Claribel Alegria

Claribel Alegría, one of the major voices in contemporary Latin American literature, is a Nicaraguan poet, essayist, novelist, journalist, and author of more than forty five books. In her historical/testimonial books Alegría has fused the personal and the political, the collective and the internal. She has recorded the experience of revolutionaries, the contributions of women involved in the struggle for a new society, and the fate of political prisoners, who have been silenced. In her interest in recovering women's history and bringing them to the foreground, she shares much in common with postcolonial writers from Africa, India, and the Caribbean. She was awarded the 2006 Neustadt International Prize for Literature, and the Casa de las Américas Prize in 1978. The University of Eastern Connecticut awarded her a Doctorate Honoris Causa in 1998. Her poetry collection Sorrow, won the Independent Publisher Book Award for Poetry in 2000 and was honored by U.S. independent booksellers as a BookSense choice.

Jimmy Baca

Jimmy Santiago Baca, born in New Mexico, is a poet of Apache-Mexican descent. At an early age he was sent to an orphanage and became a runaway at age thirteen. During five years in a maximum security prison he began to turn his life around by learning to read and write, unearthing a voracious passion for poetry, thus making a choice that would alter his destiny. He emerged from prison a writer. His first book Immigrants in Our Own Land, was published in 1979, the year he was released from prison and also earned his GED. He has written several books of poetry, screenplays, and a memoir. His awards include the National Endowment for the Arts Poetry Award, Vogelstein Foundation Award, International Hispanic Heritage Award, Berkeley Regents Award, Pushcart Prize, Southwest Book Award, and American Book Award. In 2006 he won the Cornelius P. Turner Award for outstanding contributions to society in education, justice, health, public service and social welfare. Baca has devoted his post-prison life to writing and teaching others who are overcoming hardship, conducting writing workshops in prisons, community centers, libraries, and universities throughout the country.

Ernesto Cardenal

Ernesto Cardenal is a Nicaraguan poet universally recognized as a towering figure in Latin American letters. Priest and revolutionary, Cardenal was an early advocate of liberation theology and fought for political freedom through his work as a priest, founding a liberationist Christian commune on an island of the Solentiname archipelago in Lake Cocibolca, Nicaragua, which was later attacked by the corrupt Somoza regime. Cardenal joined the Sandinista National Liberation Front and became a field chaplain for the guerrillas. After the overthrow of the dictatorship, and following the triumph of the Sandinista Revolution, Cardenal was appointed Minister of Culture of the Revolutionary Government. He studied Literature at the University of Mexico and Columbia University in New York, and studied for the priesthood with Thomas Merton at the Trappist monastery in Gethsemane, Kentucky. Throughout his life, Cardenal has also been an outstanding sculptor. His vast body of work, translated into more than twenty languages, includes poetry, theological and religious writings, memoirs, and historical testimony. He has received numerous awards, among them Premio Iberoamericano Pablo Neruda 2009, Premio de Poesía Reina Sofía 2012, and Oficial de la Orden de la Legión de Honor de Francia 2013.


Alicia Monique Díaz-Infante is a senior at USF, from the Salinas Valley, majoring in Sociology. Growing up third generation Chicana has placed her at a crossroads between her grandparents’ fight for a better life and the future of achieving that dream through education. She finds strength to pursue this dream with the support of her family, who encourage her to be herself while striving for success. She looks forward to a career where she will be able to work with youth in pursuit of the same dream, while artistically and culturally engaging with the community.


Roxane Ortiz

Roxanne Dumbar-Ortiz is an historian, a feminist, and long-time human rights activist. Daughter of a tenant farmer and a half-Indian mother, she was born in San Antonio, Texas, and grew up in rural Oklahoma. Granddaughter of a labor activist with the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), her family experiences inspired her to write the memoir Red Dirt: Growing up Okie. Dumbar-Ortiz graduated from San Francisco State University with a major in history, and completed her doctorate in history at UCLA. From 1967-1972 she was a full time activist in the United States and travelled to Europe, Mexico, and Cuba. She tells those experiences in Outlaw Woman: Memoir of the WarYears. In 1974 she became an assistant professor in a newly established Native American studies program at California State University, Hayward, where she would teach for three decades, and help develop the Department of Ethnic studies, along with Women’s studies. In 1985, she published Caught in the Crossfire: The Miskitu Indians of Nicaragua, and in 2005, Blood on the Border: A Memoir of the Contra War, books about the years she spent in Nicaragua and Honduras, 1981 to 1989.


Demetria Martínez was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She is an activist, writing coach and author of eight books, including The Block Captain's Daughter, winner of an American Book Award. Her publications include Confessions of a Berlitz-Tape Chicana and Mother Tongue, which is based in part on her 1988 trial for allegedly smuggling Salvadoran refugees into the United States as part of the Sanctuary Movement. A reporter at the time, covering the movement, she faced a potential 25 years in prison. A jury acquitted her on First Amendment grounds. Martínez is the 2011 recipient of the Luis Leal Award for Distinction in Chicano/Latino Literature.

Alejandro Murguia

Alejandro Murguía is the author of Southern Front and This War Called Love (both winners of the American Book Award). He is a founding member and the first director of The Mission Cultural Center. He was a founder of the Roque Dalton Cultural Brigade, and co-editor of Volcán: Poetry from Central America. He is currently a professor of Latina/Latino Studies at San Francisco State University. He is the author of the short story "The Other Barrio" which first appeared in the anthology San Francisco Noir and was recently filmed in the Mission District. In Spring 2014 City Lights Books released his new book Stray Poems. He is the sixth San Francisco Poet Laureate and the first Latino poet to hold the position.

 Sergio Ramierez

Sergio Ramírez is a leading Nicaraguan author, politician, journalist, and lawyer. In 1977 he was the head of a group of prominent intellectuals who supported the struggle of the Frente Sandinista de Liberación Nacional (FSLN) against the dictatorship of Anastasio Somoza Debayle. With the triumph of the Revolution in 1979, he became part of the Junta of the Government of National Reconstruction, and was elected Vice-President of Nicaragua in 1984. Ramírez’ extensive work of more than fifty-four books includes novels, short stories collections, numerous essays, and  books of historical testimony. A major voice in Latin American literature, Ramírez has won many awards and distinctions, among them, Premio Latinoamericano de Cuento 1971, Premio Internacional Dashiell Hammett de Novela 1990, Orden Carlos Fonseca, FSLN 1990, Caballero de las Artes y de las Letras 1993, Premio Internacional de Novela Alfaguara 1998, Laure Bataillon Prize to the Best Foreign Novel published in France 1998, Casa de las Américas Prize in Narrative 2000, Presidential Medal Pablo Neruda 2004, Premio José Donoso 2011, and Oficial de las Artes y de Las Letras 2013.

René Vargas-Zamora

René Vargas-Zamora is a graduate student at National Taiwan University, studying for a Master’s Degree in agricultural economics.  He received a B.A. in applied economics (focused on territorial economic development) from Universidad Centroamericana (UCA) in Managua, Nicaragua.  He is also a photographer, an avid reader, loves to travel and explore natural surroundings and different cultures, and writes about his experiences in journals, stories, and poems. 

CINDY BIO Cindy Venerio is a senior studying the history of Latin America at USF.  She has worked with Divisadero since her freshmen year, taking a break last semester when she was studying abroad in Buenos Aires. During her travels in South America she gained more interest in the region, especially the diverse cultures found there. After graduation she hopes to find a career in the legal field and attend law school someday.
Daisy Zamora Daisy Zamora is one of the most prominent figures in contemporary Latin American poetry. Her work is known for its uncompromising voice and wide-ranging subject matter that dwells on the details of daily life while encompassing human rights, politics, revolution, feminist issues, art, history, and culture. She has received literary awards, among them the Mariano Fiallos Gil National Poetry Prize of Nicaragua. Her poetry, essays and articles have been published throughout Latin America, the Caribbean, Canada, the U.S., Europe, Asia and Australia, translated into more than twenty languages. During Nicaragua’s Sandinista Revolution, she was a combatant for the FSLN (Sandinista National Liberation Front), and became the voice and program director for clandestine Radio Sandino during the final 1979 Sandinista offensive. She served as Vice Minister of Culture for the Revolutionary Government.