Spanish Women in Literature

With special thanks to Pamela Smith-Berry for suggesting and researching this section of the Women's Bibliography



Ackelsberg, Martha A.  Free Women of Spain: Anarchism and the Struggle for the Emancipation of Women.  (Rev. ed., 2004)

Comprehensive study of Mujeres Libres which mobilized over 20,000 women into an organized network to strive for community, education, and equality for women; intertwining interviews with the women themselves and analysis connecting them with modern feminist movements.


Bieder, Maryellen; Johnson, Roberta, editors. Spanish Women Writers and Spain's Civil War. (Non-fiction, essays, 2016)

Fresh perspectives on well-known women writers, and less studied ones, whose works take the Spanish Civil War as a theme; reflects a wide range of political positions.


Davies, Catherine. Spanish Women's Writing 1849-1996. (1998).

Major authors within Spain's changing political, cultural and economic world.


Hastings, Alex. "Mujeres Libres: Lessons on Anarchism and Feminism from Spain's Free Women." Scholars Weekly. W. Washington Univ. (Non-fiction, 2016) - (American)


Lines, Lisa Margaret. Milicianas: Women in Combat in the Spanish Civil War. (Non-fiction, 2011) - (Australian)

Life of the women who fought during the first year of the civil war, focusing on how the women themselves viewed this experience. Book argues that the reason it was initially considered acceptable for women to fight, and then seen as undesirable eight months later, was connected to the course of the social revolution.

Mangini, Shirley. Memories of Resistance: Women's Voices from the Spanish Civil War. Yale Univ. Press, 1995). (Non-fiction) - (American)

Early study focuses on Spanish women's contributions before, during, after the Civil War effort; social and psychological implications of this radical change in traditional role. Quotes from "memory texts" -- oral testimonies, diaries, autobiographies, letters.


Nash, Mary. Defying Male Civilization: Women in the Spanish Civil War. (Non-fiction, 1995) - (Ireland-Spain)

Being actively involved in the struggle was a liberating experience. Women gained confidence in their own capabilities, questioned their traditional role in society and the restrictions that had been imposed on them because of their gender, and broke with their accustomed isolation from political and public life.

Ryan, Lorraine.  “A Case Apart: The Evolution of Spanish Feminism.” In Feminisms within and without, Rebecca Pelan, editor (2006). Galway: National Women Studies Centre,  Can download PDF version



Isidora Dolores Ibárruri Gómez.  (Spanish, 1895–1989) – known as Pasionaria (English: "the Passionflower"), Wikipedia  

Entire room devoted to La Pasionaria in the Mining Museum, Bilbao


Marina Ginest Coloma (French, 1919-2014) – subject of the famous revolutionary photograph (21 July 1936), taken by the German photographer Hans Gutmann (Juan Guzmán) at the Hotel Colón in Barcelona.  Icon of the Civil War.  Wikipedia

See:  Lines, Milicianas (2011)


Women Suffrage in the Spainsh Civil War,” Wikipedia 

Excellent bibliography. Of particular interest:  Clara Campoamor Rodrigues (worked for full emancipation); Victoria Kent Siano (conservative, Republican representative), Margarita Nelken y Mansberger (Socialist intellectual, MP); Mujares Libres (women's organization)



Garza, Cristina Rivera. “12 Essential Spanish-Language Female Authors.” Publisher's Weekly (12 January 1918) – (Spanish) – Summaries follow.  Primarily fiction, but there are a few non-fiction selections included.

Selection of women writers from the Spanish-speaking world who question the status quo, refuse to comply with gender and other hierarchies. Some are translated into several languages, in trans-border literary conversations; most defy easy categories.


   Alsina, Marta Aponte. La muerte feliz de William Carlos Williams (Puerto Rico)

Fuses biographical memories with her reading of Williams to explore topics in her own writing: foreigner's gaze, re-writing/subverting canonical texts, links between Puerto and United States, neglected voices of women.  Not Translated into English.


   Arredondo, Inés. Trans. Cynthia Steel. “Underground River” and Other Stories (Stories, 1996) – (Mexico).  Dark side of gendered desire; world in which love & descruction seem interchangeable.


   Campos, Julieta. Trans Leeland Chambers. Fear of Losing Eurydice (Fiction, 1993) -  (Cuba-Mexico). Cross-genre works investigate desire and memory, they way they leave  traces and wounds in the body and in society.


   Carrington, Leonora. Intro. Kathryn Davis. The Complete Stories (Fiction, Stories, 2017)  (England-Mexico).  Magical, dark fairy stories by surrealist painter/author - irony and fantasy to unlock mystries of the soul and mock power.


   Castellanos, Rosario. Trans. Maureen Ahem. A Rosario Castellanos Reader (Uiversity of Texas Press, 1988) – (Mexican)   A veritable tour de force.


   Eltit, Diamela. Trans. Ronald Christ. Photography, Paz Errázuriz. Soul's Infarct. (Documentary/Essay, 2009) – (Chile).  Questions the relationship between love a and madness, and their connection with marginality and power.


   Garza, Cristina Rivera, trans. Sarah Booker. The Iliac Crest (Fiction, 2017)

Story about two women who visit an unnamed narrator at his oceanside home and gradually unravel his life, fracture his sense of reality, and shift his understanding of his own gender.


   di Giorgio, Marosa. trans. Jeannine Marie Pitas. I Remember Nightfall (Narrative Poem, 2017) - (Uruguay).  Transmutation, hallucination, and freedom; natural and supernatural creatures exchange secrets and yearnings


   Medel, Elena, trans. Lizzie Davis. My First Bikini; orig. Mi primer bikini (2016) (Spanish) - At age 16, won the prestigious Andaluzia Prize for young poets.


   Solórzano, Laura. Trans. Jen Hofer. Lip Wolf  (Poetry, 2007) -  (Mexico)

mere act of feeding a child with a wooden spoon appears as a threatening choreography of angst and love.



   Urbe, Sara. Trans. John Plucker. Antigona González (Documentary Poem, 2011) -  (Mexico) Perhaps the poem of an entire generation:  summons the dead, reminding us the day we cease sharing memory and language with them, we ourselves will become loss, oblivion.





Dueñas, Maria. Trans. Daniel Hahn. The Seamstress  In USA: The Time In Between  (Historical Novel, 2012) – (Spanish)

Sira Quiroga, finds herself abandoned, pregnant, and penniless in Tangiers but rebuilds her life as a seamstress providing haut couture to expatriates and the German community. Slowly she is drawn into the world of British espionage. Story weaves fact and fiction as it draws on the life of Rosalinda Fox and Juan Luis Beigbeder, Spanish Minister for Foreign Affairs.

Garcia Lorca, Federico.  Rural Trilogy: Plays of the Spanish Earth  (Drama) – (Spanish)

desire, repression, ritual, constraints and commitments of rural Spain. Various editions, translators, and combinations

         Blood Wedding, (1932) – family vendetta and a bride who ran away with the son of the enemy

         Yerma, (1934) - a childless woman's desperate desire for motherhood becomes an obsession that eventually drives her to commit a horrible crime.   Film version with Aitana Sánchez-Gijón, Irene Papas (Spanish, 1998)

         The House of Bernarda Alba (1936) – mourning her husband, Bernarda Alba keeps total control over her five daughters (ages 20-39). Film: (1991), Glenda Jackson



Rodondo, Dolores.  trans. Michael Meigs. All This I Will Give to You (Mystery, 2018)

Stand-alone mystery set in Galicia.  Author Manuel discovers his husband has died in an auto accident. But Alvaro wasn't where he wasn't supposed to be and Manuel knew nothing about Alvaro's other family or his rich, powerful, secret life.  Author of the Baztán Trilogy.  2016 Planeta Award


Redondo, Dolores.  Baztán Trilogy.  Inspector Amaia Salazar returns from Pamplona to Elizondo, her childhood village in the Basque Baztán Valley, where mystery, reason, & spirituality collide.  Director:  Fernando González Molina; Starring Marta Etura

         The Invisible Guardian. Orig:  El guardián invisible – (2013)           – film (2017)

         The Legacy of the Bones. Orig: Legado en los hueso                    – film (2019)

Offering to the Storm. Orig: Ofrenda a la tormenta – (2014)        -- film (2020


NOTE: While not written by or particularly about Spanish women, you might want to look at two series of novels set in Valencia, our home. See: ”Books - Fiction"


Baker, Caroline Angus. Secrets of Spain Trilogy (Historical Fiction, 2012-2015) - (New Zealand)

Set in Valencia Province, the series tells the story of two families, separated by the Spanish Civil War, reunited in the 21st C. Each book moves between two different timelines as Luna and Cayetano explore how past mistakes still impact life today.


Webster, Jason – Inspector Max Camara (Mysteries, 2011-2017) - (British/American/Spanish)

Mysteries set in Valencia. Each traces crimes set within the corruption of Valencia's various governing bodies.