Mayra Santos-Febres

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Mayra Santos-Febres (born 1966) is a Puerto Rican author, poet, novelist, professor of literature, essayist, and literary critic.


  • People believe that black people live the same way everywhere and that is not true. White people don’t live the same way everywhere, even if you have the same cultural references. Take music. Rap, of course, black rappers don’t live the same way everywhere. There are black rappers in Africa, black rappers in France, black rappers in the U.S. and there are black rappers in the Caribbean. I wanted people to see the way in which that music became a means of expression of a reality, which is at the same time both global and local.
  • I do not see this novel as solely dealing with LGBT issues. I see Sirena as a metaphoric representation of the whole Caribbean. The fact that s/he is a transvestite is just a fact. Basically, I did what Flaubert did with Emma Bovary. He talked about his society through the character of a woman—an adulterous woman…
  • I prefer novels. However, I think that the theme of the piece determines its form. Some texts work better in poetry than in essay or stories or plays. It is good though to learn as many techniques in creative writing as one can, so that, as a writer, one has the flexibility to work with the piece and its need.

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