Jorge Luis Arzola
Jorge Luis Arzola was born in Jatibonico, Cuba, in 1966; today he lives and works in Ciego de Avila. By contrast to those authors who previously defined the image of Curban literature, such as Guillermo Cabrera Infante, Miguel Barnet, Jesús Díaz or Reinaldo Arenas, Jorge Luis Arzola belongs to a new generation of writers, the so-called "novísimos". On the one hand, this generation is much influenced by an awareness of national identity kindled by the revolution; on the other hand, they have become uncertain of their belief in the ideals of the revolution due to political and economic upheavals, especially after the collapse of the protecting Soviet power. In 1993, at the height of rationing and paper shortage – the "special period in peace time" declared by Fidel Castro –, Salvador Redonet initiated a new, critical discourse in Cuban literature with an anthology of work by the youngest generation of authors. In the foreword to "Los últimos serán los primeros" (The last shall be the first), we read the unusually direct words: "These texts have a radical social-aesthetic function: they are entirely relevant, passing over all rusting conventions, taking a magnifying glass to our weaknesses and strengths, to the here and now. They conceal and gloss over nothing and give the proper name to everything, even if this is (not) a rose." The first volumes of stories by Jorge Luis Arzola also appeared at the beginning of the nineties. He became known to a wider audience with "Pájaro sin cabeza" (1991; A Headless Bird) and "Prisionero en el Círculo del Horizonte" (1994; Prisoner in the Circle of the Horizon). These were followed by further publications in Cuban and international anthologies. Arzola was awarded the Ibero-American "Alejo Carpentier Prize" for his volume "La Bandada Infinita" (2000; The Infinite Horde).