Open Space, in partnership with the University of Victoria Department of Writing, will host Carmen Aguirre as part of its literary series Open Word: Readings and Ideas. She will read from her new book, Something Fierce: Memoirs of a Revolutionary Daughter, at Open Space on Wednesday, November 20, at 7:30 p.m., followed by an interview by local writer Kevin Kerr. Books, beer, and wine will be for sale. Aguirre will also read on Thursday, November 21, at 8:50 a.m., University of Victoria, HSD Building, Room A240.
Carmen Aguirre is a Vancouver-based theatre artist who has worked extensively in North and South America. She has written and co-written twenty-one plays, including Chile Con Carne, The Trigger, The Refugee Hotel, and Blue Box. Her non-fiction book, Something Fierce: Memoirs of a Revolutionary Daughter, was published in 2011 by Douglas & McIntyre in Canada and Granta/Portobello in the United Kingdom. It was nominated for British Columbia’s National Award for Canadian Non-Fiction and the international Charles Taylor Prize for Literary Non-Fiction; was a finalist for the 2012 BC Book Prize; was selected by the Globe and Mail, Quill & Quire, and the National Post as one of the best books of 2011; was named Book of the Week by BBC Radio in the United Kingdom; won CBC Canada Reads 2012; and is a national bestseller. Aguirre has more than sixty film, TV, and stage acting credits and is a Theatre of the Oppressed workshop facilitator and an acting instructor at the Vancouver Film School. Aguirre is a graduate of Studio 58.
Something Fierce is a gripping, darkly comic memoir of a young underground revolutionary during the Pinochet dictatorship in 1980s Chile. On September 11, 1973, a violent coup removed Salvador Allende, the democratically elected socialist president of Chile, from office. Thousands were arrested, tortured, and killed under Pinochet’s repressive new regime. Aguirre and her younger sister fled the country with their parents for Canada and a life in exile. In 1978, the Chilean resistance issued a call for exiled activists to return to Latin America. In a safe house for resistance members in Bolivia, the girls’ own double lives began. At eighteen, Aguirre herself joined the resistance. With conventional day jobs as a cover, she and her new husband moved to Argentina to begin a dangerous new life of their own. Something Fierce takes the reader inside war-ridden Peru, dictatorship-run Bolivia, post-Malvinas Argentina, and Pinochet’s Chile. Writing with passion and deep personal insight, Aguirre captures her constant struggle to reconcile her commitment to the movement with the desires of her youth and her budding sexuality. Something Fierce is a gripping story of love, war, and resistance and a rare first-hand account of revolutionary life.
Kevin Kerr is a four-time recipient of the Jessie Award for Outstanding Original Script. In 2002, he received the Governor General’s Literary Award for his play Unity (1918). He was also writer or co- writer of Brilliant!, The Wake, The Score, The Fall, and Studies in Motion.