Amanda Pazmiño Torres

Amanda Pazmiño Torres (Quito, Ecuador, 1993) is an Ecuadorian poet, writer, and teacher of language and English. She has been actively involved in cultural promotion and served as a Cultural Ambassador at the FIL Lima in 2012. In 2020, Pazmiño published her first poetry book, titled “Les hablaré de ti a todos los mares que fragüen un hogar en mis ojos,” which won the 12th edition of the Ileana Espinel Cedeño National Poetry Contest. She leads the ERGO International Cultural Group in Ecuador. She directs workshops focused on creative writing and personal growth, using writing as a tool for self-discovery. She is the director of the poetic writing workshop titled “Camino hacia el equilibrio: palabras que sanan” (Path to Balance: Healing Words). Her poems have been published in the newspaper El Ciudadano and several anthologies. Her poetry booklet “Recorrido de abismo” (Journey through the Abyss) was selected and published by the editorial imprint Despertar (Loja, 2017).

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Manuela Sáenz

Manuela Sáenz Aizpuru de Thorne, commonly known as Manuelita Sáenz (Quito, Ecuador, during the Spanish Empire, December 27, 1797 – Paita, Peru, on November 23, 1856) was a noblewoman, political activist, and heroine in the fight for independence from Spain. Although she did not publish her writings during her lifetime, she did leave behind a significant amount of correspondence, including letters to Simon Bolívar, which provide valuable insight into her life and her role in the struggle for independence. Sáenz became involved in the revolutionary movement at an early age and was the lover and confidante of Simón Bolívar before and during the war for independence. She was instrumental in saving Bolívar’s life on at least one occasion, which led Bolívar to give her the title “Libertadora del libertador” [Liberator of the Liberator]. She accompanied him on many of his campaigns and was present at the Battle of Ayacucho, which marked the end of the Spanish presence in South America. After the war, Sáenz was granted the Order of the Sun or “Dame of the Sun” [Caballeresa del Sol] for her role in the struggle. However, her political activities and her unconventional personal life, which included several affairs, made her the target of criticism and condemnation by many in the conservative society of the time. She ultimately died in exile and poverty. Nevertheless, her legacy as a revolutionary and a feminist icon has endured, and she is remembered today as a symbol of the struggle for independence and women’s rights in South America. She has been the subject of many books in and outside of Ecuador.

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Diego Velasco Andrade

Diego Velasco Andrade (Quito, 1958) is an Ecuadorian poet, fiction writer, editor, professional architect, and university professor. In 1982, he joined Miguel Donoso Pareja’s Literary Workshop at the House of Ecuadorian Culture. He has published a number of poetry collections and fiction books. Since the 1980s, he has been a professor of Semiotics and Design at the Central University of Ecuador. His 2002 novel “¿El poeta ha muerto?” [Is the Poet Dead?] was adapted for the stage by the Ecuadorian group Ojo de Agua and staged in Ecuador, Spain and Belgium. In the 1980’s he was a founding member of a literary group called El Matapiojo. For many years, starting in 2005, he directed the literary workshops of the House of Ecuadorian Culture. His works have appeared in several Ecuadorian literary anthologies.

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Soledad Córdova

Soledad Córdova, or Soledad Fernández de Córdova (Quito, December 19, 1957) is an Ecuadorian writer of children’s literature, poet, and a librarian. On October 24, 2008 she was appointed director of the Eugenio Espejo National Library of Ecuador, replacing Laura Romo de Crespo. Córdova belonged to the literary workshops of Abdón Ubidia and Diego Velasco. She was a fellow at the Reference Service of the National Library of Spain, and at the General Directorate of Books, Archives and Libraries of the Ministry of Culture of Spain. Her works have received national and international awards.


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Rafael Larrea Insuasti

Rafael Larrea Insuasti (Quito, 1942 – Ibidem, April 22, 1995) was an Ecuadorian poet, journalist, political essayist, editor, songwriter, music composer, and social activist. He is known as a social and revolutionary poet who was a member of the Central Committee of the Marxist-Leninist Communist Party of Ecuador (PCMLE). For over 20 years, he was the editor-in-chief of the Party’s newspaper, En Marcha, and created the PCMLE’s first propaganda manual. In the 1960s, along with other young leftist poets, he founded the Tzántico group. His poetry books include “Levantapolvos” (1969), “Nuestra es la vida” (1978), “Campanas de bronce” (1983), “Bajo el sombrero del poeta” (1988), “Nosotros, la luna, los caballos” (1995), and “La casa de los siete patios” (1996, published posthumously). In addition to political activity, Larrea graduated as a journalist from the School of Information Sciences of the Central University of Ecuador and was a language teacher. His political, cultural, and literary writings were collected in a book entitled, “Escritos polticos” (2007), published by the PCMLE Commission for Art and Culture. He also penned a number of popular songs, such as “Capishca de la Libertad,” “La Negra Clara Inés,” and others. A public basic education school in Duran, Ecuador, bears his name.

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Katerine Ortega

Katerine Ortega (Quito, 1986) is an Ecuadorian poet, short story writer, and audiovisual communicator. Her works include: “Somos fuego” (2012), (a compilation of poems by various poets), “Naranja entera” (micropoems), La promesa” (videopoems), and she also contributed to the books “Ciencia y simbólica andina ecuatorial” and “Loma Grande: Memoria Histórica y Cultural” (section on mythology). Her stories and poetry have appeared in literary magazines such as Sapo (Chile) and Matapalo (Ecuador), as well as the anthology “Amor y soledad” (Spain). She was part of the literary workshops of the Benjamín Carrión House of Ecuadorian Culture, the Ecuadorian Society of Writers, Kafka Escuela de Escritores, among others. In 2020, she released “Tarasca,” her first collection of short stories.

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Modesto Ponce Maldonado

Modesto Ponce Maldonado (Quito, 1938) is an Ecuadorian novelist, short story writer, and businessman. He began writing fiction in his later years. At the age of 60, he published his first collection of short stories, “También las arcillas” (1997), which was followed by a novel, “El palacio del diablo” [The Devil’s Palace] (2005), which won the Joaquín Gallegos Lara Prize for best novel of the year. The novel’s title was taken from the name of a brothel that formerly stood in colonial Quito’s La Ronda neighborhood. Using the pen name Sergio Lozada, his second novel, “La casa del desván,” was shortlisted for the prestigious Premio Iberoamericano Planeta-Casa de América de Narrativa award. The novel, released by Editorial Planeta in 2008, is a first-person account of a schizophrenic man’s thoughts while he is institutionalized for his condition. In 2017, his novel “Adela” received honorable mention at the La Linares Short Novel Award. Ponce has also contributed to various literary magazines, including El Búho, Eskeletra, Kipus and Letras del Ecuador.

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Wladimir Chávez

Wladimir Chávez, born Wladimir Alfredo Chávez Vaca (Quito, 1977) is an Ecuadorian novelist and short story writer. He has lived in Norway for over 20 years where he currently works as an associate professor of Spanish and Latin American literature in the Department of Languages, Literature and Culture at Østfold University College. In 2014 his collection of short stories “En el corazón del silencio” [In the Heart of Silence] won the Biennial Pichincha Prize. In 2018 his novel “El olor de las flores quemadas” [The Smell of Burning Flowers] won the Miguel Riofrío National Literary Award. Some of his work has been translated into English and Italian.

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Claudio Mena Villamar

Claudio Mena Villamar (Quito, May 28, 1928) is a poet, essayist, journalist, lawyer, and professor. In 1976, he won first prize in the Ismael Pérez Pazmiño poetry contest of the newspaper El Universo for “Las líneas de tus manos” [The Lines of Your Hands]. On February 8, 2007, as he was inducted into the Ecuadorian Academy of Language, he delivered a discourse on the concept of time entitled “Por los túneles del tiempo” [Through the Tunnels of Time], which was released as a book by Editorial El Conejo in Quito, Ecuador, in 2009, and awarded by the Central University of Ecuador. After being appointed pro-secretary of the Academy following the retirement of Filoteo Samaniego in 2006, he was appointed Secretary in 2008 and served until 2013. He is also a member of the Literary Law Society, the House of Ecuadorian Culture’s Academic Section of Literature, the National Academy of History and a founding member of the Ecuadorian Society of Writers “Grupo America.” He was an editorial writer for the newspapers El Tiempo and Hoy, and a columnist for several other publications.

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Julio Tobar Donoso

Julio Tobar Donoso (Quito, January 25, 1894 – Ibidem, March 10, 1981) was an Ecuadorian diplomat, lawyer, writer, and social and political scientist. In 1942, during the presidential term of Carlos Arroyo del Río (1940-1944), Julio Tobar was a signatory of the Protocol of Rio de Janeiro, a treaty settling possession of the disputed Oriente region on the border of Peru and Ecuador. He also served as Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ecuador from 1938-1942. Along with Father Aurelio Espinosa Pólit, Tobar founded the Pontifical Catholic University of Ecuador. He was a member of the Ecuadorian Academy of Language.

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Íñigo Salvador

Íñigo Salvador Crespo (Quito, October 23, 1960) is a novelist, lawyer, public official, diplomat, and university professor. His debut novel “Miércoles Santo: un caso de Nuño Olmos” (2013), is a critically acclaimed detective novel set in Quito. His latest novel, “1822: La novela de la independencia,” won the Joaquín Gallegos Lara Prize in 2022, and was that year’s best-selling novel in Ecuador. He served as the Procurator General of Ecuador (PGE) from 2018-2022, and will serve as a judge in the Andean Community Court of Justice.

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Mireya Romero Plaza

Mireya Romero Plaza de Bravomalo, aka Mireya de Bravomalo or Mireya Romero y Cordero (Quito, January 29, 1929 – July 2014) was an Ecuadorian poet, novelist, and feminist. In 1953, at the age of 23, she published a novel entitled, “La pena fuimos nosotras,” which was read by many women and that put her in the forefront of feminism in Ecuador in the 50’s. In 1956, she published a poetry book entitled, “Heliofina,” prologued by poet Francisco Granizo Rivadeneira. She sometimes used the pseudonym Marga del Río.

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Laura Pérez de Oleas Zambrano

Laura Pérez de Oleas Zambrano, pseudonym Doña Manuelita (Quito, circa 1904-14 — circa 1981) was an Ecuadorian writer. She authored a novel, a collection of stories, two radio dramas, and an unpublished collection of poems. One of her significant works, published in 1959, is the novel “Sangre en las manos” (Blood on the Hands), which grapples with the moral complexities of abortion. This compelling narrative draws inspiration from a real-life incident, the trial of an obstetrician in Quito during 1938, charged with the death of a patient during a clandestine abortion. Her other notable work is a two-volume collection of stories entitled, “Historias, leyendas y tradiciones ecuatorianas” [Ecuadorian Stories, Leyends and Traditions] (1962).

* Because there does not appear to be agreement on the exact date of Laura Pérez’s birth or death, we have chosen to approximate the dates based on data from various sources, hence why circa is used above.

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Juan Pablo Muñoz Sanz

Juan Pablo Muñoz Sanz (Quito, March 13, 1898 – Quito, August 5, 1964) was an Ecuadorian writer, music critic, composer, and pianist. In 1944, he assumed the role of rector at the Quito National Conservatory, simultaneously taking charge of its orchestra, which later evolved into the esteemed National Symphony Orchestra. Additionally, Juan Pablo shared his expertise as a professor of Spanish, literature, and philosophy. Among his books are: “La Música en Quito” (1934), “Glosario de Amiel” (1936), “La música ecuatoriana” (1938), and “Nacionalismo y americanismo musical” (1938).

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Javier Ponce

Javier Ponce Cevallos (Quito, April 28, 1948) is an Ecuadorian author, journalist, and politician. Additionally, he spent many years working as an editorial writer for the newspapers El Universo and Hoy. He has held various public posts, including Minister of Defense (2008–2012) and Minister of Agriculture, Livestock, Aquaculture, and Fisheries (2012–2017), both held under President Rafael Correa’s administration. In 1982, he published his first book of poetry, “A espaldas de otros lenguajes,” followed by “Escrito lejos” (1984), “Los codices de Lorenzo Trinidad” (1984), “Texto en ruinas” (1999) and “Afuera es la noche” (2000). In 1990, he wrote his first novel, “El insomnio de Nazario Mieles,” followed by “Es tan difícil morir” (1994), and “Resígnate a perder” (1998) whose plot revolves around a character named Santos Feijó, the director of Quito’s Historical Archive, and his two loves, a woman named Nadja and a transvestite prostitute known as “Caramelo.”

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