María Teresa Andruetto

Portrait María Teresa Andruetto
© Hartwig Klappert

María Teresa Andruetto was born in 1954 in Arroyo Cabral, in the Argentinian province of Córdoba, where she still lives today. After studying Literature at the Universidad Nacional de Córdoba, she specialised in Children’s and Young Adult’s Literature. She worked as editor at “Piedra Libre”, a literary magazine for children and adolescents, and played a part in the founding of a research centre for children’s and youth literature, to whose board of directors she belonged for nine years. Since the end of the 1980’s she has published scores of short stories, novels, poems and plays for adults, children and young adults.

Her novel “Stefano” (1997; German: “Stefanos weite Reise”, 2003) was her first novel for adolescents to appear in German. The book tells the story of Stefano, who in the 1940’s migrated to Argentina to escape the miserable conditions of his life in the Italian Piemont. Following an adventurous crossover, Stefano initially scraped by with simple jobs at a hotel for immigrants and at a cattle farm belonging to his friend Pino. He soon moved on however, and joined the circus as a saxophone player, before starting his own family in his new home.

Andruetto is a “taciturn narrator”, who, nevertheless, has much to say. Unsentimental and plain, she describes the long journey of a young man searching for his identity. By and by the fragmented memories and impressions of the first-person narrator fit together like pieces of a puzzle – ingeniously told from three perspectives. For the author, “Stefano” also represents a journey along her father’s tracks. All the same, she does not narrate with biographical adherence, rather she relates his experience to the destiny of millions of immigrants who crossed over to Argentina between the end of the 19th century and the middle of the 20th. “If a book is a path towards knowledge, a way to grasp the world and search for our own place within it, then Stefano gave me the opportunity to re-experience the sensations of hunger, rootlessness and estrangement experienced by men and women who, like those who leave today, once arrived with the hope of a better life.”

María Teresa Andruetto has received many awards, among them one for the children’s book “El anillo encantado” (1993) and “Huellas en la arena” (1997). Several of her works for children and young adults can be found in the “White Ravens” catalogue of the International Children’s Library in Munich, such as the short story collection “La mujer vampiro” (2001), in which she borrows elements from old horror stories and weaves them into the everyday world of children in an exciting and humorous way. In addition to her literary work Andruetto teaches Creative Writing, trains mediators for children’s literature and has taken up an editorial post at the publishing house Ediciones del Eclipse.

© international literature festival berlin