Author Spotlight: Delia Malamud

She was born and raised in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where she was a Professor of American Literature until her retirement. Her papers on Kate Chopin, Paul Auster, and Bernard Malamud (no relation) have been published in the proceedings of the Asociación Argentina de Estudios Americanos (Argentine Association of American Studies) and the Asociación Chilena de Estudios Norteamericanos (Chilean Association of North American Studies).

Amoskeag: The 2012 issue has come to be known as the “Identity” issue; in what way  Delia Malamuddoes your work deal with “identity?”

Delia: My work deals with the criminal appropiation of newborns by the military during the dictatorship in Argentina in the 1970s. The babies were given to childless members of the regime who took purportedly legal steps to pass these children off as their own. Due to the relentless investigative work of the grandmothers of the abducted children and subsequent DNA tests, 107 of those babies, when they were 12 to 30 or more, were restored to their biological families. It is a nightmare to have your identity shattered and to be forced to start afresh and decide who you are, who to trust, who to side with.

Amoskeag: In developing your main and supporting characters, how do you see them losing or finding themselves?

Delia:  I see them all finding themselves: by choosing to side with or against their biological families, they ultimately choose their identity.

Amoskeag: What is the one line, the one sentence in your piece that for you sums up the meaning of “identity?”

Delia: How will I manage to stop being who I’ve always been? How will I manage to become someone I’ve never been?

Amoskeag: How do you identify yourself as a writer — how did you get here? Who/what made you so? Where have you come from? What have you gone through?

Delia:  I don’t think of myself as a writer: I am basically a reader. I retired as a professor of literature a few years ago. I am a citizen of Argentina and, like all my fellow citizens, I have gone through a lot. The tragedy of the abductions and the deprivation of  identity the children suffered  has always been a source of deep pain to me. When I heard the 2012  Amoskeag issue was focused on identity, I   totally identified with the theme and felt I simply had to write about it.

Amoskeag: What lies ahead for you?

Delia:  Writing essays on topics that interest me.

To view an excerpt of Delia’s nonfiction short story “Grandmother’s of the Disappeared,” click here.

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