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Alicia Kozameh author's photo

Born in Rosario, Argentina, in 1953, Alicia Kozameh had just finished her undergraduate degree at the Universidad Nacional de Rosario when she was detained as a political prisoner. The military dictatorship held her from September 1975 to December 1978. For the first year of her imprisonment, she was held in the infamous Sótano ("basement") of Rosario's Police Headquarters. Afterwards, until her release in December 1978, she was held captive in the Villa Devoto Prison in Buenos Aires. On parole until July 1979, she fled Argentina for exile in Los Angeles, California, then Mexico City, where she edited a literary magazine and worked for a news agency, then once again moved back to California. She returned to Argentina for four years, 1984-1988, where she continued her studies in Philosophy and Literature at the Universidad Nacional de Buenos Aires. After the publication of the first edition of her novel Pasos bajo el agua in 1987, Alicia was threatened again by politial repression, so she returned with her four-year-old daughter to Los Angeles, where she founded Monóculo Literary Workshops, a series of creative writing workshops. Since 2000, she has taught creative writing and English literature at Emeritus College, a division of Santa Monica College.

Kozameh's first published novel was Pasos bajo el agua (Buenos Aires: Contrapunto, 1987), translated as Steps Under Water by David E. Davis (Univ. of California Press, 1996). Her 1989 novel, Patas de avestruz (Ostrich Legs) was translated into German by Erna Pfeiffer and published as Straussenbeine (Vienna: Milena Verlag, 1996). In 1999, Pasos bajo el agua was published in Germany as Schritte unter Wasser, again translated by Pfeiffer. Her novel, 259 saltos, uno inmortal was published in Cordoba, Argentina, by Narvaja, 2001. Alción Editora published a new edition of Pasos bajo el agua in 2002. Patas de avestruz (2003) and Ofrenda de propia piel were also published by Alción. Excerpts from her novels have been published in various anthologies, including AMORica Latina and Torturada, both in German, and in Redes de la memoria in Spanish. Excerpts from 259 saltos have been published in English in Southwest Review and Miriam's Daughters: Jewish Latin American Women Poets. She is the author of many short stories, for which she has won prizes, including the Crisis Best Short Story Award and the Memoria Historica de las Mujeres en Am}rica Latina y el Caribe 2000 Literary Award. Kozameh has given readings and lectures around the world, and has worked extensively with Amnesty International to share her prison experiences and to promote human rights.

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