Diamela Eltit

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Diamela Eltit
Diamela Eltit, 2018
Diamela Eltit, 2018
BornDiamela Eltit González
(1947-08-24)August 24, 1947
Santiago, Chile
Alma materUniversidad Católica de Chile, University of Chile
GenreNovella, essay
Notable awardsGuggenheim Fellowship, 1985
National Prize for Literature (Chile), 2018
SpouseJorge Arrate

Diamela Eltit (born 1947, Santiago de Chile) is a Chilean writer and university professor. She is a recipient of the National Prize for Literature.


Between 1966 and 1976, she graduated in Spanish studies at the Universidad Católica de Chile and followed graduate studies in Literature at the Universidad de Chile in Santiago. In 1977, she began a career as Spanish and literature teacher at high school level in several public schools in Santiago, such as the Instituto Nacional and the Liceo Carmela Carvajal. In 1984, she started teaching at universities in Chile, where she is currently professor at the Universidad Tecnológica Metropolitana and abroad.

During the last thirty years, Eltit has lectured and participated in conferences, seminars and literature events throughout the world, in Europe, Africa, North and Latin America. She has been several times visiting professor at the University of California at Berkeley, and also at Johns Hopkins University, Stanford University, Washington University in Saint Louis, University of Pittsburgh, University of Virginia and, since 2007, New York University, where she holds a teaching appointment as Distinguished Global Visiting Professor and teaches at the Creative Writing Program in Spanish.[1] In the academic year 2014-2015 Eltit was invited by Cambridge University, U.K., to the Simon Bolivar Chair at the Center of Latin American Studies. Since 2014 Diamela Eltit´s personal and literary archives are deposited at the University of Princeton. Through her career several hundreds of Latin American young writers have participated as students at her highly appreciated literature workshops.

In 1973, after the military coup, Eltit decided to stay in Chile.[2] During this period she started publishing her first manuscripts. When democracy returned in 1990 she was cultural attaché at the Chilean Embassy in Mexico until 1994. During several periods she has been representative of the Council of Chilean Universities to the Book National Council, where policies with regard to book publishing and reading practices are defined and promoted. She has written for many journals and newspaper. Most recently she collaborated for several year in The Clinic and now she writes opinions por El Desconcierto, both in Santiago.

In 1979, Eltit created together with the poet Raúl Zurita, the visual artists Lotty Rosenfeld and Juan Castillo and the sociologist Fernando Balcells the Colectivo de Acciones de Arte (CADA), a vanguard group part of the so-called Escena de Avanzada. CADA struggled for reformulating artistic circuits under the Pinochet dictatorship.

In 1980, Eltit published her first book, Una milla de cruces sobre el pavimento, a volume of essays. Her first novel, Lumpérica, appeared in 1983[1] in Ediciones del Ornitorrinco, a small editorial house from Santiago. The text dedicated to Eltit in the internet cultural portal Memoria Chilena, explains that 1980 decade was specially complicated for the Chilean intellectuals that had to elaborate strategies to publish and circulate their work in a cultural environment where censorship existed. In this context, women publications were a significant contribution because they generated renewed spaces of thinking on political issues and subjects as sexuality, authoritarianism, domestic life and gender identity. Eltit was part of this new generation and not only articulated an original literary project —a theoretical, esthetic, social and political proposal with a new reading space as perspective—, but also developed a visual work as a member of CADA".

Since then, Diamela Eltit has continued publishing novels and essays until today. Several of her novels have been presented on the stage by different theater groups in several countries. Also several have been published in Chile, Argentina, Mexico, Spain, and in other languages as English, French, Finnish, Greek, Italian and, in the near future, Portuguese. In 2012 the Spanish editorial house Periférica reached an agreement with Diamela Eltit to republish all her novels.[3]

Three of Eltit novels were chosen as part of the list selected in 2007 by 81 Latin American and Spanish writers and critics for the Colombian journal Semana of the 100 best novels in Spanish language in the last 25 years: Lumpérica (Nº58), El cuarto mundo (Nº67) y Los vigilantes (Nº100). In 2016 the journal Babelia, in Spain, selected one of Eltit´s novels as one of the best 25 of century XXI. Eltit has been mentioned for the Premio Nacional de Literatura de Chile, but she has rejected self-promotion and the system of candidates presentation.

Eltit's work has been the object of many studies, in Spanish and other languages. Casa de las Américas, in La Habana, dedicated to Eltit her Semana de Autor in 2002, and in 2006, the Universidad Católica de Chile organized the Coloquio Internacional de Escritores y Críticos: Homenaje a Diamela Eltit, which resulted in the book Diamela Eltit: redes locales, redes globales (Iberoamericana, 2009)

Eltit has two daughters and a son. She is married to Jorge Arrate, lawyer and economist, former President of the Socialist Party, that in 2009 was presidential candidate representing a coalition between the Communist Party and socialist, humanist and Christian left groups.

Prizes and fellowships[edit]


  • Lumpérica, novela (Las Ediciones del Ornitorrinco, Santiago, 1983); descargable desde el portal Memoria Chilena; translated into English by Ronald Christ under the title E. Luminata (Lumen Books, 2008, ISBN 978-0930829407)
  • Por la patria, novela (Las Ediciones del Ornitorrinco, Santiago, 1986); descargable desde el portal Memoria Chilena
  • El cuarto mundo, novela (Planeta, Santiago, 1988); translated into English by Dick Gerdes under the title The Fourth World (University of Nebraska Press, 1995, ISBN 9780803267237)
  • El padre mío, libro de testimonios (Francisco Zegers, editor, Santiago, 1989); descargable desde el portal Memoria Chilena
  • Vaca sagrada, novela (Planeta, Buenos Aires, 1991)
  • Elena Caffarena: El derecho a voz, el derecho a voto", ensayo (Casa de Chile en México, México, 1993)
  • El infarto del alma, libro documental, con fotografías de Paz (Errázuriz, 1994)
  • Los vigilantes, novela (Sudamericana, Santiago, 1994); translated into English by Helen Lane and Ronald Christ under the title Custody of the Eyes (Lumen Books, 2005, ISBN 9780930829568, OCLC 63789755)
  • Crónica del sufragio femenino en Chile, ensayo, Servicio Nacional de la Mujer SERNAM, Santiago, 1994; descargable desde el portal Memoria Chilena
  • Los trabajadores de la muerte, novela (Seix Barral, Santiago, 1998)
  • Emergencias, Escritos sobre literatura, arte y política, ensayos (Planeta, Santiago, 2000)
  • Mano de obra, novela (Seix Barral, Santiago, 2002); descargable desde el portal Memoria Chilena
  • Puño y letra, sobre Carlos Prats (Seix Barral, Santiago, 2005). Aunque publicado por la editorial como novela, Eltit reconoce que no lo es: "Lo que sí le puedo decir taxativamente es que no es una novela, no lo es, más allá de que la editorial la incluya bajo ese prisma".14
  • Jamás el fuego nunca, novela (Seix Barral, Santiago, 2007)
  • Signos vitales, Escritos sobre literatura, arte y política, ensayos (Ediciones UDP, Santiago, 2007)
  • Colonizadas, relato en la antología Excesos del cuerpo, Ficciones de contagio y enfermedad en América Latina (Eterna Cadencia, Buenos Aires, 2009)
  • Impuesto a la carne, novela (Seix Barral, Santiago / Eterna Cadencia, Buenos Aires, 2010)
  • Antología personal, editorial de la Universidad de Talca (2012)
  • Fuerzas especiales, novela (Seix Barral, Santiago, 2013)
  • Réplicas, Escritos sobre literatura, arte y política, ensayos (Seix Barral, Santiago, 2016)
  • Sumar, novela (Seix Barral, Santiago, 2018)

Some bibliography[edit]

  • Página de Eltit en Memoria Chilena, con fotos, cronología y artículos y libros que se pueden descargar gratuita y legalmente
  • Eltit en Letras.s5
  • Eltit en Editorial Planeta Chile
  • Eltit lee el relato Colonizadas, UNAM, audio 24:51; acceso 23.01.2012
  • “La unión madre-hija es la pareja más débil de la cultura”, entrevista a Eltit sobre la novela Impuesto a la carne; portal de la editorial & librería Eterna Cadencia, 02.05.2011; acceso 23.01.2012
  • Ezequiel Alemián. Una escritura política y sin anestesia para retratar a América Latina, entrevista con motivo de la publicación de Impuesto a la carne; Clarín, 13.12.2010; acceso 23.01.2012
  • Leonidas Morales. Género y Hegemonía en 'El infarto del alma'
  • Cortometraje inspirado en El infarto del alma
  • Bernardita Llanos Mardones. El sujeto explosionado: Eltit y la geografía del discurso del padre, ensayo sobre El padre mío; Literatura y lingüística Nº10, 1997; acceso 23.01.2012
  • Tres novelas (Los vigilantes, El cuarto mundo y Mano de obra) en Google book


  1. ^ a b "Diamela Eltit". as.nyu.edu. Retrieved 2018-01-29.
  2. ^ "Diamela Eltit by Julio Ortega - BOMB Magazine". bombmagazine.org. Retrieved 2018-01-29.
  3. ^ www.inmedia-estudio.com. "Editorial Periférica". www.editorialperiferica.com (in Spanish). Retrieved 2018-09-18.

External links[edit]