The Los Angeles Times journalist interviewed Salvadoran writers living in Los Angeles. But their photographer had to travel to the Tucson Festival of Books to photograph three authors who were panelists at the annual spring literary gathering. Poet Cynthia Guardado, author of Cenizas, was one of the poets interviewed for March 16, 2023, article, and photographed in Tucson. (In L.A. Times photo above from left to right: Alejandro Varela, Cynthia Guardado, Raquel Gutiérrez.)
Journalist Christopher Soto wrote: “For too long, the American literary industry has discussed El Salvador and its people through the gaze of cultural outsiders. But that has started to change, with an explosion of writing by Salvadorans in the United States — especially those with ties to California.” He chronicles the recent history of literary journals that published Central American Writers in exile.
The war in El Salvador is often present in Guardado’s poems. As Soto wrote, “Her verse mixes family and personal histories, bounces between nations and covers the U.S.-funded civil war in El Salvador, which lasted from 1979 through 1992. At its core is an essential question: How should the generation after a war relate to the violence that has preceded us, and where do we go next?”
In the article, Felix Cruz, a publicist for Random House, referred to the “Salvadoran Renaissance in literature” in the United States. However, in El Salvador today, governmental and societal persecution of writers continues.
Kudos to Cynthia Guardado and other Salvadoran writers for this California media spotlight!