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Thursday, October 6, 2022

"The hard thing is counting the wars you lose": Latino from North Carolina receives award for his book

Oswaldo Estrada was just a child when he learned to live with violence. Those were the days when the armed conflict between the army and the Peruvian Communist Party-Sendero Luminoso in the 1980s shook the Peruvian community from gut to hair: living without water, without electricity and always on the alert for attack sensitized him to the point where he turned that deep fear that marked his childhood into a megaphone to give voice to the stories stuck in the limbo of uncertainty. Born in California, USA, Oswaldo was only four months old when he moved to Peru with his family as it was his parents’ country of origin. There he witnessed firsthand all the vicissitudes described by the Uruguayan writer Eduardo Galeano in Las venas open de América Latina (1971) and suffered some of the forms of terror expressed by Slavoj Žižek in Violence (2007). “There is something that has shaped me a lot,” says the now 45-year-old writer in an interview with La Noticia. “As a Peruvian, I lived in Peru at the time of the violence in the 1980s and early 1990s. All of us living in this situation of internal war have something that shapes us and stays there.”

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Hunger, a global health problem affecting North Carolina In this context of systematic chaos, Oswaldo returned to the United States at the age of 14, already a teenager. And so a tidal wave of new challenges was unleashed, which also shaped his life. “Having that immigration experience, learning English, rebuilding your life, making other friends, a different way of being yourself, being Latino was a fundamental experience for me,” explains Estrada. “It’s about losing a bit of your identity, that war you’re losing but winning at the same time. All of us who come to this country or anywhere else are a little bit from here and a little bit from there. We know how to live in this in-between place.”

North Carolina, his place of balance Against all odds, Estrada rose to prominence. Barely arrived from Peru, he settled in California, where his mother and siblings still live. His first job was in Washington, when the opportunity suddenly arose to move to North Carolina. And there he found his balance. “I never imagined living here, on the other side of the United States. I’ve been here for more than 15 years, it’s the place I’ve lived the longest. When we arrived we moved from one place to another. I really feel at home here in many ways,” he says. This might interest you:

43% of undocumented immigrants in North Carolina don’t speak English: “There are a lot of Latinos and that helps.” He is currently a professor of Latin American literature at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he teaches his students everything they made have he been a respected writer. As you teach, try to instill in them a genuine passion for using words to express those feelings that are evoked by the relentless. “The Latin American who leaves his country feels this nostalgia that reminds you of your home when you were a kid, suddenly for two seconds you want to be that kid. In your neighborhood. That’s something that shapes us forever, this feeling of loss that you later transform into joy,” explains the professor. “I teach a freshman seminar for newcomers at Chapel Hill, Accent Writing. It’s a course I teach in English, but it’s Latin American or Latin American literature in translation. They are very young, some belong to the first generation whose parents did not study. A teacher’s mission is to try to guide students to create their own dreams. And carrying the frustrated family dreams is usually a heavy burden that many of the new generations of Latinos in the United States are carrying on their backs, arguing that they must respond to the demands of their parents, who have done everything to help nurturing them in the midst of another culture sometimes forces them to live a life that is not at all what they wanted.

“‘I have to be the next family doctor.’ Maybe it’s not what you want to be. Our mission, at least mine, is to help them find their way and accept who they are and learn to be proud of their roots. Too often we put our heritage aside to try to conform to what is expected of us. That we are what we are. It takes time to get to this point, but as teachers we are very privileged to be able to accompany and guide them,” affirms the teacher. How did you win the gold medal for best storybook in Spanish? Thanks to this constant interest in defending Latinos, Estrada has published books like The Secret of the Trains (2018) and three collections of stories: Emergency Lights (2019), Las Locas Illusions and Other Migration Stories (2020), and more like The Lost Wars ( 2021), which recently earned him the gold medal for Best Story Book in Spanish at the 2022 International Latino Book Awards. “The International Latino Book Awards are the premier awards in the United States for short stories that we write in Spanish or English and we know each other as Latinos,” says the award-winning writer. “An award is always surprising because you write, because you like to write, maybe you imagine a reading audience, you never imagine that you’ll win the award and it’s a great honor to be a finalist. Receiving the gold medal, receiving first prize, is a wonderful thank you.”

It may interest you: Latino youth attempt suicide more than any other group in North Carolina. Unfortunately, Oswaldo Estrada was unable to attend the awards ceremony in Los Angeles, California. It was like he had to wait a few hours of gnawing uncertainty before finally knowing the end result and bursting with joy. “I was about to sleep and got a notification from Latino Book and I slowly entered the site for fear I didn’t want to go there. When I saw my name I started screaming, it was very exciting. It’s an affirmation that makes me think we need to keep working, we need to keep writing. If you’re passionate about something, you have to put your faith in it and contribute,” he says with a smile.

What is the book The Lost Wars by Oswaldo Estrada about? The writer of Peruvian origin wrote the stories that made up The Lost Wars over more than a decade as it is a collection of experiences that together form a shocking work that depicts the resilience of the Latino community with all its dwellings . “I’ve been writing the stories for several years. You write half a story and leave it at that. It doesn’t convince you at all. You don’t know what language you’re going to use to say it. What unites them are the characters, they are immigrants clinging to life. Many coming to the United States or Europe from Latin America; There are many trying to find better jobs or opportunities. I decided to put The Lost Wars on it because it’s easy to count the things accomplished. We always post the wars you win on Facebook and Instagram, the hard part is counting the wars you lose. And as an immigrant, you keep losing, you try to rebuild your life. With your things that you left behind. The book is about that, about the small or big wars that you lose every day. In many cases there is a light or an exit door,” he explains. Estrada has also edited the volume Incurables. Tales of suffering and evil (2020), with twenty Latin American authors living in this country. He also won two International Latino Book Awards in 2020 and the First Testimonial Prize at the International Latino and Latin American Book Fair in Tufts. In 2021 she was a finalist for the Doris Betts Fiction Prize. All this with inspiration as your best ally.

“Inspiration always varies from author to author. In my case, I think a lot about a story before I write the first word. When I walk or take my daughter to school; when I hear someone say something. I believe a lot in those stories that haunt you and cook you. That’s the idea you can work on later. I write a lot by hand, the first draft is always by hand. I always hear that first voice. After that, the creative work takes a long time. take it off, put it on The ending is never clear to me until I’m very far into the story. I never know how I’ll end up.”

Reference from lanoticia

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