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María Espinosa author's photo

Born Paula Cronbach in 1939 to a family of German Jews with hidden Sephardic origins, María Espinosa's mother's family lived in Spain until the 18th century. They concealed their Jewish identity until the family finally made their way to Brussels, where they could openly practice their religion. From there they moved to Eastern Europe, and finally to the United States.

Espinosa grew up in Long Island, the child of a sculptor father and a poet mother. She attended Harvard and Columbia Universities and received a MA in Creative Writing from San Francisco State University. She met and married her first husband, Chilean writer Mario Espinosa Wellmann while living in Paris. In 1978 she married Walter Selig, who had fled Nazi Germany as a child to grow up on an Israeli kibbutz.

Espinosa has taught at New College of California, City College of San Francisco, the University of Adelaide, and most recently at Central College of New Mexico. She is the author of four novels: Longing (Arte Público Press, 1995), Dark Plums (Arte Público Press, 1995), Incognito: The Journey of a Secret Jew (Wings Press, 2002), and Dying Unfinished (Wings Press, 2009). Longing received the American Book Award in 1996, and has been translated into Greek. Dying Unfinished received a PEN Oakland Josephine Miles Award for Literary Excellence in 2009. Espinosa is also the author of two books of poetry, Night Music and Love Feelings. She translated George Sand's novel, Lélia, which was published by the Indiana University Press in 1977.

Espinosa's poetry, articles, translations, and short fiction have appeared in numerous anthologies and periodicals, including the anthologies Underground Poetry, edited by Herman Berlandt, In other Words: Literature by Latinas of the United States, edited by Roberta Fernández, and George Sand's Story of My Life, edited by Thelma Jurgrau. An interesting midnight interview with the Israeli writer, Amos Oz, appeared in Three Penny Review.

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