The invincible summer of Liliana: The writer Cristina Rivera Garza wins the Xavier Villaurrutia Award for a book about her sister’s femicide | The USA Print


Mexican writer Cristina Rivera Garza, during an interview in 2015.
Mexican writer Cristina Rivera Garza, during an interview in 2015.Alex Cruz (EFE)

The writer Cristina Rivera Garza says that literature is a collective practice. Liliana’s invincible summer, the book he wrote about his sister’s femicide, is therefore of “shared authorship”. “I was able to write Liliana’s invincible summer thanks to the meticulous archive that my sister was building during her brief time on earth. Her letters, notes, messages, diaries and doodles were the sustenance of this book that is as much mine as hers”, she expressed after winning the Xavier Villaurrutia Award, an award granted by the National Institute of Fine Arts and Literature of Mexico (Inbal ). Liliana dedicated the recognition: “She would have liked to share it with all the women who have been cruelly taken from us in Mexico and in the world.”

The work has been recognized because it narrates “with sobriety and various literary and testimonial resources the heartbreaking family experience of an unresolved femicide,” according to the minutes released by Inbal this Wednesday after knowing the winner. The award has been given since 1955 to writers such as Juan Rulfo, Elena Garro or Juan Villoro. The jury that awarded the award to Rivera Garza has highlighted that the author “reconstructs the atmospheres of the end of the last century and warns of the signs of ominous violence against women” that still exists: in Mexico 11 women are murdered every day.

The femicide of Liliana Rivera Garza, who was 20 years old in 1990, occurred three decades ago in Azcapotzalco, a popular neighborhood in Mexico City. It took all that time for the author to be encouraged to review the pile of notes, diaries, letters and notes that her sister had written and that she had kept in boxes after the crime. Among her papers, she found her sister’s illusions for the university career that she has just started and also the shadows of the abuse that she suffered from her ex-boyfriend. With the testimonies of friends and family, she finished putting the puzzle together, and the result was the book published in 2021. “Our voices intermingled. Our experiences together”, she said after receiving the award.

Rivera Garza had said in an interview with EL PAÍS in May that until then all the attempts he had made to narrate his sister’s femicide had been in the field of fiction, where he found limitations. He “he wanted Liliana’s voice to be in the book, and that in addition to the story of the femicide [la obra] It was a celebration of his life, of that unparalleled energy. There were many things that I found out that I did not know, ”he told this newspaper. All the books she had published up to that point, she said, had prepared her to write Liliana’s invincible summer.

The narrator has written stories, essays, novels and poetry. She is the author of more than a dozen books such as No one will see me cry (1999), death gives me (2007) or cotton autobiography (2020). For her work, she has been recognized with the José Rubén Romero Fine Arts Novel Award, the Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz Award, and the José Emilio Pacheco Excellence in Letters Award, among others. She is also a professor and founder of the doctorate in Creative Writing in Spanish at the University of Houston, in the United States.

when he posted Liliana’s invincible summerIn May 2021, Rivera Garza also made an email available to receive possible information on the whereabouts of Ángel González Ramos, her sister’s ex-boyfriend and alleged murderer of the young student, who had fled in 1990. “Since then, like so many femicides in Mexico and in the world, she had eluded the reach of justice,” Rivera Garza explained. in a message posted on Twitter in March. In the video, the novelist went on to say: “In August 2021, a brief message arrived in the mail accompanied by a link with information about the funeral of Mitchell Angelo Giovanni, assuring me that this was the name that Ángel González Ramos had used since he fled ” . The man had allegedly drowned in California. That information is still being investigated and the writer believes that, even if the alleged killer is dead, “there are still many things that remain to be done.”

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