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Alicia Kozameh, by Gabriela Vázquez

Alicia Kozameh (born on March 20, 1953, in Rosario, Argentina) is an Argentine author.


Alicia Kozameh studied philosophy and literature at the University of Rosario from 1973 to 1975, and at the University of Buenos Aires from 1985 to 1987. Her studies were interrupted from September 1975 until December 1978 while she was detained as a political prisoner during Argentina's most recent military dictatorship. After her release, she continued to suffer constant repression and persecution, and was forced to go into exile in 1980, first in California, and later in Mexico.

During her exile, she published works in Mexico and California and wrote her first novel, El séptimo sueño (The Seventh Dream), an unpublished manuscript about prison. She returned to Argentina in 1984, after the Falklands War and the return of democratic elections to her country. In 1987, the Editorial Contrapunto, in Buenos Aires, published her second novel, Pasos bajo el agua (Steps Under Water), a fictionalized account of her experiences as a political prisoner and an exile. Many other articles and stories were published in newspapers and cultural magazines in Buenos Aires during that period, as well as reviews of Pasos bajo el agua, which sold out in six months. In Buenos Aires, she completed a screenplay based on her novel Steps Under Water. The English translation of Pasos bajo el agua (Steps Under Water) was published by University of California Press in 1996. The novel has been included in course syllabi of numerous university classes in the United States. The German version of this novel, Schritte unter Wasser, was published by Milena Verlag Editions, Vienna, in 1999.

As a consequence of the publication of Pasos bajo el agua in 1987, Alicia was threatened by members of the Argentine political police. She returned to California for her family's safety in 1988. Since then, she has been invited by Amnesty International to participate in panel discussions and speak at conferences about her literary works and experiences as a political prisoner. She is frequently invited to give readings and lectures at literary conferences and at special presentations organized by Departments of Languages and Literature throughout the United States, Latin America and Europe. She is an active participant of such organizations as Latin American Studies Association (LASA).

Her most recent works include her third novel, Patas de Avestruz (Ostrich Legs), from which several chapters have been published in different literary magazines and anthologies. Straussenbeine, a German translation of the novel, was published by Milena Verlag in 1997. Her novel Basse danse will be published in Argentina at the beginning of 2007. Her novel 259 saltos, uno inmortal, a reflection about exile, was published by Narvaja Publishers, Argentina, in November 2001. A new edition will be ready at the end of 2006, and its English version, 259 Leaps, the Last Immortal, has come out in the fall of 2006 by WingsPress, Texas.

Alción Editora, Córdoba, Argentina, published a new edition of Pasos bajo el agua in November, 2002. In 2003 Alción also published the Spanish version of Patas de avestruz, and in July 2004 Ofrenda de propia piel, a collection of short stories, came out by the same publishing house. She continues to publish her short stories in magazines and anthologies in different countries and languages, including Hebrew in literary magazines in Israel.

In August 2005 the anthology Caleidoscopio: la mujer en la mira, was published by the Instituto Movilizador de Fondos Cooperativos, Buenos Aires, and in August 2006 Caleidoscopio 2: inmigrantes en la mira came out by the same publisher. The book Escribir una generación: la palabra de Alicia Kozameh contains a collection of academic works about Alicia’s novels and stories, and was also published by Alción Editora in 2005.She is also working in her fifth novel, Cantata, and several short stories and poems.

Alicia teaches creative writing part-time at Chapman University in Southern California.


One of the chapters from the book, "Carta a Aubervillieres," ("Letter to Aubervillieres"), received the "CRISIS" award for best short story in 1986. She also received the Memoria histórica de las mujeres en América Latina y el Caribe 2000 literary award for her short story "Winds of Perpendicular Rotation."



  • El séptimo sueño. 1981. (unpublished)
  • Pasos bajo el agua, Buenos Aires: Contrapunto 1987. English: Steps Under Water. Trans. David E. Davis. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1996.
  • 259 saltos, uno inmortal, Córdoba: Narvaja 2001. English: 259 Leaps, the Last Immortal. Translated from the Spanish by Clare E. Sullivan, Introduction by Gwendolyn Díaz. San Antonio (Texas): Wings Press, 2006.
  • Patas de avestruz, Córdoba: Alción 2003. German: Straußenbeine. Roman. Übersetzt aus dem argentinischen Spanisch von Erna Pfeiffer. Wien: Milena Verlag, 1997.
  • Basse danse. Córdoba: Alción 2007.

Short Stories

  • Ofrenda de propia piel, Córdoba: Alción 2004.
  • "Alcira in Yellows", in: Agosín, Marjorie / Horan, Elizabeth Rosa (eds.): The House of Memory: Stories by Jewish Women Writers of Latin America. The Feminist Press at The City University of New York, New York, 1999, pp. 153-161.
  • "Impression of Heights", translated by Andrea G. Labinger, in: Díaz, Gwendolyn (ed.): Women and Power: A Critical Anthology of Contemporary Argentine Women Authors. Austin (Texas): University of Texas Press, April 2007 (forthcoming).


  • Mano en vuelo, Córdoba: Alción 2009.

Works in collaboration

  • Nosotras, presas políticas. Obra colectiva de 112 prisioneras políticas entre 1974 y 1983. Alicia Kozameh, Blanca Becher, Mirta Clara, Silvia Echarte, Viviana Beguán, Nora Hilb et al. Prólogo: Inés Izaguirre. Buenos Aires: Editorial Nuestra América, 2006.

Editor of

  • Caleidoscopio. La mujer en la mira. Selección y prólogo de Alicia Kozameh. Buenos Aires: Instituto Movilizador de Fondos Cooperativos (Colección Desde la gente), 2005.
  • Caleidoscopio 2. Inmigrantes en la mira. Selección de textos, entrevistas y prólogo de Alicia Kozameh. Buenos Aires: Instituto Movilizador de Fondos Cooperativos (Colección Desde la gente), 2006.


  • Edith Dimo (ed.): Escribir una generación: la palabra de Alicia Kozameh. Córdoba: Alción, 2005, ISBN 950-9402-391-5. (Spanish)
  • Erna Pfeiffer: Exiliadas, emigrantes, viajeras. Encuentros con diez escritoras latinoamericanas. Frankfurt/Madrid: Vervuert/Iberoamericana 1995, ISBN 84-88906-19-6; ISBN 3-89354-073-3 (Spanish)
  • Portela, M. Edurne: Displaced Memories: The Poetics of Trauma in Argentine Women's Writing. Lewisburg: Bucknell University Press, 2009, ISBN 978-0-8387-5732-1

External links

de:Alicia Kozameh es:Alicia Kozameh he:אליסיה קוסמה pt:Alicia Kozameh

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