Profile of Carmen Boullosa @ The Modern Novel

Carmen Boullosa, Mexican novelist, poet and playwright, “one of the most dazzling of Latin America’s new generation,” according to Publishers Weekly, has had literally scores of books, essays and dissertations written about her work, has received rave reviews from critics on several continents. “As playful as a mischievous Puck,” says Elena Poniatowska; “a heart-stopping command of language,” says Alma Guillermoprieto; additional praise – from the likes of Carlos Fuentes, Alvaro Mutis, Jean Franco and Carlos Monsiváis – can be found on her website (, along with mention of her various awards (including the prestigious Xavier Villaurrutia Prize, a Guggenheim, the Liberaturpreis of Frankfurt, the Anna Seghers and the Café Gijón Prizes. Her twelve novels have been translated into Italian, Dutch, German, French, Chinese, and (four of them) in English. Cleopatra Dismounts (from Grove) “lavishly reimagines the life of the legendary Cleopatra of Egypt in a daring intermingling of fantasy and history,” according to one reviewer. She has recently published Texas (at Deep Vellum Publisher).

Boullosa’s many plays have had major critical and popular success -- Los Totoles won the Mexico City critics Play of the Year prize and Cocinar hombres ran for three years. She ran her own theater company as well. She also writes (and prints) art books, mixing image and text, which have been exhibited at (and are in the collections of) the Museo de Arte Moderno de la Ciudad de México, the Sala Pablo Ruiz Picasso del Museo de Arte Moderno de Madrid, and the New York Public Library owns a full collection. With Salman Rushdie, Boullosa co-founded the Mexico City House for Persecuted Writers at Mexico City. She has also had a distinguished teaching career – holding visiting appointments at San Diego State, Georgetown, La Sorbonne (Alfonso Reyes Chair), NYU (Andrés Bello Chair), Columbia and Blaise Pascal, and was a professor at CUNY City College. For the TV show, Nueva York, at CUNY-TV, that explores the rich textures of the Hispanic cultural life in that city, she has won five NY-EMMYS.