Gina Balibrera


Sep 20 – 27, 2023

Gina Balibrera

Gina María Balibrera earned an MFA in Prose from the University of Michigan’s Helen Zell Writers’ Program, where she was also a postgraduate fellow. She’s been awarded grants from the Rackham Institute, a Tyson Award, the Aura Estrada Prize, the Under the Volcano Sandra Cisneros Fellowship, the Periplus Collective, Tin House, and Aspen Words. Her work appears in the Boston ReviewLatino Book Review, PleiadesThe Wandering Song Anthology, and elsewhere. Her novel The Volcano Daughters is forthcoming from Pantheon Books in 2024. 

Gina Balibrera
Latinx women, with dark hair, red lipstick, wearing a black top in front of a black and gray background.
Photo by Ayşegül Savaş

Artist Statement

During this residency, I will sit with the first-pass pages of my novel The Volcano Daughters ahead of its publication in Summer 2024. Additionally, I plan to work on an essay about my father and his work as a chauffeur for Joan Quigley, Nancy Reagan’s psychic advisor. The essay deals with class, race, history, and memory, specifically: the use of the occult amongst conservative wealthy white people, Parkinson’s disease, Catholicism, personal autonomy and driving, and Iran-Contra. The essay features the ghost of the chauffeur of Salvadoran dictator Maximiliano Hernández Martínez, who stabbed the dictator to death in 1966, belatedly avenging his father, who had been murdered in El Salvador’s 1932 La Matanza massacre. I’ll also return to short stories at Goodhart, which I have missed during my focus on the novel over the last few years. I’m grateful to be at Goodhart during the Harbor Springs Festival of Books, and to have the opportunity to participate in community conversations about the stories that have been left out of nationalist histories.

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