Sabina Berman Goldberg (Mexico City, Augusta 21, 1955) is a writer and journalist. Considered to be Mexico's most critically and commercially successful contemporary playwright, Berman is one of the most prolific living writers in the Spanish language. Her work deals mainly with issues related to diversity and its obstacles. Her style tends toward humor and language, or the need to move beyond the limits of language. She is a four-time winner of the National Playwriting Award in Mexico (Premio Nacional de Dramaturgia Juan Ruiz Alarcón) and has twice won the National Journalism Award (Premio Nacional de Periodismo). Her plays have been staged in Canada, North America, Latin America, and Europe. Her novel, Me (La mujer que buceó en el corazón del mundo) has been translated into 11 languages and published in over 33 countries, including Spain, France, the United States, England, and Israel.
"In her plays, there are certain constants worthy of note: a taste for humor; a mistrust of official discourse and indeed, of all discourse in general; the need to surpass both sexual limits and those that apply to literary genres."
The start of Berman's life was marked by the emigration to Mexico of her parents, who were Polish Jews, under the presidential administration of Lázaro Cárdenas del Río. Her father, the industrialist Enrique Berman, lost all of his family members to World War II. Her mother is the psychoanalyst Raquel Goldberg. Berman was born in the Hospital Español of Mexico City, where she was raised together with two brothers and one sister, decisive factors in her life. She was a member of Mexico's national youth tennis team. She studied psychology and Mexican literature at the Universidad Iberoamericana.
In 1979, she coauthored La tía Alejandra, a horror film directed by Arturo Ripstein. Her screenplay was awarded a Premio Ariel.
In 1995, she co-directed the film Entre Pancho Villa y una mujer desnuda together with Isabel Tardan. She also wrote and co-produced the film Backyard, which represented Mexico in the 2010 Academy Awards.
In 2014, she wrote the film Gloria, a biopic of Mexican singer Gloria Trevi, directed by Christian Keller that was a Premio Ariel nominee for best original screenplay.
November 2015 marked the premiere of her most recent film, Macho, directed by Antonio Serrano.
She authored the screenplays for the films The History of Love for Alfonso Cuarón and Light for Alejandro González Iñarritu.
Outstanding among her theater plays are: Between Pancho Villa and a Naked Woman, Sudden Death, Molière, Freud Skating, eXtras (adaptation) and Testosterone. Her works have been staged in Costa Rica, Peru, Brazil, Canada, the United States, Argentina, and Spain.
Her novel, Me (La mujer que buceó en el corazón del mundo) has been translated into 11 languages and published in over 33 countries, including Spain, France, the United States, England, and Israel.
Her most recent book, Darwin's God, revisits the protagonist of Me to submerge her in an original, fascinating thriller about the struggle for Darwin's legacy.
She was co-producer of the television program Shalalá together with Katia D'Artigues, broadcast on Televisión Azteca.
She currently hosts the program Berman: Otras Historias which airs on Wednesdays at 9:30 p.m. on ADN40.
As a journalist, she is a bi-weekly contributor to Revista Proceso and a weekly columnist for El Universal, where she publishes political fables.
She has written articles for Vanity Fair magazine in Spanish and for the magazine Quién.
List of works
- El dios de Darwin [Darwin's God] (2014)
- La mujer que buceó dentro del corazón del mundo [Me] (2010)
- Feliz nuevo siglo doktor Freud [Freud skating] (2002)
- Molière [Molière] (2000)
- Mujeres y poder, cowritten with Denise Maerker [Women and power] (2000)
- La bobe [The grandmother] (1997)
- Amante de lo ajeno (1997)
- Berman (1995)
- Un grano de arroz [A grain of rice] (1995)
- Entre Villa y una mujer desnuda [Between Pancho Villa and a Naked Woman] (1995)
- Volar [Fly] (1993)
- En el nombre de Dios [In the name of God], work published in the magazine Tramoya (1993)
- Articles and short stories for the weekly culture section of the newspaper La Jornada (1992)
- La grieta [The crack], a play published in the magazine Tramoya (1992)
- Lunas [Moons], prose poetry, (1989)
- Muerte súbita [Sudden death], theater, (1989)
- La maravillosa historia de Chiquito Pingüica [The wonderful story of Chiquito Pingüica], in the anthology The Noah’s Ark [El arca de Noé] by Emilio Carballido (1984)
- Rompecabezas [Puzzle] (1982)
Awards and Recognitions
- 2009 Backyard (Traspatio). Toronto International Film Festival Silver Medal. Best Screenplay, Festival de Ibiza. Independent Spirit Award. Selected by the Havana Film Festival for Best Film Editing and Best Screenplay
- 2008 Premio Nacional de Dramaturgia Juan Ruiz de Alarcón
- 2007 National Journalism Award for the article “Las tribulaciones de la fe.”
- 2002 Premio Juan Ruiz de Alarcón for Best Work by a Mexican Playwright for Feliz nuevo siglo doktor Freud
- 2001 Best dramaturgy prizes from BRAVO and the Asociación de Cronistas y Periodistas de Teatro for Feliz nuevo siglo doktor Freud, as well as the Premio Nacional de Dramaturgia Juan Ruiz Alarcón
- 2000 Premio Nacional de Periodismo for her series on Women and Power. (Directed by Isabelle Tardan; screenplay by Sabina Berman; interviews by Denise Maerker.) Premio Nacional María Lavalle Urbina for the excellence of her work in the Arts
- 1999 Premio Rodolfo Usigli for playwright of the year, Premio Nacional de Dramaturgia Juan Ruiz Alarcón, and Premio Banquels for her play Molière, which also received three prizes from the Asociación de Críticos (Play of the Year, Best Playwright, Best Music)
- 1998 Premio Rodolfo Usigli for Best Playwright of the Year for La Grieta
- 1996 Entre villa y una mujer desnuda. Best film, Cinemafest, Puerto Rico. Named Mexico's representative to the Academy Awards. El árbol de la música. Named Mexico's short film representative to the Academy Awards.
- 1995 Entre villa y una mujer desnuda. Chicago International Film Festival Prize.
- 1994 Entre villa y una mujer desnuda. Premio HERALDO, Best Play of the Year. Prize from the Asociación de Críticos for Best Play. Six prizes from the Asociación de Críticos for Best Direction, Best Actress, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress
- 1991 Los ladrones del tiempo. Prize from the Asociación de Críticos for Best Play in Children's Theater
- 1988 Águila o sol. Premio del Festival Internacional de Teatro Amateur (in Quebec), staging by the BOCANA company
- 1986 El árbol de humo. Premio Celestino Goroztiza (for children's theater)
- 1983 En el nombre de dios (previously Anatema or HEREJÍA). Premio Nacional de Obras de Teatro
- 1982 La maravillosa historia de chiquito pinguica. Premio Nacional de Teatro para Niños (awarded by the Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes)
- 1981 Rompecabezas. Premio Nacional de Obras de Teatro (awarded by the Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes)
- 1979 Bill. Premio Nacional de Obras de Teatro (awarded by the Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes)
- La tía Alejandra. Premio Ariel from the Academia de Artes Cinematográficas for Best Screenplay. Directed by Arturo Ripstein