Gabriela Calvache

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Juan Montalvo

Juan Montalvo, born Juan María Montalvo y Fiallos (Ambato, Ecuador, April 13, 1832 – Paris, France, January 17, 1889) was an influential Ecuadorian author, essayist, and formidable polemicist whose writings had a significant impact on the political landscape of his time. Known for his notable works such as “Las Catilinarias” (1880) and “Siete Tratados” (1882), Montalvo exhibited a fiery, unapologetic style, often challenging and criticizing the political status quo. As a political liberal, his beliefs were characterized by anti-clericalism and a fierce opposition to the authoritarian regimes of Gabriel García Moreno and Ignacio de Veintemilla. Despite facing exile multiple times, his penetrating critiques and commitment to democratic principles left a lasting legacy in Ecuador and beyond. Montalvo’s audacious spirit, combined with his eloquent prose, positioned him as a key figure in Latin American literature, while his life and works continue to symbolize the power of the written word as a tool for political change.

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Mario Conde

Mario Conde (Ambato, 1972) is a highly accomplished Ecuadorian writer, renowned for his works in children’s and youth literature. In addition to his successful writing career, he is also a distinguished university professor of Latin American Literature. Throughout his career, Mario has published numerous novels and volumes of short stories in collaboration with a variety of esteemed publishers such as Grupo Editorial Norma, Alfaguara Juvenil, Santillana, Loqueleo, SM el Barco de Vapor and Abracadabra Editores. In recognition of his literary achievements, he was awarded the prestigious Alicia Yánez Cossío Prize by the provincial government of the Pichincha province in 2003. With his remarkable talent, Mario has left an indelible mark on the Ecuadorian literary landscape and continues to inspire future generations of writers.

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ben aki

ben aki, pseudonym of Rodrigo Jurado (Ambato, Ecuador, 1967) is an Ecuadorian poet, writer, and university professor. He has published 7 poetry collections, including: “Tesis” (2006), “Telares” (2014), “Cartas desde la cárcel” (2015), “Inicios absolutos” (2016), “Querido señor presidente” (2017), “La piel que habito” (2018), and “Poemas para la tarde y el después” (2019). In 2021, ben aki published a biographical novel about his maternal grandmother, María Agripina Cruz Torres, entitled, “María Agripina.” He currently resides in Ambato where he is Professor of Communication and Academic Writing at the Catholic University of Ecuador.

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Victoria Tobar

Victoria Tobar Fierro (Ambato, 1943) is an Ecuadorian poet, writer, and literary critic. In 1983 her first poetry book, “Y de repente” was bestowed the “Juan León Mera” award by the municipality of Ambato. She has written 5 poetry books and her poems have been selected for inclusion in various anthologies of Ecuadorian and Latin American poetry. In 2020 a compilation of her poems was published in a book entitled “Inmensos sentidos” by the publisher El ángel editor.

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María Natalia Vaca

María Natalia Vaca Santander (Ambato, May 5, 1878 – January, 1955) was an Ecuadorian teacher, writer, and poet. She taught reading, writing, and literature in the city of Ambato. Her poetry was published in newspapers and magazines such as La Mujer (created by Zoila Ugarte) and La Ilustración Ecuatoriana. In the magazine La Mujer she also published her short novel “¡Pobre María!” and the short stories “Viaje en diligencia” and “Cuento de Navidad.” In 1907, she was appointed Secretary of the National Library by President Eloy Alfaro. There are two streets named after her in Ecuador. One is in Quito’s Metropolitan District, and the other is in the city of Ambato. A school in Ambato, founded in 1974, bears her name: “Instituto Superior Tecnológico María Natalia Vaca.”

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Eugenia Tinajero Martínez

Eugenia Tinajero Martínez (Quito, January 10, 1922 – April 6, 2009) was an Ecuadorian painter, university professor and writer. Tinajero Martínez hailed from a distinguished lineage, being the descendant of renowned Ecuadorian authors Luis A. Martínez and Juan Leon Mera. Her best-known literary work is “Leyendas indígenas” (1954), a collection of stories that focus on the Indian motif. She spent several years in the United States and was a respected professor at Harvard University, where she had previously studied. The majority of her artwork is held in both public and private collections in the Ecuadorian cities of Quito and Ambato.

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Juan José Rodinás

Juan José Rodinás, born Juan José Rodríguez (Ambato, 1979) is an Ecuadorian poet, writer and translator. In 2021, he won the Aurelio Espinosa Pólit Prize for his book “Fantasías animadas de ayer y alrededores.” Other prestigious accolades he has received include the Jorge Carrera Andrade Prize (2018, Ecuador) and the Casa de las Américas Prize (2019, Cuba). In 2018, a collection of his poems was translated into English by Ilana Dann Luna and published in a bilingual edition as “Koan Underwater” by Cardboard House Press.

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Rodrigo Pachano Lalama

Rodrigo Pachano Lalama (Ambato, August 7, 1910 – June 20, 1984) was an Ecuadorian lawyer, writer, poet, journalist, historian, researcher, and teacher. He was elected mayor of Ambato in 1955 for a period of 2 years. He authored Tungurahua’s Hymn, several poetry books, and essays, including one about Juan Montalvo. Throughout his life, he received numerous decorations and distinctions. In one of his books, the Spanish writer and Nobel Prize winner Camilo José Cela recalls meeting the “poet Rodrigo Pachano” during a visit to Ambato in 1954. He founded the Tungurahua chapter of the House of Ecuadorian Culture with other Ambato intellectuals such as Edmundo Martínez, Jorge Isaac Robayo, Rodrigo Vela, Blanca Martínez de Tinajero, and Gerardo Nicola. He was the organization’s president for several years.

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Mario Cobo Barona

Mario Cobo Barona (Ambato, September 10, 1930 – Ambato, April 16, 2007) was an Ecuadorian poet, playwright, essayist, and educator. He wrote over 30 books in different genres. The Ecuadorian House of Culture published an anthology containing the majority of his poetic works. He held various posts in Ecuador in the field of education, such as Vice Minister of Public Education, Provincial Director of Education of Tungurahua, and Rector of the Rumiñahui National School, to name a few. He received several accolades and recognitions for his work as an educator. On July 31, 1997, he became a corresponding member of the House of Ecuadorian Culture. On January 17, 2002, he was honored with full membership into the academy.

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Augusto N. Martínez

Augusto Nicolás Martínez Holguín, aka Augusto N. Martínez (Ambato, March 25, 1860 – March 19, 1946) was an Ecuadorian volcanologist, geologist, agronomist, scientific explorer, historian, writer, translator, and educator. His works contributed to the geological knowledge of the volcanic region in Ecuador. They include: “Crónica de los fenomenos volcánicos y terremotos en el Ecuador” [Chronicle of the Volcanic Phenomena and Earthquakes in Ecuador] (1896), “Algunas montañas volcánicas” [Some Volcanic Mountains] (1905), and “Vulcanologia y geología de los Andes ecuatorianos” [Volcanology and Geology of the Ecuadorian Andes] (1905). He also left a great legacy of photographs of the volcanoes he visited, which later were a great help to other climbers. His other works include themes such as science, history, scientific research, and exploration. He was a corresponding member of the National Academy of History, the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Geowissenschaften [German Geological Society], and the Société astronomique de France [French Astronomical Society]. He was fluent in English, French, and German, as well as his native Spanish. He translated several works from German and French into Spanish, particularly the valuable writings of his mentor Father Luis Dressel, with whom he ascended to some mountains and volcanoes in Ecuador. In 1920, he was honored by the French Academy of Sciences for his work.

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Anacarsis Martínez

Anacarsis Martínez (Ambato, Tungurahua, July 16, 1862 – March 27, 1930) was an Ecuadorian politician, satirist, writer, publisher, and editor. His first political writings were published in the newspaper “El Combate” alongside Juan Benigno Vela and Celiano Monge. Then, in 1887, he founded and became the editor of “La Avispa,” a political-satirical newspaper. His writings were mainly published in Trajano Mera’s “Revista Ecuatoriana” and in “Revista Guayaquil,” where he published his acclaimed article “Las ilusiones de un gamonal.” He also wrote the short novel “El desfalco.” In 1911, he served as Governor of Tungurahua. He was the older brother of the writers Augusto N. Martinez and Luis A. Martinez.

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Guillermo Ríos Andrade

Guillermo Ríos Andrade (Ambato, November 10, 1924 – September 19, 2018) was an Ecuadorian poet and an active member of the House of Ecuadorian Culture, which published several of his poetry collections, including: “La aurora no es de todos” (1961), “La raíz del alba” (1972), and “Un eclipse total” (1974). At least two schools in Ecuador’s Pichincha province bear his name. The Mexican writer Alfonso Reyes, who the Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges called “the greatest prose writer in the Spanish language,” was a great admirer of Ríos’ poetry and wrote articles about him.

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Alfonso Barrera Valverde 

Alfonso Barrera Valverde (Ambato, 1929 – September 6, 2013) was an Ecuadorian diplomat, poet, novelist, and non-fiction writer. Some of his notable works include his account of the Paquisha conflict, “Hombres de paz en lucha” (1982), the novel “Sancho Panza en América” (2005), and the children’s novel “El país de Manuelito” (1984). He served as ambassador to the Dominican Republic, Spain, Canada, Germany, and Argentina, and he also served as Ecuador’s Minister of Foreign Affairs.

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Jennie Carrasco Molina

Jennie Carrasco Molina (Ambato, 1955) is an Ecuadorian novelist, short story writer, poet, journalist, editor, university professor and holistic therapist. She has worked with the press and on women’s issues. Her works include the short story collection “La diosa en el espejo” (1995), the poetry collection “Arañas en mi vestido de seda” (2001), and the novel “Viaje a ninguna parte” (2004). In 2011 her poetry collection “Confesiones apocalípticas” won the prestigious Jorge Carrera Andrade Prize. Some of her poems have been translated into English.

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