the literary work of Latino writers of this city in the top echelon of originality, talent, and sincerity.

–Siempre (New York)

 With the particular charm of characters that could be any neighbor in El Barrio, and the attractive turbulence of some stories that capture the attention and teach in endearing ways, Sonia Rivera Valdés performs a service to literature, to the elastic gay-lesbian-queer community of the Hispanic world, to groups discriminated against or marginalized by local supremacies, and to all of us who believe in the dignity of the human being and in the value of differences.

–Susana Reisz, Lehman College, Contemporary Latin American Literature

 Rivera Valdés has set out to search for a language, for a kind of writing, that would subvert the model, and along the way has created believable and functional characters, narrators, and narrations. She resorts to irony and parody when needed to enhance meaning, but above she all has avoided the deceptive reflection of the stereotypical and untruthfully Caribbean. She has neither trivialized the narrative voice, that of her characters, nor that of the author herself, and has succeeded in not letting the model die behind the mask of a fictitious construct labelled “caribbeanism”.

 –Alicia Perdomo, literary critic

 Sonia is at war with the traditional and still dominant forms with which feminine subjectivity is represented in a patriarchal culture. Her alliance with emerging forms of the feminine (the nomad, the mestiza…) converts her into the traveling companion of many other creators and thinkers that, through history, literature, the visual arts, philosophy or political activism, are tracing a radically new map of the world of women.

–Marta Sofía López, Universidad de León, Spain

 The stories are constructed by an image that destabilizes all attempts at clear and precise definition; their aesthetic conspires against all processes of institutionalization or naturalization of accepted limits…What characterizes these stories are not their stereotypical nature, but rather their constant crossing of the lines of accepted codes, their insistent questioning of the limits imposed by stereotypes.

–Emilio Bejel, Professor & Chair, Department of Spanish & Classics

University of California

 I sat on the bed to listen to myself with a book as interlocutor. At around page fifty, tears surprised me, and I gave myself over to the accumulated pain…Thank you for Stories of Little Women and Grown-Up Girls.

–Anna Chover, Professor, Valencia University, Spain

 When I finished reading Stories of Little Women and Grown-Up Girls I remembered what Luce Irigaray said about eastern philosophy because these stories are exactly the opposite. Instead of formulating the real, removing it from concrete experience, her writing makes us stronger and wiser, more able to face life itself.

–Margarita Drago, author of Memory Tracks: Fragments From Prison (1975-1980)

 The book is a kind of emotional x-ray of a series of women who, in trying to accommodate as much as possible both their lives and their desires, reflect on the stories that have touched them, the ones they have chosen, lived, and faced without fear and that until now have  been their destiny.

 –Paquita Suárez Coalla, author of So I Won’t Forget






Did you know that google allows you to view a preview of the book? http://books.google.com/ sends you to a page (that uses googles famous search ability) where you can search for just about any book you can think of. If the book is part of the preview program, you can digitally preview the book. Previews come in the following forms: Full View (if the book is out of copyright), Limited Preview as in the case of Editorial Campana’s books, or Snippet View. The preview is limited to about 20-25 % percent of the book and google informs the viewer that all the content viewed is copyrighted. An article on Cnet noted that:

Click on the preview below to see how this program works.

So what does this mean for publishers and authors? A reader can now read parts from a book to decide whether they are interested in buying the whole book. This means that a book can get more exposure, which is often the hardest part about the publishing industry. At the same time, reading some of the book allows readers to make a better decision as to whether to buy the book or not. On the flip side however, by giving that much of the book away, many may decide that they have read enough of the book and there is no need to read the rest of the book or the pages that have been omitted from the preview.


In the end, does it just come down to the publisher’s/author’s choice? Click Here to read what other people have said about this digital preview program.


Thursday April 24th, La Casa Azul Bookstore will be celebrating the launch of their online bookstore. 

“Inspired by Frida Kahlo’s house, La Casa Azul Bookstore is a place of knowledge, art, creativity and culture. Our mission is to provide the community with contemporary bilingual literature, featuring works by Latino authors.”

This looks a great place for writers/publishers of bilingual books. Check out their myspace page. While your at myspace also check out their latino section as well as Editorial Campana.


Margarita Drago provides her testimony of being imprisoned during the military dictatorship of Argentina in the 1970’s through a series of talks in Puerto Rico

New York, N.Y., April 21, 2008–Margarita Drago was arrested at her house in Rosario during the military dictatorship that ravaged Argentina from the middle of the seventies until 1983. She was accused of political crimes and was imprisoned for 5 years, with no right to a legal defense. In Drago’s first memoir since she got out almost thirty years ago, she recounts being terrorized, witness and victim of multiple interrogations, tortures and rapes. The book, titled Memory Tracks: Fragments From Prison (1975-1980) (Editorial Campana, September 2007) was published simultaneously with it’s original Spanish version Fragmentos de la memoria: Recuerdos de una experiencia carcelaria (1975-1980). “When I got out of jail in September, 1980, one idea drove me: to denounce the crimes and violations of the military dictatorship, and to provide testimony to the resistance of the Argentine political prisoners in the cells of the regime,” Drago said in an interview in May, 2007.

Despite their horrific situation, Drago and her fellow prisoners focused on compassion, hope, encouragement, and further resistance. They told stories and recited poetry. They collected bread crusts and sugar from their rations to make special desserts. They even began a subversive newspaper, printed on cigarette wrappers and smuggled to the outside. “Amidst the precariousness, we led an organized life of clandestine work and study. We did it all because we were convinced that jail wasn’t a parenthesis in our lives, but rather a space of resistance to the dictatorship,” she stated. Drago’s opposition landed her in solitary confinement then, and it still persists in her now. She remains a marginal writer because she refuses censorship.

Just last month, Margarita Drago participated in a series of talks about her book from March 3-8, 2008 in Puerto Rico, organized by El Comité Pro Derechos Humanos de Puerto Rico (The Puerto Rican Committee for Human Rights) and La Comisión de la Mujer del Colegio de Abogados (The Women’s Commission of the School of Lawyers). The series of events that took place were, in part, to commemorate El Día Internacional de la Mujer Trabajadora (International Working Woman’s Day). Drago not only sets one of the strongest examples of a woman’s courage and strength, she also wishes to “emphasize the role of women as political leaders, and exalt the determined way in which they offered themselves to the revolutionary cause.” And she believes “in terms of gender, these stories greatly contribute to the affirmation of women’s outstanding role during one of the darkest periods of Argentine history.”

Read the full interview here: http://www.editorialcampana.com/HTMLeng/interviews/MargaritaD_1.html

So I Won’t Forget

So I Won’t Forget Cover

By Paquita Suárez Coalla

Interpreted by Inma Heredia

Monday March 24th at 7PM

Teatro IATI Studios
59-61 east 4th St, #4E
New York, NY 10003
T. 212-505-6757

About the book:
So I Won’t Forget is a collection of eighteen stories interspersed with a series of vignettes that portray a whole century of Spanish history as it is redefined through the emotional prism of three generations of women: those born in the early 20th Century who had to confront the reality of war, hunger and material misery; those who had to adapt to Franco’s dictatorship at the cost of seeing their emotional space affected; and those born in the last years of Franco, or in the dawn of democracy, who took the lead their mothers and grandmothers offered them, and dared to question, for the first time, part of the values they had handed down to them.
The narratives are arranged according to the rhythm of memory, and without paying too much attention to the historical moment in which each of them takes place, except for anecdotes inserted among the stories—where the same voice of a woman born in the early 20th Century serenely narrates what her life was like having been marked by hunger and want. Although you can read each story independently, as a whole they end up creating a chorale narrative, giving shape to the collective memory of a century.

About the Writer:
PAQUITA SUÁREZ COALLA is a Spanish writer and professor at BMCC (City University of New York). She is also co-founder of Latino Artists Round Table, a cultural group that organizes readings and conferences of Hispanic writers from all the different regions of Latin America, the United States, and Spain.

There are no set in stone rules that all publishing companies follow when it comes to receiving manuscripts. I have read a lot of different “rules” and “tips” on manuscript submission, so think of these more as guidelines to follow when you are preparing to send your manuscript.

  • Do your research. Get to know the publishers that you wish to send your manuscript to. Beware of niche publishers. If you are sending it to small, independent houses, read their mission statements, and be sure that your book fits into it. It may sound obvious, but don’t send your romance novel to a company that only publishes historical non-fiction (okay, that was excessive but you get the idea).
  • Learn everything that you can about your subject. Read books in the same and similar subjects and get a feel for how other authors handle it. See if you can do better. Get ideas, but be creative. Remember, a publisher is not going to want to publish a book that’s already out there.
  • Along the same lines, get to know your target market. If your book is going to be a bestseller, you are going to have to sell it to someone (and anyone is different from someone). If your book doesn’t have a target market, give it one. A publisher is also not going to want a book that is hard to market.
  • Have your manuscript proofread. If you can’t afford a professional proofreader, get at least one other person to look at it and identify spelling and grammar mistakes. This is so important, if this was a numbered list, this tip would be number one. Get other authors to look it over for content as well, especially continuity. Making sure your writing is in top shape is the best way to prove that you are a professional.
  • Find out what format the publisher would prefer to receive your submission in. Follow their guidelines for submission. Some publishers prefer digital copies, others prefer hardcopies. This is important to make sure your manuscript doesn’t wind up in the trash (or the “Recycle Bin”).
  • Send a professional cover letter, along with the synopsis and several sample chapters. It is not always a necessity to have finished the book before you send out your sample for submission, but it is a good idea.
  • Don’t be afraid to self promote! If you can’t sell your book to a publisher, you won’t be able to sell it to audiences. This is a key tip-off to the publisher. Here’s why:
  • The author is the publisher’s best marketing tool. You have to be willing to help market your book, so do not even try to get published unless you are willing to do so.
  • Be prepared to wait. It may take 4-6 weeks for a response (or more, or less, depending on the publisher and their current volume of submissions), so be patient. If you haven’t heard back in a reasonable amount of time, follow-up.
  • And I will end this list on the one universal rule, yes rule, not a guideline, in getting published. Don’t be discouraged. Probability says you will receive more no’s than yes’s, and just because this happens doesn’t mean your subject or your writing is bad–just not what the publisher is looking for at the time.

Alicia Castaneda, Managing Editor

Annette Perez seems to be getting a lot of press lately, so I decided to post an interview with her from Editorial Campana’s website, about her bilingual children’s book My Brain Won’t Float Away/Mi cerebro no va a salir flotando. You can read the interview in it’s original context here or read it in Spanish here.

*In January, Annette’s book was chosen by the first lady of Puerto Rico to be given away as a gift to children at the Fiesta de Reyes, a celebration of Three King’s Day. Full article.

*Annette recently appeared on Despierta America, the largest morning news show in the nation for Spanish-speaking audiences. See the piece on YouTube or see it in one of my earlier posts.

*I just found out My Brain Won’t Float Away is currently in the #22 spot on Amazon.com for best-selling children’s books on disabilities. (And My Brain Won’t Float Away is the ONLY bilingual one on the list.)

*This weekend Annette will be appearing in television news again on Primer Impacto (First Impact).

This is one of my favorite interviews with an author.

Annette MBW cover

1. What inspired you to write My Brain Won’t Float Away?
I don’t think anything specific inspired me. When I started to write the book I was just looking for something to do with writing. I remember thinking of one or two sentences and writing them down, not expecting to do anything specific with what I had written. I have friends like Jacqueline Herranz-Brooks and Sonia Rivera-Valdés who encouraged me to write about my life. The idea of a children’s book began to take shape later.

2. Is it based on a true story? If so, tell us about it.
The story was based on a true story, but we played with many elements to make it fun. The character and story revolve around my own experience as a child growing up with hydrocephalus. I was almost a teenager when I was taught how to tie my shoelaces with one hand. In the book, we made that happened when I was eight. Until then, I had always relied on other people to tie my shoelaces for me.

3. Tell us about growing up with hydrocephalus, and the role that your parents, your school, and doctors/physical therapists played in helping you adjust and live with it.
Growing up with hydrocephalus was not easy. Outside of attending school, I was constantly going to visit doctors at different hospitals. At that time, I remember we visited doctors to find out what caused my disability. It wasn’t until later in my childhood that my mother looked into other facilities that could help me become more independent. The reason I received occupational and physical therapy at a local hospital (clinic) was because at that time (early 80’s) these services were not provided by schools.

My parents raised me in a very loving and nurturing environment. They raised me to be a very independent individual. According to my parents, my disability was not so severe. They knew I was capable of doing things independently, and that I would succeed in life.

4. What was then and what is now the biggest difficulty or difficulties of living with hydrocephalus?
I would have to say that, as a child, the biggest difficulty was having other children—and adults, as well—staring at me as if my condition were contagious or something. It was also hard for me to accept having to exercise to strengthen my weak hand. As an independent person, it has always been very difficult for me to do things that others tell me to do, especially when I am told to do something I do not like or want to do.

5. You are a college graduate and are studying to receive a Master’s degree. Is it hard for you to achieve these goals?
No, not really. I believe that the reason I graduated from college and am working towards obtaining a Master’s Degree has to do with my emotional growth. As I grew older, I realized how important it is to have an education. Having a disability was not going to stop me from furthering my education, or from doing anything else.

6. You seem to be an achiever. What motivates you?
As a “disabled” person, I have a need to accomplish as much as I can throughout my life. I guess you can say it’s the disability itself that gives me the motivation to achieve and succeed in any goals I may have.

7. Tell us a little about your parents.
My parents are both of Puerto Rican origin. They lived in New York City ever since they got married in the 1960’s. Out of the four children they had, I was the only one who was diagnosed with a disability. However, my parents raised me the same way that they did my siblings. Although my parents knew about the difficulties they had to face in certain situations, they never once doubted my capabilities. If anything, they refused to allow my so-called disability stop me from living like an independent individual. My parents were not going to allow my minor physical deformity stop me from living like any other “normal” child.

8. Why did you write the book?
As I would go to different bookstores and look through the children’s section for books on children with special needs, I noticed two things. One was that the section for books on children with special needs was very small. There would be at the most just one shelf of books. My second reason for writing the book is that I also noticed that out of the small selection of books about special needs, there were no books written about hydrocephalus.

9. What do you wish to achieve with My Brain Won’t Float Away?
With this book, I hope to raise some awareness in people, both adults and children. I want people to understand that just because some of us are different in certain ways it does not mean that as disabled people we don’t have feelings. Furthermore, by writing this book, I want to hopefully give some hope and awareness to those individuals who are living and dealing with a similar situation. One can accomplish many things even if having a disability is a part of your life. I hope this book shows people that a disability should not control their life. The individual controls his or her own life!

10. Can you explain to us where the title came from, and what it means?
The title came from the question that Annie (the main character in the book) asks her mother in the story “Is my brain going to float away?” It is based on the “common” definition of hydrocephalus, and is one of the contributions that Mario, my editor, made to the book. I told him the story about the time I actually asked my mother that same question, and he thought that it would make a great title for the book. You have to read the story to understand the meaning.

11. Why is it bilingual?
Campanita Books is committed to publishing books in English and Spanish, so as to make the book accessible to as many people as possible. I wrote the text in English, and Jacqueline Herranz-Brooks, translated it. I am bilingual, so wanting to do the book in English and Spanish made sense, and I am very happy that kids in Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, and the rest of Latin America will be able to read it, as well as children who read English.

12. How did you work with your editor?
My editor and I were in constant contact via e-mail. I can honestly say I stopped counting the e-mails, there were so many. We also spoke on the phone and got together in person whenever possible. He was instrumental in giving the book the shape it has, he found the core to my story and made it revolve around the one-handed shoe tying incident. He picked up little things in my conversations with him and would add them to the story, like the chocolate ice cream, the hand shaking with my therapists, and other little details. He helped me turn my idea into a book, and made many contributions to the final manuscript. We get along quite well, except that I am sure I drove him crazy with my questions and my wanting to know when the book was coming out. I had no idea how much work was involved in writing, editing, illustrating, and publishing a book.

13. How did you work with illustrator Yolanda Fundora?
I worked with Yolanda mostly through Mario, my editor. However, Yolanda and I would get together and speak via email, time permitting. She used actual photographs of me as a child, and also did some sketches of me for the illustrations. I also gave her a picture of my mother for the book. She worked with Mario and they would send me samples once in a while, but from the time I saw the first sketches I had no doubt that the book was going to be beautiful and that she was capturing the spirit of my text. I did not see the completed book until Yolanda was basically finished with the illustrations. I was happily surprised to see myself as a “character.”

14. Do you have plans for more books?
Eventually I would like to publish another book. However, for now I am extremely happy to have completed this one.

Tonight at Columbia University Bookstore in New York, NY…

Join us for Children’s Story Hour with Annette Perez reading from her bilingual children’s book My Brain Won’t Float Away/Mi cerebro no va a salir flotando, an autobiographical story about her experiences growing up with hydrocephalus.

WHAT: Children Story Hour @ Columbia University With Annette Perez
WHEN: TONIGHT! Tuesday, February 5th 6:00 PM
WHERE: Columbia University Bookstore
ADDRESS: 2922 Broadway, Alfred Lerner Hall Ground Level, New York, NY 10027/ Tel: 212-854-4131
PRICE: Free and Open to the Public

Also, check out this video of a piece about Annette on Despierta America (in Spanish). She really has an incredible story. You can read more about her and her book here.


Welcome to Editorial Campana‘s blog!

If you’re reading this, chances are you already know who we are. But in case you don’t, here it is. We are a publishing company based in New York, publishing literature in English and Spanish by Latinas and Latinos who dare to challenge the literary canon, conventional social thinking, and who believe in culture as patrimony for everyone. The majority of our books are published in simultaneous English and Spanish versions or bilingual editions. We also have a children’s division, Campanita books. But we’re not just books. Last year we also released a 2008 wall calendar featuring the work of Colombia’s most famous photographer, Nereo Lopez Meza.

Our goal is to keep you posted on all the latest news–upcoming releases, events like readings and book fairs, reviews, tips and advice, interviews, and more. We welcome all comments, suggestions, questions–tell us what you like to read about, what you’re interested in, or whatever else you feel like telling us.

So what else can you expect to find here in the future? Watch for an upcoming series of entries where you can read the “story behind the story” of each book. You’ll gain special insight into each, like the real people who characters are based on in Sonia Rivera Valdes’ Stories of Little Women and Grown-Up Girls.

Also, keep checking back for interviews with the authors, “special guest” bloggers, product and website reviews, links to videos of the authors on YouTube and more.

5 Things You Probably Don’t Know About Editorial Campana

1. Time Flies – Editorial Campana published it’s first two books in the fall of 2003. After a not-so-brief hiatus, we took 2007 by storm with seven new books and a calendar!

2. The Three Kings Have Read This Book, Have You? – Earlier this month, the children’s book My Brain Won’t Float Away/Mi cerebro no va a salir flotando (Campanita Books, 2007), by Annette Perez, was chosen by the first lady of Puerto Rico, Luisa Gandara, to give away as a gift for the Fiesta de Reyes, a traditional Three Kings Day celebration in San Juan.

3. Our Books Are Bilingual, Our Website is Too – You can read any page of our website, www.editorialcampana.com, in English and Spanish. Choose your language preference when you arrive. At anytime, you can opt to switch by clicking “English” or “Español” on the navigation bar.

4. We’ve Gone Global (Sort of) – Although Editorial Campana is based in New York, we work with people (proofreaders, illustrators, translators, etc.) from all over the U.S. and abroad (not to mention our authors are from all over the world). Thank you, glorious internet.

5. Everyone Has a Story to Tell– We’ve all heard that phrase before. Where do you get your inspiration from? Our authors have written about themselves, their friends and family members, those that they grew up with, and the pets that steal their food off the kitchen table.

(P.S. A little bonus fact for you English-only speakers: “campana” means “bell” in Spanish, and “campanita” means “little bell.”)

Want to learn a lot more right now? Visit our website at www.editorialcampana.com.