M A G D A L E N A   E.    /   w r i t e r

magda8 /at/ gmail /dot/ com


Biographical Information

Born in Santiago, Chile. Raised in Los Angeles. Based in Santa Monica, California. Married, to a French-American New Yorker, with two sons and a daughter.


PhD in Comparative Literature. University of California at Los Angeles. 2007. Dissertation: “The Translator’s Colors: Elizabeth Bishop in Brazil and Elsewhere.”

BA in Social Studies. Harvard University. 1999. Thesis: “Raúl Zurita’s Purgatorio: Poetry as Politics and Memory in Post-1973 Chile.”

Current Book Projects 

The translation of Brazilian author Clarice Lispector‘s novel The Chandelier (New Directions 2018). This novel, the second one Lispector published, has never been translated into English. She wrote it from 1943-44, starting the book in Rio de Janeiro and finishing it in Milan where her diplomat husband was stationed. It first appeared in Brazil in 1946 with the publisher AGIR.

A book of poems titled The Hired Mourner is forthcoming with Rakish Light Press in 2018.

A non-fiction manuscript about the work of Elizabeth Bishop, Clarice Lispector, and Raúl Zurita, the three writers I have travelled with most, is growing pages and layers.

Work Experience 

Contributing Editor (May 2013 to the present). Los Angeles Review of Books

Co-Editor (Summer 2013 to Spring 2015). Around the WorldLos Angeles Review of Books.

Novelist’s Assistant (Summer 2009 to Summer 2014). Assistant to Mona Simpson, author of six novels, including My Hollywood (Knopf 2010) and Casebook (Knopf 2014).

Freelance Editor (Summer 2007 to Summer 2014). Editor of Narrating from the Archive: Novels, Records, and Bureaucrats in the Modern Age (Fairleigh Dickinson University Press 2010) written by literature scholar and Italian novelist Marco Codebò. Have worked with other scholars, writers, and novelists on various projects.

Selected Publications

“My Years with Clarice.” Medium. September 23, 2017.

“September 11 Is Important to Me…” Medium. September 11, 2017.

“The Lost Neruda Poems.” Boston Review. December 21, 2016.

“This Morning — November 9, 2016.” Medium. November 9, 2016.

“Conversation Interrupted, Conversation Begun: On My Father’s New Memoir.” Medium. September 13, 2016.

“A Different Kind of Rain Day: 3 Years After the Santa Monica College Shooting, a Shooting at UCLA.” Medium. June 2, 2016.

“Prince Left Us an Instruction Manual.” Medium. April 28, 2016.

“Pyschogeography of the Disappeared: An Interview with Magdalena Edwards and Forrest Gander on Raúl Zurita”; “Afterword.” Psychogeographical Romance: Three Interviews. Ed. Leonard Schwartz. Essay Press. November 2015.

“American Witches: The Millions Interviews Alex Mar.” The Millions. October 21, 2015.

“Killing Fiction Meets the Medea Impasse: On Rachel Cusk’s Outline and Medea.” Los Angeles Review of Books. September 25, 2015.

“A Horribly Marvelous and Delicate Abyss: The Complete Stories by Clarice Lispector.” The Millions. August 10, 2015.

“’We Are a Bunch of Remittance Addicts’: An Interview with Imee Marcos, Governor of Ilocos Norte, Philippines.” Los Angeles Review of Books. June 20, 2015.

“Alice Fulton’s Barely Composed.” Boston Review. May/June 2015. (pp. 74-5)

“Cookie On My Mind.” Los Angeles Review of Books. March 25, 2015.

“Adrienne Rich in Chile: An Interview.” The Critical Flame. March 23, 2015.

“On Waiting and Sugar.” Los Angeles Review of Books. November 15, 2014.

“It Takes Two” (on Joshua Wolf Shenk’s Powers of Two: Finding the Essence of Innovation in Creative Pairs).  Rewire Me. November 5, 2014.

“Paz with a ‘Z'” (found poem). Silver Birch Press. September 26, 2014.

“My Disease Feels Beautiful to Me: On the Work of Raúl Zurita.” The Millions. September 25, 2014.

“Look! Our Bodies in Play.” An Essay on the American artist Michael Sagato for his solo show at Jack Geary Contemporary. Michael Sagato: Birds of a Feather (artist’s catalog). New York City. April 24, 2014. (My essay was quoted by Artsy Editorial here.)

“A [Bilingual] Conversation with Forrest Gander and Raúl Zurita about ‘Pinholes in the Night: Essential Poems from Latin America.'” Los Angeles Review of Books. February 2, 2014.

“I Found a Way to Enter: Diving Into Writing.” The Millions. November 26, 2013.

“‘The House We Live In’: Elizabeth Bishop on the Big Screen.” The Paris Review Daily. November 7, 2013.

“Precious Cargo.” The Paris Review Daily. June 28, 2013.

“Playing Telephone with Emily Dickinson and Paul Legault.” The Millions. November 14, 2012.

“Clarice Lispector’s The Hour of the Star As Translated by Benjamin Moser.” The Millions. January 11, 2012.

“Unmentionables: Norman Rush’s Domestic Disturbances.” Los Angeles Review of Books. October 24, 2011. 

Review of Ernesto Cardenal’s The Origin of Species and Other Poems. Rattle. September 20, 2011.

“Anniversaries, Anesthesia, and Elizabeth Bishop.” The Millions. August 10, 2011. 

El Mercurio (Chile’s leading newspaper).  Articles published (in Spanish) in the “Artes & Letras” section from July 2000 to June 2001, including: interviews with Rita Dove, Adrienne Rich,  Armando Uribe (Part 1 & Part 2) and Isabel Allende; features on the historic Parisian cabaret known as Crazy Horse, the PRI in Mexico, and philanthropy in Latin America; and reviews of many books and films, including Julian Schnabel’s film version of Reinaldo Arena’s novel Before Night Falls.

Selected Translations

Translated from the Portuguese with Paulo Lemos Horta. “The Cosmopolitanism of the Poor” by Silviano Santiago. Los Angeles Review of Books. September 6, 2017. This theoretical essay begins with a reflection on Manoel de Oliveira‘s film “Voyage to the Beginning of the World” and is the first essay in the collection  Cosmopolitanisms, NYU Press 2017.

Translated from the Spanish (my and Chilean poet Raúl Zurita’s parts). “A [Bilingual] Conversation with Forrest Gander and Raúl Zurita about ‘Pinholes in the Night: Essential Poems from Latin America.'” Los Angeles Review of Books. February 2, 2014.

Translated from the Spanish. “Chile’s September 11: Marking the 40th Anniversary of Pinochet” by Óscar Contardo. Los Angeles Review of Books. September 11, 2013.

Translated from the Portuguese. “Brazil: The Ground Shakes in the Country of Inequalities and Paradoxes” by Luiz Eduardo Soares. Los Angeles Review of Books. July 1, 2013.

Texts by and about the Chilean poet Nicanor Parra for his show titled “Obras Públicas” (Public Works) at the National Library in Madrid, Spain. May 30 through September 1, 2013. Critical texts about Parra by Spanish writer and critic Ignacio Echavarría.

Fellowships and Prizes

Yaddo Residency. Saratoga Springs, NY. Summer 2016.

Dissertation Year Fellowship, UCLA. 2006-07.

Faculty Women’s Club Fellowship, UCLA.  2002-2007.

FLAS Fellowship for Advanced Portuguese. 2004-05.

Named an Alternate for the Fulbright-Hays Fellowship for study in Brazil. 2004-05.

Fishbaugh/UCLA Affiliates Fellowship. 2003-04.

Dept. of English, UCLA. Shirle Dorothy Robbins Poetry Contest, 2nd place. 2003.

Dept. of Comparative Literature, UCLA.  Department Fellowship. 2001-2003.

Pollak/UCLA Affiliates Fellowship, UCLA. 2002-2003.

UCLA Latin America Center Small Grant. 2002-03.

UCLA Center for Study of Women Graduate Travel Grant. 2002-03.

James R. and Isabel D. Hammond Prize for the best undergraduate thesis on a subject concerning the Spanish-speaking countries of the Americas, Harvard University. 1999.

David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies Summer Field Research Travel Grant, Harvard University. 1998.

Potter Prize (second place), Harvard University. 1998.

Thomas & Frances Haldeman Sidwell Award. Sidwell Friends School. 1995.

Teaching Experience 

Lecturer. UCLA, Dept of Comparative Literature. September 2007 to June 2008. “Chains, Trains & Auto-mobiles: The Organization & Classification of Peoples and Thoughts in Literature from the Enlightenment to the 20th Century.”

Instructor of record. UCLA, Dept of Comparative Literature. Prepared and taught three undergraduate comparative literature courses (one per quarter) that fulfilled the university mandated writing requirement. Prepared course syllabi, lectures, and discussions, as well as graded papers, exams, and other assignments. September 2005 to June 2006.

Teaching Assistant. UCLA, Dept of Comparative Literature. Prepared and taught weekly discussion sections for undergraduate lecture courses.  Graded papers, exams, and other assignments. September 2003 to June 2004.

Instructor. Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile (Santiago, Chile). “Hemingway, Woolf, and Faulkner.”  Undergraduate elective course for Literature majors. March to July 2001.

Instructor. Universidad del Desarrollo (Santiago, Chile). “Twentieth-Century Literature” and “Literature and Journalism.” Core courses for undergraduate Literature and Journalism majors. July 2000 to July 2001.

Other Experience

Graduate Assistant. Proofread articles for The Cambridge Companion to the Latin American Novel (Cambridge University Press, 2005) edited by Efraín Kristal. July 2003.

Student Affairs Officer. UCLA’s Scholarship Resource Center. Assisted students with the scholarship application process. September 2002 to June 2003.


Spanish, native speaker.

Portuguese, near-native speaker.

French, advanced reading, writing, conversational skills.

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