The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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Central American authors give talk

A book reading organized by the Central American United Student Association and the Central American studies program on Nov. 16 was one of many events that have recently showcased the increase in the department’s activity as well as the incorporation of a new major.

The works of Salvadorian-born writers, novelist Horacio Castellanos Moya, writer/journalist Roger Lindo and Marcos Villatoro, a Salvadorian-American novelist, were discussed separately, followed by questions from students.

This event was sponsored by CAUSA, the Central American studies program, the College of Humanities’ academic programming fund, the Chicano/a studies department, the modern and classical languages and literatures department and the English department.

Marcos Villatoro, author of a series of crime novels, began by introducing his family background and his experiences as a son of a Salvadorian mother and American father.

Villatoro said he believes that having book readings such as the one held at CSUN inspires the interest of students to learn more about their background.

During the event, Roger Lindo, fiction writer and poet, read a chapter of his new novel, “The Dog and the Fog” ( “El Perro en la Niebla”), which tells the story of a 17-year-old boy and the difficulties of living in a country of civil unrest. Six years ago Lindo was also a guest speaker at CSUN and he said he is amazed to see the increased interest in Central American literature, as well as the creation of associations such as CAUSA.

“I believe that there is a preoccupation with what is happening (in Central America) and it’s forcing students to look for answers,” Lindo said.

The reading ended with “Senseless,” a story by Horacio Castellanos of a journalist hired to summarize the memories of the survivors of an indigenous town, where many were mysteriously murdered. The first chapter transported the room to the horrific scene of a church full of bodies and a deafening silence. Castellanos then moved to “Ema,” a romantic short story full of elegant eroticism.

Castellanos explained that many of the massacres and problems of Central Americans were not accurately or fully documented and that looking into various pieces of literature could help one further understand the current situation and migration of people in these countries. “There is much more reality than what you think in literature,” he said.

“I hated literature, but my need to learn more about my Salvadorian heritage made me come here tonight,” said Ada Surcios, business administration major. Surcios said that the three authors were great.

Mario Escobar, UCLA student, said that the contribution of these authors helps filling in the gaps of history. Escobar is in exile from El Salvador and has experienced the horrors described by these authors in their writings.

The upcoming events within the program will include two films – the documentary “The Panama Deception,” to be shown on Dec. 8, and a documentary called “Rosita,” which will be shown on Dec. 1.

CAUSA will also be having a film night and Araceli Garrido as a guest speaker. Garrido has worked closely with Rigoberta Menchu denouncing the violation of human rights.

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