In this week's edition, we speak with Kianny N. Antigua, lecturer in the Spanish and Portuguese department. Kianny is a prolific writer, the author of multiple works of poetry and children's literature. The books on display this term include Greña/Crazy Hair; Mía y el regalo de Guauguau; and ¡Pero es que aquí no hay palmeras! Recently, Greña/Crazy Hair won the prize for Most Inspirational Children's Picture Book in the International Latino Book Awards.
What are these books about?
Greña/Crazy Hair; Mía y el regalo de Guauguau; and ¡Pero es que aquí no hay palmeras! talk about acceptance, self-love, biculturalism, transtierro, family and friendship.
Where did you get your ideas for these books?
From seeing, listening, and also experiencing injustices, bullying, life. However, I always try to present these topics in a way that is understandable and enjoyable for both children and adults. I want my books to be conversation-openers.
What does research look like for you? What element of research could you not live without?
I try to write about topics that I am passionate about, and fiction gives me a lot freedom to play! Nevertheless, I always read as much as I can —fiction, anecdotes, news, and texts— about the subject.
What do you think the library of the future will look like?
I truly hope it doesn’t change much. I love to interact with paper books, to sit in both quiet spaces and community spaces to read, to share, to converse. I understand the advantages of digital libraries, I benefit from it, but I need the touch, the real one!
What advice would you give to an aspiring scholar or writer?
There is an indivisible relationship between reading and writing; one feeds the other, and vice-versa. Also, and just as important: begin to write! The editing, the reasoning, can come later. Free your words!
And finally, what do you read for fun?
I, immensely, enjoy reading books with my daughter, children and chapter books, in English —The Little Girl with the Big Voice, by Wé McDonald; Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls 1 & 2, by Francesca Cavallo and Elena Favilli; and The Boy Who Opened Our Eyes, by Elaine Sussman. But I also need my me-time: Mujeres en la Guerra civil de El Salvador (1980-1992) (2017), by Margarita Drago and Juana M. Ramos; Sutiles (short story), by José M. Fernández Pequeño; and No creo que yo esté aquí de más. Antología de poetas dominicanas 1932-1987, Rosa Silverio, compiler. And, in English, Poquito. Unpacking the Memory Jar; and Flowers on the Wall (unpublished), by Tanya Montás Paris.