rochasMiguel Rocha Vivas, PhD in Romance Studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2015 (advisor, Professor Emilio del Valle Escalante), has received in Cuba the prestigious international literature award Premio Literario Casa de las Américas 2016.

The Premio Literario Casa de las Américas is a literary award given by the Cuban Casa de las Américas. Established in 1959, it is one of Latin America’s oldest and most prestigious literary prizes. The award is presented for works in Spanish, Portuguese, English, and French by writers from Latin America and the Caribbean. In addition to the main categories of fiction, poetry, and essays, there are categories for narrative and children’s literature.

Miguel Rocha Vivas received the Premio Literario Casa de las Américas 2016, in the category “Premio de Estudios sobre Culturas Originarias de América,” for his book Mingas de la palabra, textualidades oralitegráficas y visiones de cabeza en las oralituras y literaturas indígenas contemporáneas (Word´s Mingas, Oralitegraphic Textualities and Upside Down Visions in Contemporary Indigenous Oralitures and Literatures), a text based on his doctoral dissertation.

His book was chosen for “Being a profound, relevant and original study about contemporary Indigenous writings in Colombia, understood within the continental Indigenous literary movement. For establishing pertinent and luminous connections between these writings and other forms of register, languages and symbolic representations created by the Original Peoples. And for contributing knowledge to the Indigenous movements that have been prominent actors in the Americas in their desire for cultural and political self-representation, and the affirmation of their identities.”

Miguel Rocha Vivas is a Colombian writer, professor, researcher and traveler. Currently he is an associate professor at the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana in Bogotá. He has devoted part of his scholar career to study and foster indigenous literatures and creative work throughout the continent. He received his PhD in Romance Studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2015. During his residency in Chapel Hill (2012- 2015) he founded the Cineminga (intercultural cinema group) and became an active member of the Abya Yala Working Group, sponsored by the Consortium in Latin American and Caribbean Studies at UNC and Duke University. As a member of this working group he organized numerous events such as the visit of four indigenous writers, two Colombian social scientists, and one elder from the camëntsa nation. Miguel has held various academic positions. At UNC he taught Spanish and also a course on indigenous cinema and contemporary writing at the Institute for the Study of the Americas. Between 2004 and 2013, he was coordinator of the national Intercultural Education Program for indigenous researchers at Universidad Externado (Colombia). He has lectured in Europe, Canada, the U.S. and South America. Miguel is the author or coauthor of many books, including El héroe de nuestra imagen (literary criticism, 2004), Perumanta qanchis aswan allin willakuyna (narrative, 2005), Interacciones Multiculturales (essays, 2008), Antes el amanecer (anthology, 2010), El sol babea jugo de piña (anthology, 2010), Flores del diamante (poetry, 2010), Pütchi Biyá Uai, precursores (anthology, 2011) y Pütchi Biyá Uai, puntos aparte (anthology, 2011), Camino a Sí (aphorisms, 2012), Palabras mayores, palabras vivas (literary criticism, 2010/2012).

The recipient of national and international awards in 2006 and 2009, Miguel Rocha Vivas also won national literature scholarships sponsored by the Colombian Ministry of Culture and the Instituto Caro y Cuervo. In 2010 he received the National Research Award in Literature funded by the local government of Bogotá, and in 2012 was awarded an honorable mention for his collaborative work with indigenous nations from the Indigenous Parliament of the Americas, the Peruvian Congress, the Universidad San Marcos de Lima and the Universidad Austral de Chile.

We congratulate Miguel for receiving the prestigious Premio Literario Casa de las Américas 2016!

(Also appears on College.unc.edu)

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