Jorge Olivera Castillo
Jorge Olivera Castillo is a well-known and prolific dissident Cuban author and journalist whose writing has been translated into multiple languages including English, Italian, French, Polish, and Czech. His journalistic work has been published in newspapers in Sweden, Argentina, the US, and the Czech Republic. Olivera also writes both poetry and fiction, and has published a number of poetry and short story collections including Confesiones antes del Crepusculo, published by the Independent Libraries Project in Miami in 2005; Huésped del Infierno, published in Spain by Aduana Vieja in 2007; En cuerpo y alma, published by Czech PEN in 2008; Cenizas Alumbradas, published in Poland in 2010; Antes que Amanezca y otros relatos, published in Buenos Aires, Argentina 2010; Sobrevivir en la boca del Lobo, published in Madrid in 2012; Tatuajes en la Memoria, published in Prague in 2013; and Quemar las naves, published in the United States in 2015. Translations of Olivera’s poetry appeared in a special anniversary edition of Index on Censorship, ‘Beyond Bars: 50 Years of the Writers in Prison Committee’ in 2010, and he was a contributor to PEN International’s anthology Write Against Impunity, in 2012. Between 1983 and 1993, he worked in Havana as a television program editor. From there, he joined the dissident movement, serving until 1995 as press secretary to the independent Federation of Democratic Cuban Workers, and as director of the Habana Press agency from 1999-2003. Olivera was arrested in the 2003 government crackdown known as the “Black Spring,” when seventy five people – including human rights defenders, trade union activists, opposition party members, journalists, writers and librarians – were arrested and detained. He was imprisoned in Guantanamo and held in solitary confiement from March 2003 to December 2004, and was only released from his eighteen-year sentence on health grounds. With his wife, Nancy, he has come to Harvard, as a visiting writer, through the Harvard Scholars at Risk (SAR) Program.