The Writing University conducts is a series of interviews with writers while they are in Iowa City participating in the International Writing Program's fall residency. We sit down with authors to ask about their work, their process and their descriptions of home.
Today we are speaking with Gabriela Román Fuentes, is a playwright, stage director, and actor, whose plays have been staged throughout Mexico.
1. Do you have a plan or project in mind for your time at the residency?
Yes. I mean, it is a flexible plan, but I am working on a book of short stories. I usually write plays, so it is a new challenge. I am also working in a play about acid attacks against women. It will be a play for young audiences so it is also a big challenge.
2. What does your daily practice look like for your writing? Do you have a certain time when you write? Any specific routine?
In Mexico I don't really have a routine. Mexico City can be very chaotic as my schedules. I write when I can. Here that I have more flexible schedules and time, I have been able to write more routinely: in the mornings after breakfast and a couple of hours at nights.
3. What are you currently reading right now? Are you reading for research or pleasure?
I'm reading some poems of Wislawa Szymborska, a great Polish writer and "Emergencias: Doce cuentos iberoamericanos", a book with 12 short stories of Latin American writers. For me reading is almost always a mixture between research and pleasure. So I am reading those books for both reasons. However, sometimes I do read just for pleasure, specially before sleep. It is like an strategy to calm down my brain and body, also to escape from reality. Even though that doesn't always work.
4. What is one thing the readers and writers of Iowa City should know about you and your work?
My parents used to call me preguntona (inquisitive) when I was a child. I was always making questions. I still do. Furthermore, I can be pretty nosy. My writing have always been a way to answer questions, even if I never have answers. As a matter of fact, more and more questions emerge during and after writing. My work try to answer questions about feminity, identity, violence, memory and human rights. I'd like to think that my writing is also a laboratory where I can explore new possibilities, not only in poetic and artistic terms, but also in humans and social terms. That is to say, my plays make questions about what other possibilities do we have to relate to each other, or with our planet too.
5. Tell us a bit about where you are from - share some favorite details about your home.
My home city is Cuautla, a little city a couple of hours away from Mexico City. One of my favorite things about Mexico is the mild weather. I was born in Cuernavaca, in the state of Morelos, who is called the city of eternal spring. And it is true, almost always true. Sometimes It can be really hot, but then you can enjoy another of my favorite mexican things: ice cream of a huge variety, with all the delicious and various mexican fruits.
Thank you Gabriela Román Fuentes!
Gabriela ROMÁN (poetry, fiction, translation, drama; Mexico) is a playwright, stage director, and actor, whose plays have been staged throughout Mexico. In 2018, Román won the Theater Exhibition of Morelos State and was a finalist for the National Young Drama Prize for her play Iridescentes; Cósmica was a finalist for the 2015 ASSITEJ-Spain Theatre for Young Audiences International Prize. Her work has been translated into English and Portuguese, and anthologized. Román participates courtesy of an endowed gift from William B. Quarton.