Incite: September 14


7:30pm on Wednesday, September 14
Admission is free*
Alice MacKay room, Central Library


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An evening with Chilean-Canadian author, poet, educator and political social activist Carmen Rodriguez, and Vancouver-based theatre artist and writer Carmen Aguirre, whose first memoir Something Fierce recalls her years in the anti-Pinochet underground.

*Please let us know you are attending by registering in advance. Please note that registration is so that we know how many people to expect. Admission on the night is always on a first-come-first-served basis.


The Writers

Carmen Aguirre

Carmen Aguirre

On September 11, 1973, a violent coup removed Salvador Allende, the democratically elected socialist president of Chile, from office. Soon after the coup, six-year-old Carmen 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. As their mother and stepfather set up a safe house for resistance members in La Paz, Bolivia, the girls' own double lives began. At eighteen, Carmen 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, Carmen Aguirre captures her constant struggle to reconcile her commitment to the movement with the desires of her youth and her budding sexuality.


Camen Rodriguez

Carmen Rodriguez

Retribution tells the intertwining histories of three generations of Martínez women who are devastated by the 1973 Chilean military coup and forced to emigrate in the aftermath.

The novel’s first thread is set in contemporary Vancouver, where performance artist Tania learns she is the child of prison rape and must address her difficult relationship with her diasporic home. The second returns to the beautiful Chile of Tania’s grandmother, Soledad, who attempts to stem the tide of political turmoil from entering her family life. The final thread tells the harrowing story of Tania’s mother, Sol, whose journey from peaceful humanitarianism and romance with a Santiago musician is devastated by military abduction and betrayal. Radicalized by the upheaval of the Pinochet regime, the Martínez women search for ways to regain their beloved homeland, making family solidarity, political activism, and love their ultimate acts of retribution. 

At turns lyrical, forceful, and unflinching, Carmen Rodríguez’s debut novel evocatively charts a family’s journey of struggle and survival from one home to the next, examining how the traumas of conflict can both create and destroy.