Rojas, Agustín de

Tagged: Author

Working name of Agustín de Rojas Anido (1949-2011), considered one of the most relevant sf Cuban authors. A biologist by training, having pursued a career in sport medicine, he dedicated his life to teaching (mostly theatre) and writing. He has an extensive and eclectic oeuvre.

His literary debut was the novel Espiral ["Spiral"] (1982), which in 1980 was awarded the prestigious Cuban Premio David ["David Award"] for new, unpublished writers, in the sf category. This opera prima is the first instalment of a trilogy that was completed with two other novels: Una leyenda del futuro ["A Legend of the Future"] (1985) and El año 200 ["The Year 200"] (1990; trans Nick Caistor and Hebe Powell as The Year 200 2016).

Rojas's work has been interpreted in different ways. On one hand, the novels show a deep commitment to the socialist Revolution, and Una leyenda del futuro begins with quotes from the iconic revolutionary supporter and folk singer Silvio Rodríguez. However, his work is also a clear critique of the Cuban regime. By creating a moral universe in which the principles of socialism, exemplified by the ubiquitous figure of Che Guevara, are followed to the letter, Rojas forces the reader to compare and contrast the optimistic fictional reality of his novels with the crude reality of everyday Cuba.

His latest novel, El año 200 is, by far, the most attractive of the three. Not only it is his best achieved novel, showing the evolution of Rojas as a writer, but it also sold 40,000 copies on the island, proving him to be a very popular author. In addition, this achievement is even more significant if we consider that it is a novel that defended the impossible in 1990, since it was written during the Soviet Perestroika, and it came out after the fall of the Berlin Wall and just before the collapse of the USSR and the beginning of the Special Period in Cuba.

Rojas's work has been so influential in Cuban sf that during the 1990s the most important literary workshop in Havana was called Espiral, after his first novel. After his death, the literary workshop Espacio Abierto ["Open Space"] dedicated a number of his E-Zine, Korad (October 2011) to pay homage to Rojas. [JCTR]

Agustín de Rojas Anido

born Santa Clara, Cuba: 11 June 1949

died Santa Clara, Cuba: 11 September 2011

works (selected)

  • Espiral ["Spiral"] (Ciudad de la Habana, Cuba: Unión de Escritores y Artistas de Cuba, 1982) [pb/]
  • Una leyenda del futuro ["A Legend of the Future"] (Ciudad de la Habana, Cuba: Editorial Letras Cubanas, 1985) [pb/]
    • A Legend of the Future (New York: Restless Books, 2015) [trans by Nick Caistor of the above: pb/Edel Rodriguez]
  • El año 200 ["The Year 200"] (Ciudad de la Habana, Cuba: Editorial Letras Cubanas, 1990) [pb/]
    • The Year 200 (New York: Restless Books, 2016) [trans by Nick Caistor and Hebe Powell of the above: pb/Edel Rodriguez]

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