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Frances Riddle Interviews Claudia Piñeiro

cover of Elena Knows by Claudia PiñeiroTranslator Frances Riddle sits down to interview Argentine author Claudia Piñeiro about her writing life and new book, Elena Knows (Charco Press, July 2021). Piñeiro talks about how she believes writing came formatted in her DNA as she felt the need to express herself with the written word. She also talked about how she couldn’t study writing or humanities at college as the military dictatorship in Argentina had closed all humanities departments. Her writing education was informal workshops taught by well-known, important writers at houses, cafes, or bars. She personally recognizes Guillermo Saccomanno as her mentor as she studied with him the longest.

If I could sum it up: my formation has been just me seeking out things I could add on to learn to write better.

Piñeiro talks about how you cannot make a living as a writer in Argentina and how she had to write surrounded by her kids, the doorbell ringing, and other distractions. She also talks about her writing practice.

I don’t have an outline. . . . But I do have an idea—a global idea—of where the characters will go and what’s going to happen. And I do imagine the ending. Then, during writing, sometimes I take those routes, or sometimes I veer off onto other paths. Often the ending changes.

Read the full interview online in the Southwest Review.