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UNG Reads welcomes visiting Cuban author Daína Chaviano

Daina Chaviano
Award-winning author Daína Chaviano will visit the University of North Georgia on Oct. 25 as part of the UNG Reads program. Chaviano has written more than a dozen novels, including "The Island of Eternal Love," which earned the 2006 Florida Book Awards Gold Medal for Best Spanish Language Book and was translated into 25 languages. Photo courtesy of Liliam Dominguez.

Award-winning author Daína Chaviano hates when literature is boring. So the Cuban native approaches her novels on two levels to keep her readers interested.

"On the first level, I work with the adventure and mystery of the story," Chaviano said. "I want to know what is going on with the character and what the character is going to do next."

On the second level, she wants readers to question their perceptions.

Chaviano, author of more than a dozen novels, plans to pose those questions to University of North Georgia (UNG) students when she visits Wednesday, Oct. 25. She will speak at 6 p.m. in room 232 of the Health and Natural Sciences building on the UNG Dahlonega Campus. Her presentation will be video-conference to the four other campuses:

  • Gainesville: John Harrison Hosch Library, Room 134
  • Cumming: Room 246
  • Oconee: Student Resource Center Room 522
  • Blue Ridge: Room 107

Dr. Andrea Perez Mukdsi, an assistant professor of Spanish at UNG, invited Chaviano to UNG.

Daína Chaviano Presentation

When: 6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 25 
Where: Room 232, Health and Natural Sciences Building, Dahlonega Campus, 159 Sunset Drive, Dahlonega
Cost: Free
More Info: UNG Reads Facebook page or Daína Chaviano's website

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"She is one of the most well-known fantasy fiction writers in the Spanish language," Perez Mukdsi said. "She has an extensive multicultural background, so she can reach students focused on Latin American culture or Spanish studies and the American audience."

Perez Mukdsi incorporated Chaviano's book "Extraños Testimonios" into her Spanish class about Women Writers of Short Fiction. Two English classes also are using two of Chaviano's short stories.

"Her work, especially her last book, uses fantastic elements to question painfully human issues such as the woman object, the rebel woman, the writer's conflicts with the creative act, the social reality, and the fragility of the psyche," Perez Mukdsi said. "Her writings merge the intensity of poetry and the horror of the uncanny in a unique way."

Chaviano's visit is in conjunction with UNG Reads, an initiative intended to promote literacy and unity in the region by collaborating with local libraries, youth organizations, nonprofit groups, and businesses.

Instilling a love of reading is a concept Chaviano advocates. She believes literature in general and fiction in particular can open a person's horizons to new worlds.

"When you meet different characters and different geographical places and cultural environments, then you can understand the world much better," Chaviano said. "You can make better choices because you see more options."

Chaviano has chosen several options throughout her life. After earning a bachelor’s degree in English at the University of Havana, she worked as a literary and cultural consultant, a television screenwriter and an author in Cuba.

In 1986, her book "Fairy Tales for Adults" was released. It set her standard style: science fiction in which parapsychology, the supernatural, and magic, in combination with the complexity of human relations, invites readings with a philosophical or social background, according to Chaviano's website.

In May 1991, Chaviano moved to Miami and worked as a translator, reporter, and columnist for the Spanish language newspaper, El Nuevo Herald. Then she quit her job to write novels. This resulted in "The Occult Side of Havana" series with the third novel, "Man, Woman, and Hunger," winning the Azorín Prize for Best Novel in 1998, one of the most important awards in Spanish literature.

Chaviano continued writing and receiving accolades. In 2006, Random House Mondadori in Spain published "The Island of Eternal Love," the fourth volume of "The Occult Side of Havana" series. It earned the 2006 Florida Book Awards Gold Medal for Best Spanish Language Book and was translated into 25 languages, becoming the most widely translated Cuban novel of all time.

The day after Chaviano's visit, she will participate in the Fantastic Women Marathon Read from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. in the Hoag Great Room. It will feature several short stories of science-fiction, fantasy, gothic, and speculative fiction by different female writers from all around the world in their original language such as Arabic, Korean, French, German, Spanish, Japanese, Chinese and English. English translations will be provided.

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