By Denali Norton
As part of the visiting writer series hosted by various City College departments, award-winning author, Julián Delgado Lopera came to discuss their own creative writing process and shared an excerpt from their first novel, Fiebre Tropical, with City College students.
After reading an excerpt from their novel Tuesday night, Maggie Harrison, the Womens and Gender Studies department chair and English professor Jen Sullivan Brych sat down to discuss the novel and Lopera’s creative writing process. From there, questions were opened up to both in-person and virtual attendee’s.
Lopera has won many awards for various short stories in magazines as well as a review from the New York Times for their novel Fiebre Tropical. A writer and historian, their first novel is all about the story of a family of three women in Miami.
During the discussion Lopera talked through the small moment from their own life that they wanted to explore and expand on to create the longer from story they have now. They also highlighted the importance of three dimensional characters in their storytelling
“I wanted the mom to be more than just a mom in this story,” stated Julián Delgado Lopera
Another choice Lopera discussed was the decision to have the story written in both English and Spanish and the pushback they received for this decision. Lopera saw Fiebre Tropical as written for a specific audience and understanding both languages is what allows one to understand the story on a deeper level.
Lopera then went on to discuss English and Spanish historically being used together by many other storytellers and their decision to ignore those who thought their story should all be written in the same language.
After graduating from UC Berkeley and before getting their Master’s from San Francisco State University, Lopera took creative writing classes here at City College. Those classes are what inspired them to eventually get their Master’s at San Francisco State.
While there, Lopera’s thesis became an early version of what would become their debut novel. Originally “Fiebre Tropical” was never supposed to be published but after being approached by a publishing company more than once to turn it into what was published
The audience listening in were aspiring writers or interested students in various City College classes. Many heard about the event from teachers of the various departments putting the series together. Even virtual guests had the chance to ask questions while a mediator read them out from the chat.
“It was really interesting to see a writer using the same techniques we’re learning about in class,” said City College Student, Kirstin Weihl.
Throughout the open question time many looked to Lopera for inspiration and advice as aspiring writers themselves. There were also those simply interested in what being a writer looked like for Lopera and what their family thought of it.
Some students were interested in Lopera’s own writing habits and how they make sure they are always writing as well as asked advice about the best practices to maintain for a new writer.
“I liked learning about this successful author’s creative process and how they’ve mastered their craft” stated David Loredel, a student at City College.