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WWB EVENT — Back to the Future: Cuban Sci-fi Now

By The Editors of Words Without Borders

Image: Douglas Pérez, "Pictopía III: Still I Have a Dream," 2009, Courtesy of the Shelley and Donald Rubin Private Collection.

Celebrate WWB's current issue and discover Cuban science fiction
at the Bronx Museum of the Arts!

Explore the world of Cuban science fiction at a bilingual reading with Erick J. Mota and Yoss, whose far-out work is featured in the May issue of Words without Borders edited by Esther Allen and Hillary Gulley. Deji Bryce Olukotun (Nigerians in Space) will moderate a discussion with Mota, Yoss, and Cuban science fiction scholar Yasmín S. Portales-Machado about this exciting literary frontier. The event is free and open to the public, and a reception will follow. Please register here.

Date: Wednesday, May 25, 7:00pm-9:00pm

Location: The Bronx Museum of the Arts—1040 Grand Concourse, Bronx, NY 10456


Yoss is an essayist, critic, and writer of realism, science fiction, and heroic fantasy. He is considered to be the most significant contemporary fantasy writer from Cuba. His work has been awarded numerous prizes, both in Cuba and abroad, and has appeared in various national and international anthologies. To date, he has published over thirty books in Cuba and around the world, and his work has been translated into English, French, Italian, Polish, and Japanese. Since 2007, he has been the singer for the heavy metal band TENAZ.

Yasmín S. Portales-Machado is a science fiction scholar, gay rights activist, and a freelance journalist for and She is the coordinator in Cuba of the “Anticapitalism and Emergent Sociability” Work Group of the Latin American Council for the Social Sciences and founder of the Cuban Digital Humanities Network. Her blog is:


Erick J. Mota’s work includes the short story collection Algunos recuerdos que valen la pena (2010), the novel Habana Anderguater (Atom Press, 2010), and the novella Bajo Presión, which won the 2007 Edad de Oro award. He was a finalist of the 2013 Ignotus Prize, and a recipient of the Calendario award and the TauZero award. His short stories have been published in the international anthologies 2099 and 2099-b (Ediciones Irreverentes, 2012), Malditos bastardos (Ediciones La Palma, 2014), Cuba in Splinters (O/R Books, 2014), and Terra Nova: The Anthology of Contemporary Science Fiction (Sportula, 2014). 

Deji Bryce Olukotun is the author of Nigerians in Space, a thriller about brain drain from Africa. His short story “We Are the Olfanauts” was published in the fiction collection Watchlist: 32 Short Stories by Persons of Interest in 2015 (O/R Books). His work has been featured in Electric Literature, Quartz, Guernica, and ESPN. Deji is an attorney with a background in human rights and technology who works at the digital rights organization Access Now. Before that, he defended writers around the world at PEN American Center with support from the Ford Foundation. A sequel to Nigerians in Space will be published in 2017 by Unnamed Press. 

Esther Allen's translations include the Penguin Classics anthology José Martí: Selected WritingsEncyclopedia of a Life in Russia by José Manuel Prieto, Lands of Memory by Felisberto Hernández, Alma Guillermoprieto's Dancing withCuba: A Memoir of the Revolution, and Zama by Antonio Di Benedetto, which is forthcoming in August, 2016.  She was named a Chevalier de l'ordre des arts et des lettres by the French government for her work promoting a culture of translation in English. She teaches at the Graduate Center and Baruch College, City University of New York. Her Web site is

Hillary Gulley is a writer and translator from Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese. In 2012, she was awarded a PEN/Heim Translation Fund Grant for her work on Marcelo Cohen’s The End of the Same. Her work includes a translated anthology of contemporaryCuban short stories entitled Cuba in Splinters, Eleven Stories from the New Cuba (O/R Books, 2014). Her forthcoming works include Kazbek by Ecuadorian writer Leonardo Valencia (Autumn Hill Books, 2017). In addition to her full-time translation work, Hillary teaches composition, narrative, and poetry at CUNY—Queens College.

This event is co-sponsored by the Bridge SeriesRestless BooksThe Bronx Museum of the Artsand the Cuban Cultural Center of New York.

Published May 18, 2016   Copyright 2016 The Editors of Words Without Borders

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