Carmen Boullosa

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Carmen Boullosa (born September 4, 1954 in Mexico City, Mexico) is a leading Mexican poet, novelist and playwright. Her work is eclectic and difficult to categorize, but it generally focuses on the issues of feminism and gender roles within a Latin American context. Her work has been praised by a number of prominent writers, including Carlos Fuentes, Alma Guillermoprieto and Elena Poniatowska, as well as publications such as Publishers Weekly. She has won a number of awards for her works, and has taught at universities such as Georgetown University, Columbia University and New York University (NYU), the City College of New York and Blaise Pascal at Clermont Ferrand. She has lectured at universities in a dozen countries. She has two children—Maria Aura and Juan Aura—with her former partner, Alejandro Aura—and is now married to Mike Wallace, the Pulitzer Prize–winning co-author of Gotham: A History of New York City to 1898.


Boullosa has written seventeen novels. Though all different from one another, on theme and form, Boullosa´s style has s distinctive personality.

One of her novels, Son vacas, somos puercos (1991, translated into English in 1997 as They're Cows, We're Pigs) is narrated in the first person by an old man looking back on his life. He was kidnapped and sent from his native France on a slave ship to the West Indies at the age of thirteen. To gain his freedom, he joins a group of pirates (or "pigs"), allowing Boullosa to compare two very different societal and political systems—traditional Europe and carefree pirates. In La milagrosa, a novel written in 1993, the protagonist is a girl who has the power to heal the sick and perform other miracles while she sleeps. She falls in love with Aurelio Jimenez, a detective sent to discredit her, even though she fears that her powers will disappear if she spends time with people. It ends ambiguously, leaving an unsolved murder without closure. Duerme, another popular work published in 1995, tells the story of Claire, a French woman whose mother was a prostitute. Attempting to escape the same profession, she arrives in Spain dressed as a man. To save a subject of the Spanish king, she reveals herself as a female and prepares to take his punishment of death by hanging. Beforehand, however, she is wounded in the left breast and her blood is replaced by water from the lakes of Mexico City. The water's magical powers make it possible for her to survive the punishment.

She is also famous for her Teatro herético (1987), a compilation of three parodies in play format—Aura y las once mil vírgenes, Cocinar hombres, and Propusieron a María. The first tells the story of a man called by God to "deflower" eleven thousand virgins in his life, so that heaven's overpopulation problem might be addressed, since the women will have to wait in purgatory for a time. The man then uses his sexual encounters as material for his television commercials and becomes a successful advertising agent. Cocinar hombres tells the story of two girls who find themselves to have become young adult witches overnight, so as to fly over the earth tempting but not satisfying men. Finally, the third play satirically recounts the conversation between Joseph and Mary before Mary gives birth to Jesus and ascends to heaven.


Hamartia o Hacha, Editorial Hiperión-UANL, 2015.

La patria insomne, Editorial Hiperión, Madrid, 2012.

Allucinata e Selvaggia, Poesia scelte 1989-2004. A cura di Marta Canfield. Ed. Lietocolle, Florence, Italy, 2008.

Salto de mantarraya (y otros dos), Fondo de Cultura Económica, México, 2004.

La bebida, Fondo de Cultura Económica, Mexico, 2002.

Salto de mantarraya, illustr. Phillip Hugues, trans. Psiche Hugues, The Old School Press, England, 2002.

Agua, con dibujos de Juan Soriano, Taller Martín Pescador, México, 2000. Jardín Elíseo, Elyssian Garden, trad. Psiche Hugues, litografías de Phillip Hughes, Monterrey, México, 1999.

La Delirios, Fondo de Cultura Económica, Mexico City, 1998.

Niebla, Taller Martín Pescador, México, 1997.

Envenenada: antología personal, Fondo Editorial Pequeña Venecia, Venezuela, 1993.

Soledumbre, Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana (Mexico City), 1992.

La salvaja, FCE, México, 1989.

La salvaja, Taller Martín Pescador, México, 1988.

Abierta, Delegación Venustiano Carranza (Mexico), 1983.

Lealtad, illust. Magali Lara, Taller Martín Pescador, Mexico City, 1981.

Ingobernable, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Mexico, 1979.

El hilo olvida, La Máquina de Escribir, Mexico City, 1979.


Texas, Editorial Alfaguara, México. English translation: TEXAS, translated by Samantha Schnee, Deep Vellum, 2014.

Las paredes hablan, Ediciones Siruela, Madrid, Autumn, 2010.

El complot de los románticos, Ediciones Siruela, Madrid, 2009.

La virgen y el violín, Ediciones Siruela, Madrid, 2008.

El velázquez de París, Ediciones Siruela, Madrid, 2007.

La novela perfecta, Editorial Alfaguara, México, 2006.

La otra mano de Lepanto, Ediciones Siruela, Madrid, 2005. Fondo de Cultura Económica, México, 2005. A Outra Mâo de Lepanto, translated to the Portuguese by Paulo César Thomaz, Editora Palindromo, Sao Paolo, Brasil, September, 2006.

De un salto descabalga la reina, Editorial Debate, Madrid, 2002. English version: Cleopatra Dismounts, Grove Press, 2003, trans. Geoff Hargreaves.

Treinta años, Alfaguara, 1999. English version: Leaving Tabasco, Grove Press, New York, 2001, trans. Geoff Hargraves.

Cielos de la tierra, Alfaguara, 1997.

Quizá, Monte Avila Editores, Caracas, 1995.

Duerme, Alfaguara, Madrid, 1994. German: Der fremde Tod, edition Suhrkamp, 1994, trans. Susanne Lange. French: Duerme, L’eau des lacs du temps jadis, L’atalante, 1997, and Le serpent a plumes 1999, trans. by Claude Fell. Italian: Dorme, Ed. Le Lettere, 2000, trans. Antonella Ciabatti. Dutch: De Schone Slaapster, Arena, Amsterdam, 1995, trans. Aline Glastra von Loon. Will soon appear in Arab. La milagrosa, Ediciones ERA, 1993. English version: The Miracle Worker, Jonathan Cape, London, 1994, trans. Amanda Hopkinson. German: Die Wundertäterin, edition Surhkamp, 1993, trans. Susanne Lange. Italian: La Miracolosa, Vallecchi Editore, 1996, and La Milagrosa, Feltrinelli, 2001, trans. Pino Cacucci.

El Médico de los piratas: bucaneros y filibusteros en el Caribe, Ediciones Siruela, Madrid, 1992.

Llanto: novelas imposibles, Ediciones ERA, 1992.

Son vacas, somos puercos: filibusteros del mar Caribe, Ediciones ERA, Mexico City, 1991, English version: They're Cows, We're Pigs, Grove Press, New York, 1997, trans. Lee Chambers. German: Sir sind Kühe, wir sind Schweine, edition Surhkamp, trans. Erna Pfeiffer, 1991; French: Eux les vaches, nous les porcs, Le serpent a plumes, Paris, 2002, trans. Claude Fell.

Antes, Vuelta, Mexico City, 1989. German version: Verfolgt, trans. Susanne Lange, Aufbau-Verlag, Berlin, 1996. Chinese: ed. 1999. French: Avant, Les Allusifs, trans. Sabine Coudassot-Ramírez, Quebec, Canadá, 2002. Before, translated by Peter Bush, Deep Vellum, forthcoming 2016.

Mejor desaparece, Océano, Mexico City, 1987. English version: Just disappear, trans. Christi Rodgers, VDM Verlag, 2009.


El fantasma y el poeta, Ediciones Sexto Piso, México, 2007 –reprinted in Spain, 2007.


Los Totoles, Editorial Alfaguara, México, 2000.

Mi versión de los hechos, Arte y Cultura ediciones, México, 1997.

Pesca de piratas. Radioplay. Audiobook, Producción de Radio Educación, México, 1993.

Teatro Herético: Propusieron a Maria: diálogo imposible en un acto, Cocinar Hombres, Aura y las once mil vírgenes. Universidad Autónoma de Puebla, Puebla, Mexico, 1987.

Cocinar hombres: obra de teatro íntimo, Ediciones La Flor, Mexico City, 1985.


Las paredes hablan, dir. Antonio Zavala, with Kuno Becker, María Aura, Héctor Bonilla, Mario Zaragoza, Miguel Rodarte, among others. Production: Teté Films, producers Anna Roth, Andrew Fierberg, Juan Aura. Mexico, 2014.


Sólo para muchachos, Alfaguara, 1997.

La Midas, CIDCLI, Mexico City, 1986.


Co-authored with Mike Wallace, Narco History: How Mexico and the United States Jointly Created the Mexican Drug War, OR Books, New York, 2015.

When Mexico Recaptures Texas, trans. Nicolas Kanellos - bilingual-, Arte Público Press, Texas, 2015.[2]

Azúcar negra, Fondo de Cultura Económica, México, 2013.

Rosario Castellanos: mujer de letras, Edición especial, Congreso Internacional La experiencia internacional de las mujeres, Conaculta, México, 2012.

Cuando fui mortal, Editorial Cal y Arena, México, November, 2010.

Papeles irresponsables, Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana, Mexico City, 1989.


Doña Bárbara, Rómulo Gallegos, Prólogo de Carmen Boullosa, Editorial Siruela, Madrid, 2010.

Violenta pureza, (with Magali Lara and Eduardo Vázquez Martín), Consejo Nacional de Recursos para la Atención de la Juventud, 1988.

Ramos Sucre, Material de Lectura, UNAM, Mexico City, 1997.

Lo propio en lo ajeno, Centro de la Imagen, Mexico City, 1977.

EDITED BOOKS and magazines (selection):

The Mexican Drug-War, Carmen Boullosa, Guest Editor, Words Without Borders, March 2012.

Special Nueva York Issue, Translation Review 81. Guest Editors, Carmen Boullosa and Regina Galasso. Publication of the Center for TranslationStudies, University of Texas at Dallas, 2011. Latin American Immigration and Culture, Review Magazine, Issue 77: The Americas Society, 2012.

Todos los amores, antología de poesía amorosa, selección y prólogo de Carmen Boullosa, Editorial Alfaguara, México, 2000. More than 10 printings.

ESSAYS IN BOOKS (selection):

“Notes on Writing in Spanish in New York,” in Nueva York 1613-1945, edited by Edward Sullivan. Scala (2010). [Exhibit catalog].

“Marilyn Monroe´s Panties,” in How They See Us: Meditations on America, edited by James Atlas. Atlas Books. 2009.

'FICTION AND POETRY SELECTED FOR ANTHOLOGIES' - selection: Shapard, Thomas, Ray Gonzalez and Luisa Valenzuela, Sudden Fiction Latino: Short-Short Stories from the United States and Latin America, W. W. Norton & Company, 2010. Casa de Luciérnagas, Anthology. Compilation of the work of 35 women Spanish speakers poets from Spain and Latin America, compiled by Mario Campana. Bruguera, Madrid, Spain. March, 2007. 'Cent Ans de Littèrature Mexicaine, par Philippe Ollé-Laprune, Éditions de la Différence, Paris, March, 2007. Rodolfo Fonseca, David Huerta y Gerardo Rod, Poesía a cucharadas. Antología de la poesía mexicana del siglo XX. Poesía e infancia. Ediciones S.M., México, 2003. Manuel Francisco Reina, Mujeres de carne y verso. Antología poética femenina en lengua española del siglo XX. La esfera de los libros, Madrid, 2002. Mónica de la Torre & Michael Wiegers (eds): Reversible Monuments. Contemporary Mexican Poetry. Copper Canyon Press, 2002. Gabriela De Beer, Contemporary Mexican Women Writers, University of Texas Press, 1999. H. Adler, K. Röttger, Theaterstücke lateinamerikanischer Autorinnen ( Aura und die elftausend Jungfrauen , Aura y las once mil vírgenes, trans Bernd Kage ). Verveuert, 1998. Juvenal Acosta, Light From A Nearby Window, Contemporary Mexican Poetry. Poetry by Alberto Blanco, Carmen Boullosa, Ricardo Castillo, Lucha Corpi, David Huerta, Elva Macias, Silvia Tomasa Rivera, and more; named a Choice "Outstanding Academic book" for CityLights, 1995. Bilingual text. Forrest Gander, Mouth to Mouth: Poems by Twelve Contemporary Mexican Women. Milkweed Editions. 1993. Erna Pfeiffer, AMORica latina. Mein Kontinent - mein Körper. Erotische Texte Lateinamerikanischer Autorinnen. Wien: Wiener Frauenverlag, 1991, S. 13-24. George McWhirter, Where Words Like Monarchs Fly. Anthology of Mexican Poetry in Translation. (A Cross-Generational Anthology of Mexican Poets (1934-1955) in translations from North of the 49th Parallel). Anvil Press, Canada, 1989.

WORK IN JOURNALS AND NEWSPAPERS -(in English) selection-: • “Angel´s Sound, Mexico City”, trans. Catherine Hammond, The American Poetry Review (January 2013). • “Juan Pascoes Mexico City, A Horde of Poets”, Princeton University Library Chronicle (2010). • “On Ana Teresa Torres”, Bomb Magazine (Winter 2009). • “On Cristina Peri Rossi”, Bomb Magazine (Autum (2009). • “A Garden of Monsters”, The Nation (March 21, 2008). • “The Ghost and the Poet”, trans. Samantha Schnee, Bomb Magazine (Autumn 2008). • “Their boots are made for Walking: El Taller de la Gráfica Popular”. Words without borders, The Online Magazine for International Literature (February, 2008). • “Introduction”, Review, Issue 77, Magazine of the Americas Society (Boullosa was also the Guest Editor of this Issue), New York (2008). • “On Gabriel Orozco”, Bomb Magazine, New York (January, 2007). • “Bolaño in Mexico”, The Nation, New York (April 27, 2007). • “Better Dissappear”, The Reading Room, Issue 7, New York (2007). • “Artist-Citizen”, Columbia Record, "At Issue", number 3, Columbia University, November 19, 2006. • “Dead Souls” (Essay-Review on Juan Rulfo), The Nation (June 5, 2006). • “The Perfect Novel”, translated by Samantha Schnee, www.wordswithoutborders (February, 2006). • “Lepanto´s Other Hand”, translated by Samantha Schnee, www.wordswithoutborders (June, 2006). • “Guilty of Popularity” (Op ed piece), The New York Times (April 19, 2005). • “An Impossible Story”, Violations (stories of love by Latin American Women), edited and translated by Psiche Hugues, University of Nebraska Press (October 2004). • “Seeing is Believing”, trans. Arthur Mac Adam, Open House: Writers Redefine Home, edited by Mark Doty, Graywolf Press, 2003. • “On Roberto Bolaño”, Bomb Magazine (2002).


Nominated: IMPAC, 2015 (TEXAS)
Nominated: PEN Translation Award (TEXAS)
Typographical Era Award, for her novel TEXAS, translated into English by Samantha Schnee.
Premio de Novela Café Gijón, 2009.
Cullman Center Fellow, 2001.
Anna Seghers Preis, 1998.
Liberatur Preis, 1996.
Guggenheim Fellowship, 1992.
Premio Xavier Villaurrutia, 1989.


  • Contemporary Authors Online, Thomson Gale, 2004

External links