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Cristina Rivera Garza

Cristina Rivera-Garza

M.D. Anderson Professor in Hispanic Studies
Director of the Creative Writing Program in Hispanic Studies

Office: 434AH
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Cristina Rivera Garza, Ph.D., is the award-winning author of six novels, three collections of short stories, five collections of poetry and three non-fiction books. Originally written in Spanish, these works have been translated into multiple languages, including English, French, Italian, Portuguese and Korean. The recipient of the Roger Caillois Award for Latin American Literature (Paris, 2013); as well as the Anna Seghers (Berlin, 2005), she is the only author who has won the International Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz Prize twice, in 2001 for her novel Nadie me verá llorar (translated into English by Andrew Hurley as No One Will See Me Cry ) and again in 2009 for her novel La muerte me da. She has translated, from English into Spanish, Notes on Conceptualisms by Vanessa Place and Robet Fitterman; and, from Spanish into English, "Nine Mexican Poets edited by Cristina Rivera Garza," in New American Writing 31. She was the Breeden Eminent Scholar at Auburn University in Fall 2015 and a fellow at the UCSD Center for Humanities 2015-2016. She received a Senate Grant from UCSD and the prestigious three-year Sistema Nacional de Creadores grant from Mexico.

La imaginación pública/ Public Imagination (Conaculta Press, 2015) is her most recent published work. She has developed cross-genre collaborative projects with artists and composers in De Mirabilis Auscultationibus, Aristótles, o alguien que se hace pasar por Aristótles, cuenta de las maravillas escuchadas por casualidad acerca de Tacámbaro De Mirabilis Auscultationibus, Aristótles, o someone passing as Aristotle, tells about the marvelous things overheard about Tacámbaro], bilingual edition (Mexico: Acapulco Press, 2015), with artist Artemio Rodríguez; VIAJE - Azione Drammatica Musicale per quattro voci e quattro strumenti (Milan Italy: Sugar Music, 2014), with composer Javier Torres Maldonado; Ahí te comerán las turicatas [You will be eaten by turicatas there] (Mexico: Caja de Cerillos, 2013).

Los muertos indóciles. Necroescrituras y desapropiación, her most recent book of criticism, comparatively explores the contemporary discussions surrounding conceptualist writing in the United States, post-exoticism in France, as well as communally-based writing throughout the Americas.

She was born in Mexico (Matamoros, Tamaulipas, 1964), and has lived in the United States since 1989. She studied urban sociology at the National Autonomous University of Mexico and received her PhD in Latin American history from the University of Houston. She has written extensively on the social history of mental illness in early twentieth-century Mexico, and published academic articles in journals and edited volumes in the United States, England, Argentina and Mexico. She received a Doctorate in Humane Letters Honoris Causa from the University of Houston in 2012.

Selected Publications

No One Will See Me Cry (novel)

No One Will See Me Cry received the 1997 José Rubén Romero National Book Award, the 2000 IMPAC-CONARTE-ITESM Prize, and the 2001 International Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz Award. This is a vividly imagined piece of documentary fiction by one of Mexico´s new literary stars. Joaquín Buitrago, a photographer in the Castañeda Insane Asylum, believes a patient, Matilda Burgos, is a prostitute he knew years earlier. His obsession leads him to explore the clinic´s records, and her tragic history. Joaquín and Matilda begin to tell each other fragmented stories about a past they almost shared, and a future in which they do not believe. Set in 1920´s Mexico, this novel is at once an overview of one of the most turbulent times in Mexican history, a love story, and a meditation on the ways in which medical and popular language defined insanity. No One Will See Me Cry  is a lyrical and startling visitation with the so-called losers of an era as they try to plumb the meaning of their lives.

About Rivera-Garza's Work

Carlos Fuentes on No One Will See Me Cry
One of the most notable works of fiction not only in Mexican literature but in the literature of the Spanish-speaking world at the start of the twentieth-first century ... In this novel of long dark skirts, Rivera Garza imagines, like no one else has done in Mexico since José Revueltas, the tragic options and the psychic turmoil caused by revolutionary theory and action. And she does it with such an intensity, with such a grandeur that, in conjunction with Matilda, the protagonist, we must, as readers, kneel ourselves when Diamantina dies, Cástulo gets lost, and Matilda prays for them ...--"El melodrama de la mujer caída", por Carlos Fuentes. El país.

Michael Davidson on poem "Tercer mundo"
I have taken my title from the work of Cristina Rivera-Garza, a Mexican poet, historian, and novelist who lives both in the United States and Mexico and whose research has been focused on mental health institutions. Her long poem, "Tercer mundo," addresses a key issue in globalization: the problem of representing systems of integration and amalgamation that, by definition, cannot be defined by mimetic criteria. As David Harvey asks in the epigraph to this chapter how is it possible to imagine geography "in an image other than that of capital in the future". Rivera Garza similarly asks what would it be like to see the third world from both a perspective before its invention in world-systems theory and outside of its ancillary relationship to a putatively develop world--when, to adopt a Heideggerian terminology, the world no longer "works" --"Cosmopoetics in the Shadow of NAFTA,"; in On the Outskirts of Form. Practicing Cultural Poetics. Wesleyan University Press, 2011.

In English

  • "The Afterlife of Cotton: Through the Present and Past of a Border Town, in the Trail of Legendary Writer José Revueltas" High Country News, September 2016
  • Rivera-Garza´s Short Fiction and Poetry in English Translation "Autoethnography with the Other" trans. by Francisca González Arias. Literal Magazine.
  • "Network of Holes" trans. by Jen Hofer. World Literature Today.
  • "The Carpathian Mountain Woman" trans. by Alex Ross. Bomb Magazine.
  • "To Clear" trans. by José Antonio Villarán. Make Literary Productions #14.
  • "Third World" Jen Hofer. Introduced by Lynn Emanuel. Boston Review.
  • "Nostalgia," in Best of Contemporary Mexican Fiction. Ed. by Álvaro Uribe
  • "Third World," in Sin puertas visibles. An anthology of Contemporary Poetry by Mexican Women. Ed. and trans. by Jen Hofer. 

Academic Articles

  • "'She neither Respected nor Obeyed Anyone': Inmates and Psychiatrists Debate Gender and Class at the General Insane Asylum La Castaneda Mexico, 1910-1930". Hispanic American Historical Review, 2001.
  • "Dangerous Minds: Changing Views of the Mentally Ill in Porfirian Mexico, 1876-1911" Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences, 2001.
  • "Beyond Medicalization: Asylum doctors and inmates produce sexual knowledge at the General Insane Asylum La Castañeda in late Porfirian Mexico" The Famous 41. Sexuality and Social Control in Mexico, 2003.
  • "Becoming Mad in Revolutionary Mexico: Mentally Ill Patients at the General Insane Asylum, Mexico 1910-1930" The Confinement of the Insane. International Perspectives, 1800-1965. Ed. by Roy Porter and David Wright. Cambridge, 2003.
  • "General Insane Asylum La Castañeda". Encyclopedia of Social Welfare History in North America. Ed. by John M. Herrick and Paul H. Stuart. USA: Sage Publications, 2005. 

Rivera-Garza´s Translations
From Spanish into English:

  • "Nine Mexican Poets Edited by Cristina Rivera-Garza," in New American Writing #31. From English into Spanish:
  • Notas sobre conceptualismos (Mexico: Conaculta, 2013).
  • "Por la niebla del nosotros" translation and introduction of Juliana Sphar, in Nexos.
  • Translations of poems by Don Mee Choi, Edwin Torres, Juliana Sphar, Harryette Mullen, among others, included in Los muertos indóciles. Necroescrituras y desapropiación. 


  • Interview with Michael Silverblatt for Bookworm, a nationally sindycated radio program focusing on books and literature. Broadcast on Los Angeles public radio station. KCRW
  • "Exchange: Meruane vs. Rivera-Garza." Traviesa magazine.
  • Interview in the magazine Belletrista, by Caitlin Fehir. 

About No One Will See Me Cry

  • Review in Belletriste magazine, by Caitlin Fehir.
  • Review in A striped Armchair.
  • Review by Paul Lappen.
  • Article by S. Silverstein, "Ragpickers of Modernity: Cristina Rivera Garza´s Nadie me verá llorar and Walter Benjamin´s Theses on the Philosophy of History, Estudios Hispánicos Glen Close, "Corpse Photography in Roberto Bolaño´s Estrella Distante and Cristina Rivera Garza´s Nadie me verá llorar", Bulletin of Spanish Studies 

In Spanish

  • Nadie me verá llorar (Mexico/Barcelona: Tusquets, 1999). José Rubén Romero National Book Award, 1997; IMPAC-CONARTE-ITESM Award, 1999; International Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz Award, 2001.
  • La cresta de Ilión (Mexico/Barcelona: Tusquets, 2002). Rómulo Gallegos Iberoamerican Award (2003) runner-up. (Il segreto, ed. Voland, 2010).
  • Lo anterior (Mexico: Tusquets, 2004).
  • La muerte me da (Mexico/Barcelona: Tusquets, 2007), International Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz Award, 2009.
  • Verde Shanghai (Mexico: Tusquets, 2011).
  • El mal de la taiga (Mexico: Tusquets, 2012).
  • Nadie me verá llorar (Mexico: Tusquets, 2014). 

Short Story Collections

  • La guerra no importa (Mexico: Mortiz, 1991). San Luis Potosí National Book Award, 1987.
  • Ningún reloj cuenta esto (Mexico: Tusquets, 2002). Juan Vicente Melo National Book Award, 2001.
  • La frontera más distante (Mexico/Barcelona: Tusquets, 2008).
  • Allí te comerán las turicatas (Mexico: La Caja de Cerillos Ediciones/DGP, 2013). 


  • La más mía (Mexico: Tierra Adentro, 1998).
  • Los textos del yo (Mexico: Fondo de Cultura Económica, 2005).
  • La muerte me da (Toluca: ITESM-Bonobos, 2007).
  • El disco de Newton, diez ensayos sobre el color (Mexico: Dirección de Literatura, UNAM, Bonobos, 2011).
  • Viriditas (Guadalajara: Mantis/UANL, 2011). 
  • La imaginación pública (CONCAULTA, 2015)

Non Fiction

  • La Castañeda. Narrativas dolientes desde el Manicomio General, 1910-1930 (Mexico: Tusquets, 2010).
  • Dolerse. Textos desde un país herido (Mexico: Sur+, 2011).
  • Los muertos indóciles. Necroescrituras y desapropiación (Mexico: Tusquets, 2013).

As Editor

  • Romper el hielo: Novísimas escrituras al pie de un volcán (Toluca: ITESM-Bonobos, 2006).
  • La novela según los novelistas (México: Fondo de Cultura Económica, 2007).
  • Romper el hielo: Novísimas escrituras al pie de un volcán. El lugar (re) visitado (México: Feria del Libro, Secretaría de Cultura, GDF, 2007).
  • Rigo es amor. Una rocola de dieciséis voces (Mexico: Tusquets, 2013).

About Her Work (Spanish)

  • Ningún crítico cuenta esto (Mexico: Ediciones Eón, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and UC-Mexicanistas, 2010)
  • [ Ni a tontas ni a locas: notas sobre Cristina Rivera Garza y su nuevo modo de narrar] (Stanford University), by Jorge Ruffinelli|.

Translations into Other Languages

  • No One Will See Me Cry (USA: Curbstone, 2003).
  • Ninguém me Verá Chorar (Brazil: Francis, 2005).
  • Nessuno mi vedra piangere (Italy: Voland, 2008).
  • Ninguém me Há de Ver Chorar (Portugal: Bertrand Editora, 2012).
  • Personne ve me verra pleurer (France: Phebus, 2013).