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Great Authors of Our Time - Elena Poniatowska
Novelist, essayist, and journalist Elena Poniatowska is one of Mexico's leading and most influential literary figures. She was born in Paris in 1933, and since 1942, has lived in her mother's native Mexico, where the family moved after the fall of France.

In 1954, she began to work as an interviewer for the daily newspaper, Excelsior. After a few months, Poniatowska switched to Novedades, where she began to publish the kind of testimonies of the daily life of ordinary people for which she would become renowned. She was honoured with the Mexican National Journalism Prize in 1978.

Her first work of fiction, Lilus Kikus, appeared in 1954. In 1961, she published a book of selected interviews, Palabras cruzadas (Crossed Words), and in 1963, Todo empezo en domingo (It All Began on Sunday), which consists of testimonial chronicles of how lower-class Mexicans spend their Sundays. Not even the author could have anticipated the effect that this first testimonial book, which effectively gave a voice to the working classes, was to have. Since then she has published three works of testimonial collage: La noche de Tlatelolco (1971; Massacre in Mexico, 1975), Fuerte es el silencio (1980; Silence is Strong), and, most recently, Nada, nadi (1988; Nothing, Nobody: The Voices of the Mexico City Earthquake, 1995) to the unanimous acclaim of critics and the public. With the Spanish publication of Massacre in Mexico, Poniatowska demonstrated her social commitment and courage by making public the most piercing denunciation of the government's violence against opposition. Her other testimonial works are Hasta no verte, Jesús mío (1969; Here's to you kid, Jesus) and Gaby Brimmer (1979), co-authored with the protagonist who has cerebral palsy .

Her epistolary novel, Querido Diego, te abraza Quiela (1976; Dear Diego, 1986), met with great success. She has also published two volumes of short stories-Los cuentos de Lilus Kikus (1967; The Stories of Lilus Kikus) and De noche vienes (1985; You Come By Night)-and several books of interviews. Her last novel, Tinísima (1992), is based on the tempestuous life of photographer Tina Modotti. In addition, Poniatowska has written the text for various books of photographs by Mexican women, among them Juchitán de las mujeres (1989; Juchitán, A Town of Women), and for Frida Kahlo: The Camera Seduced.

In the last year, she has published five more books, including one on Octavio Paz and another on the Mexican painter, Juan Soriano. Her books have been translated into many languages worldwide.



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