Poet and Activist
As a teenager, Marjorie Agosín and her family chose to leave their home in Chile to avoid life under the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet. She never forgot the people and the home she left behind, and in her vast body of writings she pays tribute to their struggles and bravery, telling their stories in poetry, fiction, and nonfiction works. Agosín is especially passionate about representing the voices of Latin American women. She writes about women of the arpilleristas, who created woven tapestries to document and mourn their sons, fathers, husbands, and brothers who were “disappeared” under Pinochet; about the hundreds and possibly thousands of murdered women of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico; about her own mother, who grew up as a Jewish immigrant in a German Chilean community.
Agosín, who teaches Latin American studies at Wellesley College, has won numerous honors in recognition of her work as a human rights activist, including the United Nations Leadership Award for Human Rights, the Jeanette Rankin Award in Human Rights, and years after she left her homeland the Chilean government honored her with the Gabriela Mistral Medal for Lifetime Achievement.