Susana Álvarez, born Martha Susana Álvarez Galarza (Ambato, 1949) is an Ecuadorian writer, poet, educator, and cultural activist. Throughout her career, she has made significant contributions to literature, particularly in the field of poetry and cultural preservation. Some of her notable poetry books include “Memorial de los días,” “Celosía del Alba,” and “Fiorella de Agua.” In addition to poetry, she has written essays such as “Ellos son y Están aquí…. Encuentros” and “Mujeres bajo el cielo de Loja. La investidura de La Mujer del Siglo XXI.” Álvarez’ dedication to preserving Ecuadorian cultural heritage is evident in her books “Antología de la leyenda ecuatoriana” and “Loja y sus leyendas,” which delve into the country’s rich folklore and legends. Recognized for her literary achievements, she has received prestigious awards, including the “Juan León Mera” decoration and the Illustrious Ecuadorian Woman Award in 2015. Recently, she received the prestigious “Matilde Hidalgo Navarro” decoration at the 2023 Women’s Art Encounter. This recognition, bestowed by the House of Ecuadorian Culture in Loja, acknowledges her outstanding cultural contributions in both Loja and Ecuador.
Early Life and Education
Susana Álvarez was born Martha Susana Álvarez Galarza in Ambato, Ecuador, in 1949. She completed her primary and secondary education in her hometown. Afterward, she moved to Quito to pursue higher education at the Faculty of Philosophy and Letters at the Central University of Ecuador, where she earned a degree in Language and Literature. This academic background laid the foundation for her future career in education and writing. She has taught at both the university and secondary school levels, sharing her passion for language and literature with students.
Susana Álvarez has an impressive body of work encompassing various genres. She has published several poetry collections, including “Memorial de los días,” “Celosía del Alba,” “Fiorella de Agua,” and “Travesía del viento en el jazmín disperso.” These collections showcase her poetic talent and explore themes of love, nature, and the human experience.
Susana Álvarez is a versatile writer who has explored various genres, including essays. In her book “Ellos son y Están aquí…. Encuentros” (They Are and They Are Here… Encounters), she provides stylistic analysis and profiles of various authors, delving into their writing techniques, themes, and overall impact on literature. This book offers readers a deeper understanding of the featured authors’ work, fostering an appreciation for their contributions to the literary world. In “Palabra en plenitud silenciosa de vida” (Word in Silent Fullness of Life), Álvarez celebrates the power of words and the richness of language. Through this book, she explores the beauty and depth of literature, inviting readers to contemplate the profound impact that words can have on our lives. Lastly, in “Mujeres bajo el cielo de Loja. La investidura de La Mujer del Siglo XXI” (Women under the Sky of Loja. The Investiture of the Woman of the 21st Century), Álvarez sheds light on the experiences and achievements of women in Loja, Ecuador. She highlights their cultural, social, and literary contributions, providing valuable insights into their roles and challenges within contemporary society. Through these diverse works, Álvarez showcases her talent for engaging with literature and exploring the multifaceted aspects of human experiences and creativity.
“Buril de la Memoria” (Chisel of Memory) is a three-volume work by Susana Álvarez. The title draws inspiration from the chisel, a tool used for engraving on stone or metal, symbolizing the act of preserving and etching the memories of Ambato’s remarkable women. In this labor of love, Álvarez delves into the rich history of her hometown, uncovering the stories of twenty-one exceptional women whose contributions to the arts, culture, science, volunteerism, and business may have otherwise gone unrecognized. Through the pages of “Buril de la Memoria,” readers are invited to explore the narratives of these extraordinary individuals who have exemplified qualities of honesty, dedication, intelligence, sensitivity, and social commitment. Álvarez’ book serves as a tribute to Ambato’s outstanding women, ensuring that their legacies and accomplishments are celebrated and appreciated by the community and beyond.
National folklore and fairy tales
Recognizing the significance of preserving Ecuador’s national folklore and fairy tales, Susana Álvarez has devoted herself to documenting and sharing these cultural treasures. Her books, such as “Antología de la leyenda ecuatoriana,” “Loja y sus leyendas,” and “Cuentos, mitos, leyendas y fantasías lojanas” (co-authored), serve as invaluable resources for those seeking a deeper understanding of Ecuadorian cultural narratives.
One of Álvarez’s notable works is the comic book adaptation of her earlier book, “Antología de la leyenda ecuatoriana” (Anthology of Ecuadorian Legends), written over 20 years ago. Titled “Leyendas,” the comic book brings to life a collection of Ecuadorian folklore with visually captivating illustrations created by a talented medical student from Cuenca. Published in 2022, “Leyendas” revitalizes these enchanting tales, ensuring their preservation and making them accessible to readers of all ages. Álvarez’ meticulous research and collaborative efforts contribute to the enduring legacy of these captivating stories.
Álvarez’s commitment to cultural activism has been instrumental in promoting literary and artistic exchange. She has organized significant events that have brought together writers and poets, fostering creativity and celebrating the power of artistic expression. Notably, she played a key role in organizing the First Biennial of Contemporary Literature Writers of Zamora, providing a platform for talented authors to showcase their works. Additionally, her efforts resulted in the successful National Meeting of Poets Loja 2014, which facilitated meaningful artistic interactions and collaborations.
Recognition and Awards
Susana Álvarez’ exceptional literary contributions have garnered recognition and accolades. In 2012, the Municipality of Ambato honored her with the “Juan León Mera” decoration, acknowledging her remarkable literary achievements and her significant role in promoting culture. Furthermore, in 2015 the Ecuadorian Committee for Cooperation with the Inter-American Commission of Women (CECIM-Loja) bestowed upon her the distinction of Illustrious Ecuadorian Woman in recognition of her dedicated service to Loja. In 2023, she was bestowed the “Matilde Hidalgo Navarro” decoration during the Encuentro Arte Mujer 2023 (2023 Women’s Art Encounter).
Organizations she belong to
- National Academy of History of Ecuador
- Casa de la Cultura Ecuatoriana Núcleo de Loja (House of Ecuadorian Culture, Loja Branch)
- Hispanic-American Council of Letters and Arts
- Hispanic World Union of Writers
- United Nations of Letters “UNILETRAS” in Ecuador
- Memorial de los días
- Celosía del Alba
- Fiorella de Agua
- Travesía del viento en el jazmín disperso
- Ellos son y Están aquí…. Encuentros
- Palabra en plenitud silenciosa de vida
- Mujeres bajo el cielo de Loja. La investidura de La Mujer del Siglo XXI
- Antología de la leyenda ecuatoriana
- Loja y sus leyendas
- Cuentos, mitos, leyendas y fantasías lojanas (co-authored)
- Martha Susana Álvarez Galarza
- Susana Álvarez Galarza
- Susana Álvarez G.