Ingrid Rojas Contreras
Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers 2018 Pick; San Francisco Immigrant Rights Commission 2018 Immigrant Leadership Award; Missouri Review’s 2016 Miller Audio Prize in Prose Winner; 2015 Mary Tanenbaum Award for Nonfiction Winner.
Memorable… absorbing… arresting. — New York Times Review of Books
Original, politically daring, and passionately written… Fruit of the Drunken Tree is the coming-of-age female empowerment story we need in 2018. — Vogue
First things first: Fruit of the Drunken Tree is one of the most dazzling and devastating novels I’ve read in a long time. — San Francisco Chronicle
An immigrant story… thoroughly lived and felt… Make room on your shelves for a writer whose debut promises many more. — Julia Alvarez, author of How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents
This is storytelling as a heroic act, and Ingrid Rojas Contreras is a heroine that literature desperately needs. — Affinity Konar, author of Mischling
Brava! I was swept up by this story. — Sandra Cisneros, author of The House on Mango Street
Fruit of the Drunken Tree casts an irresistible spell, summoning us into the fierce, perilous world of two young girls in a nation on the brink. — Robin Wasserman, author of Girls on Fire
I grew up in Bogotá, Colombia, the daughter of an ex-communist intellectual and a psychic from a line of seers; and am attracted to politics and magic like moth to a light. In my essays and stories I investigate the shifting grounds of knowledge involved in understanding the world and the self. My novel Fruit of the Drunken Tree is a story of political conflict born into the lives of children, and explores issues of class, privilege, luck, and gender and how girls and women navigate these landmines of powerlessness. It is an immigration story, drawing on the complex experience of crossing a border, where the resounding fullness of the self is also revealed to be a cavity. English isn't my mother tongue, but it is the one I choose as an immigrant whose sense of home has relied for many years on unbelonging. Both in my writing and life I am impressed by what can be translated and what is irredeemably untranslatable. I gravitate toward stories that are marginal: I have written about losing my memory after a bike accident, interviewed former guerrilla members, and am currently working on a family memoir about my grandfather, a curandero who it was said had the power to move clouds.
My lecture topics range from literature in migration, the specter of political memory and trauma, and women’s voices in fiction and oral storytelling traditions. I offer workshops on writing fiction and memoir, and craft talks on writing between languages, plotting the historical novel, and developing creative strategies for long-term projects.
Ingrid Rojas Contreras is the author of Fruit of the Drunken Tree (Doubleday, 2018). She was born and raised in Bogotá, Colombia. Her essays and short stories have appeared in Nylon, Los Angeles Review of Books, Electric Literature, Guernica, and Huffington Post, among others. She received fellowships from Bread Loaf Writer's Conference, and the San Francisco Writer's Grotto. She currently teaches writing to immigrant high school students as part of a San Francisco Arts Commission initiative bringing artists into public schools. She is the book columnist for KQED.