Plenary Speakers

Richard Rodriguez


Richard Rodriguez is the author of Hunger of Memory: The Education of Richard Rodriguez (1982), a memoir of his intellectual journey from being a “socially disadvantaged child” as a Spanish-speaking immigrant to being a fully assimilated American in the English-speaking world. Rodriguez’s other titles include Days of Obligation: An Argument with my Mexican Father (1992) and Brown: The Last Discovery of America (2002).  Rodriguez has regularly appeared on The PBS News Hour, and has published in Harper’s Magazine, Mother Jones, and Time. In 2013, he published Darling: A Spiritual Biography on the presence of the ecological symbolism of the desert in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

Andrés Trapiello

180px-andres_trapiello_by_asis_g-_ayerbe-copySpanish poet and writer Andrés Trapiello has published prolifically since his first book of poetry, Junto al agua in 1980. His diary series is renowned as a major contribution to contemporary Spanish literature. Trapiello has earned several awards for his work, including the 2003 Premio de las Letras de la Comunidad de Madrid for his literary contributions, and the Premio de las Letras de la Comunidad de Castilla y León in 2010. In addition to his literary work, Trapiello was a candidate for the Spanish Senate in the 2015 general election.


Speakers and Panelists

Guadalupe Arbona Abascal

Guadalupe Arbona Abascal croppedGuadalupe Arbona Abascal is a professor of Spanish Literature at Universidad Complutense de  Madrid and has served as visiting Professor at Harvard University, the University of Tampere, and the University “Sedes Sapientae” in Lima. Her research focuses on 20th-century and 21st-century Spanish Literature and its relations with other literatures. She is the author of books, articles and book chapters about current Spanish Narrative (Jiménez Lozano, Jesús Carrasco, J.A. González Sainz, among others). Since 1990, she has edited the Literary Creation section for Ediciones Encuentro with nearly a hundred classics of world literature (Flannery O’Connor, Chaim Potok, Ivo Andric, OV Milosz, TS Eliot, etc.). She is a member of Scientific Committees of Pee-Reviewed Journals (Arbor, Amaltea, Relectiones, etc.) She has been director of the Department of ‘Filología Española III’ (UCM) and president of the Association for Research and Teaching ‘Universitas’.

Mark Bosco, S.J.

bosco-clerics-100915-7%5b1%5d-cropped3Mark Bosco is a professor of English and Theology at Loyola University Chicago, and the director of the Joan and Bill Hank Center for the Catholic Intellectual Heritage. His main research focuses on the intersection of religion and art, especially on the 20th-century Catholic literary revival in Britain and North America. He is the author of Graham Greene’s Catholic Imagination (2005), and has written about the religious imagination of artists such as Flannery O’Connor, Francis Poulenc, Margaret Atwood, Denise Levertov, and Shusaku Endo. His most recent work is Revelation and Convergence: Flannery O’Connor and the Catholic Intellectual Tradition (2017). He is a producer and director of the documentary feature film, Flannery O’Connor: Acts of Redemption.

Irene Rodríguez Cachón

Foto IreneRodríguezCachónIrene Rodríguez Cachón holds BAs in Spanish Philology, English Philology, and Comparative Literature and an M.A. in Teaching Spanish as a Foreign/Second Language from the University of Valladolid. In 2013, after carrying out the research of her dissertation at the University of Oxford and La Sapienza Università di Roma, she received an International Ph.D. in Spanish Philology from the University of Valladolid. Since 2016, she has been a Lecturer in Spanish Language and Literature at the Universidad Loyola Andalucía. Prior to joining ULA, she also obtained a four-year research predoctoral scholarship at University of Valladolid and a two-year postdoctoral fellowship at Wilhelms-Universität Münster in collaboration with Instituto Cervantes of Bremen. Irene’s main research interests focus on Spanish Golden Age Literature with special attention to 16th century classical translations and narrative miscellaneous texts. She is currently involved in a national research project that investigates the Siete Partidas of Alfonso X el Sabio, the medieval Spanish civil code.

Elizabeth Coffman

elizabeth_coffman_soc_11-01-2011-croppedElizabeth Coffman is a documentary filmmaker and associate professor of film and digital media at Loyola University Chicago. She writes about avant-garde film, video history, and documentary media, and serves on the editorial board for the Journal of Film and Video. Elizabeth has co-produced documentary films and experimental installations on nation building, climate change, creative writing, and the Jewish ghetto in Venice, Italy with Ted Hardin and their company Long Distance Productions. She is currently completing an NEH-supported documentary on U.S. author Flannery O’Connor.


Gretchen Dobrott

Gretchen Dobrott croppedGretchen Dobrott is a graduate of the Universidad Complutense de Madrid and holds a PhD in English Philology from the National University of Distance Learning, where she was an Assistant Professor for six years. Flannery O’Connor was the subject of her dissertation, entitled, Flannery O’Connor’s Fictional Families in A Good Man Is Hard to Find: A Study of the Implications of Context. She translated the anthology of O’Connor’s stories, Un encuentro tardío con el enemigo, into Spanish, which was published in 2006. For the last eight years, she has worked for the Regional Ministry of Education in Madrid – first as a language consultant for the Bilingual Program and currently as the Director of an in-service teacher-training center.

Fernando Iwasaki

thumbnail_aitor-de-kintana-2016a-croppedFernando Iwasaki (born Lima, 1961) is a writer of fiction, essays, literary criticism and history. He received his PhD in Latin American History from Pablo de Olavide University (Seville). He is now a professor at Universidad Loyola Andalucía, columnist for various newspapers in Spain and Latin America, and author of two novels, six books of essays, seven compilations of chronicles, eight books of short stories, and four historical monographs. In 1996 he won the Conference on Latin American History Grant Award for the best article of Colonial History published in the United States (HAHR 73:4), and in 2014 Blood Bound Books translated his horror flash fiction book Grave Goods. His stories have been included in several anthologies in Spain and Latin America, and his work has been translated into Russian, English, French, Italian, Romanian, Japanesse, Czech, and Korean.

Eduardo Jordá

thumbnail_foto_web_eduardo_jordaEduardo Jordá is a Spanish poet, novelist, and Creative Writing teacher. Born in Palma de Mallorca, Spain, in 1956, he has an MA in Spanish Literature. He has published two novels, three volumes of short stories, four travelogues, several poetry books, and essays. His novels are Pregúntale a la noche (2007), which centers on the life of a Catholic missionary during the civil war between the Hutu and the Tutsi in Burundi, a small country in Central Africa, and La fiebre de Siam (2009), which was inspired by his experiences when suffering dengue fever in a hospital in Northern Thailand. He has also published three volumes of short stories: Orco (2000), Playa de los Alemanes (2006), and Yo vi a Nick Drake (2014).

Esther Navío

Esther NavioEsther Navío received her PhD from the Universidad Complutense de Madrid with a thesis on the creation of intrigue in Antonio Muñoz Molina’s first three novels. She has contributed a number of papers on other authors, such as Álvaro Cunqueiro, Gonzalo Torrente Ballester, Henry James, Patricia Highsmith and Petros Márkaris. She has published two book-length translations into Spanish: Flannery O’Connor’s Mystery and Manners (2007) and Chaim Potok’s The Gift of Asher Lev (2014). Her interest in language and literature has led her to developing learning materials aimed at secondary students both in print and digital environments.

Angela Alaimo O’Donnell

downloadAngela Alaimo O’Donnell teaches English at Fordham University in New York City and serves as Associate Director of Fordham’s Curran Center for American Catholic Studies. Her publications include two chapbooks and four collections of poems, Saint Sinatra (2011), Moving House (2009), Waking My Mother (2013), and Lovers’ Almanac (2015). Her fifth collection, Still Pilgrim is forthcoming in April of 2017 from Paraclete Press. O’Donnell also writes essays on contemporary poetry and is a regular Books & Culture contributor at AMERICA magazine. A memoir, Mortal Blessings, was published in 2014, and her critical biography, Flannery O’Connor: Fiction Fired by Faith (2015), recently won first prize for excellence in publishing from the Association of Catholic Publishers.  Readers may visit her website at http://angelaalaimoodonnell.com/.

Antonio Rivero Taravillo

rivieroAntonio Rivero Taravillo (Melilla, 1963) is a Spanish poet, novelist, critic, award-winning biographer and translator of Yeats, Hopkins, Milton, Pound or Shakespeare. After studying English Language and Literature at the University of Seville he studied Scottish Literature at the University of Edinburgh (SUISS, 1986) and taught himself Gaelic and Irish. From these languages, he has translated a selection of medieval lyrics (Antiguos poemas irlandeses, 2002), the only novel Flann O’Brien wrote in his mother tongue (La boca pobre, 1989) and Liam O’Flaherty’s short story collection Dúil (Deseo, 2012). In addition to this work, he has published several books and poetry collections. Rivero Taravillo is a literary critic and the editor of the poetry magazine Estación Poesía.

Cristina Sánchez-Andrade

Cristina Sanchez-AndradeCristina Sánchez-Andrade (Santiago de Compostela, 1968) has degrees in Law and Mass Media. She is a writer and translator, and she collaborates in various Spanish newspapers and literary magazines as a critic and book reviewer. She is also the coordinator of several narrative workshops. She is the author of the novels Las lagartijas huelen a hierba (Lengua de Trapo, 1999), Bueyes y rosas dormían (Siruela, 2001), Ya no pisa la tierra tu rey (Anagrama, Premio Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, 2004), Alas (Trama Editorial, 2005), Coco (2007), Los escarpines de Kristina de Noruega (Roca Editorial, 2011, finalist to Premio Espartaco de Novela Histórica), El libro de Julieta (Grijalbo, 2011), and Las Inviernas (The Winterlings, Anagrama, 2014). Her work has been translated into English, Portuguese, German, Italian, Polish and Russian.

Beatriz Valverde

Valverde BeatrizBeatriz Valverde holds a Doctorate in English Philology from the Universidad de Jaén. In addition, she holds an MA in Spanish Literature from Loyola University Chicago. In both fields she has published several articles in various Spanish and international journals, many of them connected to the work of Graham Greene. Presently, she is a professor at Universidad Loyola Andalucía, teaching courses within the Double Bilingual Degree of Early Childhood and Primary Education. Her main research interests are Literature and Cultural Studies in English and Spanish, Critical Humanism in the Teaching of Humanities, TEFL, and Literature in Pre-College Teaching of English as a Foreign Language.