Nicaraguan Novelist Rosario Aguilar

At the recent Festival of Literature 2014 hosted by ANIDE (Asociación Nicaragüense de Escritoras) in Managua, tribute was paid to Nicaraguan author Rosario Aguilar, one of the pioneers of ANIDE. It was also the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the publication of Aguilar’s first novel Spring Sleepwalker – five decades in which the talented novelist has made a noteworthy contribution to Nicaraguan literature. Aguilar has received a number of awards, including the VI International Prize for Latin American and Caribbean Literature Gabriela Mistral in 2001 and the Order of Ruben Dario Cultural Independence in 2010.

Born in León – the ‘City of Poets’ – on January 29, 1938, Rosario Aguilar published her first novel Spring Sleepwalker at the age of 26, with her second novel Fifteen Barrotes From Left to Right being published the following year. Her third novel, That Bottomless Sea or Beach received an Honorable Mention at the Floral Games of Quetzaltenango in Guatemala. In total she has written ten books, with her 1995 book Soledad: You Are The Link being about her mother. Her most recent book is The Promesante, which was published in 2001.

Rosario Aguilar was the third of five children born to Soledad López de Aréchaga and Mariano Fiallos Gil. They lived in León until 1943, and moved to Managua when her father was appointed as the Deputy Minister of Public Instruction, later being promoted to Minister. Rosario attended the Colegio La Asunción, where she met Mercedes Gordillo, who also became a writer. When Rosario’s father resigned his post in protest of the re-election of Anastasio Somoza García in 1945, the family moved back to León. However in 1947 he was appointed as Ambassador of Nicaragua to Guatemala by President Leonardo Argüello, who only remained in office for 27 days before being ousted through a coup d’état organized by General García. This left Rosario’s family stranded in Guatemala, where nonetheless, they enjoyed a standard of life she later describes as being “very happy”. In 1950, Rosario, her mother and three of her siblings returned to León.

In 1954, after graduating from the Colegio La Asunción de León, Rosario attended finishing school in Chatawa, Mississippi, and spent a year with family in Dallas. Upon returning to Nicaragua, she married Ivan Aguilar Cassar, her high school sweetheart, and in the following years they had five children.

Rosario Aguilar notes that she takes the inspiration for her novels from the human suffering witnessed, not only in times of disaster, but in daily life. Through her words she shows herself to be acutely aware of the struggle women go through in making decisions, and in not having the power to make decisions, regarding their own lives.