David Ledesma Vásquez 

David Ledesma Vásquez (Guayaquil, December 17, 1934 – March 30, 1961) was an Ecuadorian poet and theater actor. Although his work went unnoticed for several years after his death, it eventually acquired a cult following. He belonged to Club 7, a group of Ecuadorian poets from the 1950s. He committed suicide by hanging in 1961. He left behind several unpublished works, including one ironically titled “La risa del ahorcado” [The Hanged Man’s Laugh]. Ileana Espinel Cedeño, a fellow Club 7 member, oversaw the posthumous publication of his poetry collection “Cuaderno de Orfeo” in 1962.

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Club 7 (Group of poets from 1950s Ecuador)

Club 7 (1951-1962) was a group of poets formed in Guayaquil, made up of David Ledesma Vázquez (1934-1961), Gastón Hidalgo Ortega (1929-1973), Carlos Benavides Vega (1931-1999), Ileana Espinel Cedeño (1934-2001), Sergio Román Armendáriz (1934), Charles Abadíe Silva, and Miguel Donoso Pareja. CLUB 7 was never a political organization, but its members all shared democratic-progressive views. After learning that Ledesma and Benavides were homosexuals, Donoso and Abadie left the group. The remaining 5 members published a poetry collection titled “Club 7”  in 1954.

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Grupo Umbral [the Umbral Group]

Grupo Umbral [the Umbral Group] was a literary group founded in Quito in 1952 which included notable Ecuadorian authors such as Alfonso Barrera Valverde, César Dávila Torres, Eduardo Villacís, Eduardo Félix, Guillermo Ríos, Alicia Yánez Cossío, Walter Franco Serrano and César Ayala. The word umbral means threshold in English.

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Walter Franco Serrano

Walter Franco Serrano (Quito, 1932 – 2021) was a poet, novelist, and theater teacher. From 1954 to 1957, he cofounded the Quito Chamber Theater with professor Carlos Lowenberg, the Independent Theater with Francisco Tobar, and the puppet theater, casa de la Fantasia [Fantasy House]. He was a member of the Umbral Group, a literary group formed in Quito in 1952 by notable Ecuadorian writers of the time. He joined the Society of Friends of the Theater in 1955, where he taught oral expression. In 1967, he was Ecuador’s delegate to the First Latin America Theater Congress in Mexico. He lectured at the House of Ecuadorian Culture’s Theater Seminar between 1975-1976. His poetry collections include: “El instante innumerable” (1957), “El mar forastero” (1959), “Años ecuatoriales,” and “Cronica colombiana.” His novel “Un pueblo en los Andes” [A Town in the Andes] was a finalist for the 1971 Planeta award. His short story collections include: “Cinco mil dolares” and “Collazo 24.”

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Rubén Astudillo y Astudillo 

Rubén Astudillo y Astudillo (El Valle, Cuenca, 1938 – January 16, 2003) was a poet, journalist, and diplomat. He began his writing career in Cuenca, where he created the Amanecer literary group and produced a magazine by the same name. In 1957, he published his first collection of poems, “Del crepúsculo,” followed by “Trébol sonámbulo” (1958), and “Desterrados” (1960). He then established the literary journal Syrma. In 1963, he published his best known poetry collection, “Canción de lobos,” with which he pioneered what he termed as poesía testimonialista [testimonialist poetry] in Ecuador. He served as a diplomat at the Ecuadorian embassies in Israel, Cyprus, Venezuela, Vietnam, and China.

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Inés Márquez Moreno

Inés Márquez Moreno (Cuenca, June 7, 1916 – August 18, 2017) was an Ecuadorian poet. Her first poetry collection, “Denuncia del sueño,” was published by the House of Ecuadorian Culture in Azuay in 1963. Her style is characterized by great simplicity and evocative force (love, land, friendship, family). In 1994, the House of Ecuadorian Culture published her second collection of poems, “Camino de mediodía.” She was awarded the Fray Vicente Solano Medal by the city of Cuenca, which is given to the city’s most distinguished authors. She had been a member of the Ibero-American Academy of Poetry in Cuenca since its inception. She continued to write into her 90s and died at the age of 101.

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The Decapitated Generation

The Generación decapitada (Spanish for “Beheaded/Decapitated Generation”) is a literary group from the early twentieth century composed primarily of four young Ecuadorian poets. The group is called “decapitada,” or “decapitated,” because each member committed suicide at a young age. It includes two men from Guayaquil, Medardo Ángel Silva and Ernesto Noboa y Caamaño and two from Quito, Arturo Borja and Humberto Fierro. These four writers were heavily influenced by Rubén Darío’s modernismo movement and 19th-century French romantic poetry. They all read the poetry of Baudelaire, Hugo, Rimbaud, and Verlaine in the original French. Despite knowing each other and dedicating poems to one another, they never met to form an actual literary group. The term “generación decapitada” was coined in the mid-twentieth century by writer Raúl Andrade and other journalists and historians who noticed similarities in the authors’ poetry and fates.

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Temístocles José Araúz Rojas

Dr. Temístocles José Araúz Rojas (Machala, October 14, 1871 – ?) was an Ecuadorian doctor and writer. His best known work is the hymn of El Oro province. He wrote political articles for several newspapers in the country, including El Telégrafo, Diario de Avisos, and El Tiempo. He served as governor of El Oro province and then senator for 9 years.

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César Salcedo Parrales

César Salcedo Parrales, pseudonym Galo Salcedo (Machala, Ecuador, August 22, 1938 – August 16, 2011) was an Ecuadorian writer, painter, educator, journalist and historian. He authored approximately 13 books and several articles for various publications. He primarily wrote historical works about Machala and the province of El Oro. He was a member of the Association of Latin American and Caribbean Historians, the Association of Historians of Ecuador, and the House of Ecuadorian Culture’s history section in El Oro. The provincial historical archive bears his name.

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Arturo Montesinos Malo

Arturo Montesinos Malo (Cuenca, August 31, 1913 – May 23, 2009) was an Ecuadorian novelist, professor, and translator who lived in the United States for many years where he worked as a translator at the United Nations in New York. In 1959, he received the “José de la Cuadra” Award for his short story collection “Arcilla indócil,” which is considered by many to be his best work. Some of his Spanish-to-English translations of contemporary writers’ short stories and poems appeared in Letras del Ecuador.

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Walter Bellolio

Walter Bellolio (Guayaquil, 1930 – 1974) was a well-regarded Ecuadorian short story writer. During his lifetime, he published a number of short story collections, and his work has appeared in several anthologies. He traveled to Spain in 1974 to publish the book that would make him famous, “Crónica del hombre que aprendió a llorar,” but was killed by a car shortly after arriving. The House of Ecuadorian Culture published the book posthumously in 1975. He is the maternal grandfather of the writer Daniela Alcívar Bellolio.

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El chulla Romero y Flores Movie (1995 Film)

Ecuavisa, 1995

“El chulla Romero y Flores,” a 1958 novel by Jorge Icaza, was made into a TV movie for Ecuavisa in 1995. Carl West directed the film, which was shot in Ecuador. The story is set in 1950s Ecuador and follows the activities of the chulla Luis Alfonso Romero y Flores, including his job as a bureaucrat, bohemian nights spent with friends, and his romance with Rosario Santacruz.

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Cecilia Ansaldo

Cecilia Ansaldo Briones (Guayaquil, 1949) is an Ecuadorian professor, essayist, and literary critic. She is currently a professor at both Casa Grande University and the Catholic University of Santiago de Guayaquil in Ecuador. In 2015, she became a member of the Ecuadorian Language Academy, a correspondent organization of the Royal Spanish Academy. She is a member of the Mujeres del Ático group and a founding member of the Open Book Station Cultural Center. She writes an opinion column for the newspaper El Universo. She has chaired the Guayaquil International Book Fair’s content committee since 2015.

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