Cristina Siscar was born in 1947 in Buenos Aires, where she lived until her exile to France in 1979 at the peak of the military dictatorship in Argentina (1976-1983). After completing a Profesorado en Letras, and whilst studying for a further degree in Ciencias de la Educación at the Universidad de Buenos Aires (UBA), she worked as a secondary school teacher and as a journalist for La Nación. When her university studies were interrupted by political interventions at the UBA in the years immediately preceding the military coup, preventing her from completing her degree, she continued to write poetry, which she had begun as a student and for which she had already won national prizes.
In the early 1970s, Siscar became politically active in militant Marxist circles that opposed the economic inequality and the increasingly repressive atmosphere that would be exacerbated under military rule after the coup d’état in 1976. In the climate of persecution leading up to the dictatorship, her apartment was ransacked by the police in 1975; at the peak of her activism in 1977, her husband was kidnapped and ‘disappeared by’ the military, along with her sister and brother-in-law. Siscar eventually went into exile in 1979, firstly to Brazil, and then to Paris where she remained for nearly seven years until 1986. In Paris, Siscar resumed writing, publishing her first volume of poetry there in a bilingual (French/Spanish) edition before returning to Buenos Aires in 1986, where she still lives.
Whilst she acquired French during the six years spent in exile in Paris, she has only ever written in her native Spanish in both fictional and non-fictional works that consider the disruptions and ruptures that are the immediate consequences of exile, as well as the enduring fragmentation and ‘inbetweenness’ that are its lasting legacies. To date, Siscar has published four volumes of short stories, a novel, an essay, a children’s book, a volume of poetry, and she has edited four volumes of short stories.
Compiled by Kate Averis (Paris)
Las lineas de la mano (Buenos Aires: Colihue, 1993) [for children]
La sombra del jardín (Buenos Aires: Simurg, 1999)
Lugar de todos los nombres (Buenos Aires; Montevideo: Puntosur, 1988)
Los efectos personales (Buenos Aires: De la Flor, 1994)
La Siberia (Buenos Aires: Mondadori, 2007)
Tatuajes/Tatouages (Paris: Correcaminos, 1985)
El viaje: itinerarios de la lectura (Cordoba, Arg: Alción, 2003) (essay)
Violencias II: Visiones femeninas ([with Eduarda Mancilla de García; short stories by Argentine and Uruguayan women authors] Buenos Aires: Instituto Movilizador de Fondos Cooperativos, 1993)
Los viajes: cuentos de autores contemporáneos ([short stories by contemporary writers] Buenos Aires: Instituto Movilizador de Fondos Cooperativos, 1994)
Varados: viajes sin partida o sin regreso ([short stories by Latin American writers] Buenos Aires: Instituto Movilizador de Fondos Cooperativos, 1996)
El lenguaje de las cosas en la literatura del siglo XX ([short stories, poems and essays] Buenos Aires: Desde la gente, 2001)
Averis, Kate: Exile and Nomadism in French and Hispanic Women’s Writing (Oxford: Legenda, 2014)
Boccanera, Jorge: Tierra que anda: Los escritores en el exilio (Buenos Aires: Ameghino, 1999)
Diaz, Gwendolyn: Women and Power in Argentine Literature: Stories, Interviews and Critical Essays (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2007)
Dölle, Susanne: ‘El exilio y otras transgresiones en la narrativa de tres autoras latinoamericanas en Europa: Cristina Peri Rossi, Ana Vásquez Bronfman y Cristina Siscar’ in Paradose Lost or Gained? The Literature of Hispanic Exile ed. by Fernando Alegría and Jorge Ruffinelli (Houston: Arte Publico, 1990, pp. 131-40)
Guy, Orianne: ‘L’espace de l’exile dans La sombra deljardín de Cristina Siscar’ in Villes américaines du XXIème siècle: réalités et représentations sociales, culturelles et linguistiques (Amérika: mémoires, identités, territoires 9, 2013 [Special Issue], available online at https://amerika.revues.org/4464
Martínez, Carlos Dámaso: ‘El encanto revelador de la epifanía: sobre La sombra del jardín de Cristina Siscar’ in Espacios de crítica y producción 25, 1999, pp. 124-5)
Ponce, Néstor: ‘Diáspora, errancia, querencia en La sombra del jardín de Cristina Siscar’ in El escritor y el intelectual entre dos mundos: homenaje internacional a Fernando Aínsa ed. by Cécile Chantraine-Braillon, Norah Giraldi Dei Cas and Fatiha Idmhand (Frankfurt/M.: Iberoamericana/Vervuert, 2010)
―: ‘Littérature transnationale argentine: l’errance comme racine dans La sombra del jardín de Cristina Siscar’ in Cultures urbaines et faits transculturels ed. by Daniel Vives (Rouen: Publications des Universités de Rouen et du Havre, 2011)