Shua, Ana María

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SHUA, ANA MARÍA (1951– ), Argentinean author. Born in Buenos Aires, she received a degree in education, with a specialty in literature, from the Universidad de Buenos Aires. She has worked as a journalist, publicist, and scriptwriter. In 1967, at the age of 16, she published a volume of poetry titled El sol y yo. This first book earned her two of the most prestigious literary awards in Argentina and initiated her lifetime career as a writer. She continued to receive numerous awards for her nearly 30 books, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, which she received to write her novel El libro de los recuerdos (1994). One of her most successful books, translated into English as The Book of Memories (1998), relates the story of her family's history of immigration and process of assimilation into Argentinean society. Her work covers a broad spectrum of topics and genres, from children's literature to science fiction. The novel La muerte como efecto secundario (1997) is an excellent example of the latter. Her work has begun to garner a significant amount of criticism, and she is now considered to be one of the foremost of contemporary women writers in Argentina and Latin America. She was often invited to lecture at universities in the United States.

Jewish topics are not central to Shua's work, though they do appear frequently. The aforementioned The Book of Memories is her most careful examination of Jewish identity and issues. Common in many of her books is her use of humor as a mode of expression. This may be seen in her short stories, novels, or even in the popular Risas y emociones de la comida judía (1993), a humorous cookbook that contains recipes as well as comical anecdotes on Jewish culture and tradition. Her wit is also evident in the book El marido argentino promedio (1991), a compilation of essays that examines Jewish and Argentinean eccentricities in relation to gender; mainly how men and women view life in often radically different ways.

Shua is most widely recognized for the way in which she is able to create interesting and entertaining narratives that also contain social criticism, feminist issues, and a constant questioning of tradition, history, memory, and values.

[Darrell B. Lockhart (2nd ed.)]