Piedad Bonnett is well-known for writing from her gut. Her work is honest, raw, and vulnerable. Whether it is poetry, novels, plays, or opinion pieces, her voice is always transparent and compelling. We take a look at her life and her signature approach to writing.
Piedad Bonnett, the woman
She was born into a Catholic family of teachers in 1951. She lived in her hometown of Amalfi, Antioquia, until they moved to Bogotá when she was 8-years-old (EcuRed, n.d.).
From a young age, she gravitated towards literature and theater. As a young woman, Bonnett became involved in social activism (EcuRed, n.d.). This situation created a rupture between Bonnett and her father, a very traditional and conservative man.
Basically, he had a specific idea of what the real Colombian woman should be.She says she “was never militant but did become belligerent and left-winged.” Such a turn made her father a non-believer of sorts in what she could do (Zabalbeascoa, 2019).
Nonetheless, she graduated from the philosophy program at Universidad de los Andes, where she also taught literature for decades. Piedad also holds a master’s degree in art, architecture, and design theory from Universidad Nacional de Colombia (EcuRed, n.d.).
Moreover, she has won multiple awards and received specialized critic acknowledgments in Colombia, Latin America, and Spain (EcuRed, n.d.).
Piedad Bonnett, the writer
She is a true figure among Colombian women in literature. First of all, she considers herself a poet. Her work always intends to digest life with honesty as her compass (Zabalbeascoa, 2019). Much of it has been translated to Italian, English, French, Swedish, Greek, and Portuguese (EcuRed, n.d.).
For Bonnett, writing allows people to be braver than in their everyday life. In her own words: “I show my parents who I am through my books but not on a conversation.” Her signature honesty lives in all her work, whether she talks about her own struggles or her country’s (Zabalbeascoa, 2019).
To Piedad Bonnett, thetransparency and vulnerability in her art come from a womanly place.“Writing from the gut is feminine. Women have not had the censorship and contention of feeling that men have suffered”, she says (Zabalbeascoa, 2019).
The writer finds this is only one of the many effects of sexism. She recognizes that gender roles are part of Colombian women culture, for example. Homemaking and caregiving are still almost exclusively Colombian women facts. To her, while sexism threatens women with violence and contempt, it also prompts them to be powerful and strong (Zabalbeascoa, 2019).
A writer’s fears
Bonnett says she feared writer’s block when she was young. In time, it disappeared because “the more she writes, the more subjects pop in her head.” As a result, her fear shifted toward not having enough time to explore them in her work (Bonnett, 2021).
Furthermore, she finds self-repetition and exhaustion also haunt writers. To her, becoming frozen in a successful formula and terrified of not fulfilling audiences’ expectations are usually fearsome perspectives in writing (Bonnett, 2021).
Bonnett, P. (2021). Los miedos del escritor. ABC. Retrieved from https://www.abc.es/cultura/cultural/abci-piedad-bonnett-miedos-escritor-202111191604_noticia.html?ref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.abc.es%2Fcultura%2Fcultural%2Fabci-piedad-bonnett-miedos-escritor-202111191604_noticia.html
EcuRed. (n.d.). Piedad Bonnett Vélez. Retrieved from https://www.ecured.cu/Piedad_Bonnett_V%C3%A9lez
Zabalbeascoa, A. (2019). Piedad Bonnett: “Escribir desde las tripas es algo femenino”. El País. Retrieved from https://elpais.com/elpais/2018/12/27/eps/1545933017_588470.html