Sergio Ramírez at Princeton

Sergio Ramírez in Special Collections, Firestone Library, fall 2022.

Princeton University Library, home to the Sergio Ramírez Papers, has been honored to receive his visit on several occasions during the fall semester to review his archive and other bibliographic treasures with students, visitors, and family. Ramírez is one of the most distinguished Latin American living writers, having published more than 50 books and received numerous literary awards, most notably the Cervantes Prize in 2017.

A prominent figure in the 1979 revolution that overthrew the Somoza family dictatorship in Nicaragua, Ramírez served as Vice President of the country from 1985 to 1990. He retired from politics in 1997 and soon after published Adiós muchachos, an acclaimed personal memoir and analysis of the Sandinista Revolution. Since then, he devoted himself chiefly to his literary projects. In recent years, he has also become one of the most important critical voices against the Daniel Ortega regime. After the Nicaraguan government threatened to arrest him and banned his most recent novel, Tongolele no sabía bailar , he has lived in exile in Spain. This fall, Sergio Ramírez is at Princeton as a Visiting Professor hosted jointly by the Department of Spanish & Portuguese and the Program in Latin American Studies (PLAS).

The Sergio Ramírez Papers are an extensive archive containing the author’s literary, personal, and political papers. The Writings section of the collection includes both drafts and final versions in manuscript and typed manuscript format of most of Ramírez’s fiction, nonfiction, and short expository works, covering the period 1954 to 2004. It also includes interviews and translations of Ramírez’s works by others into at least ten languages. Some manuscripts are accompanied by related items such as publishers’ proofs, correspondence, and source materials.

The extensive Correspondence section covers the period 1960-2004, and includes letters from a wide range of renowned writers (those whose archives are also housed at Princeton appear hyperlinked) and politicians, such as Claribel Alegría, Violeta Barrios de Chamorro*, Mario Benedetti, Ernesto Cardenal*, Jimmy Carter, Julio Cortázar, Pablo Antonio Cuadra*, Carlos Fuentes, Gabriel García Márquez*, Felipe González, Augusto Monterroso, Ronald Reagan, and Mario Vargas Llosa, among many others.

The Political Archive consists of two main sections. The first one follows Ramírez’s political activities, from the early actions of his student days in the 1960s, to his retirement from the political field in 1997. It includes documents and materials about Ramírez’s participation in the Sandinista Revolution against the Somoza regime, the Junta de Gobierno de Reconstrucción Nacional, his activities as Vice President and as leader of the Sandinista Party, the foundation of the Movimiento de Renovación Sandinista, and his participation as candidate for president in 1996. The second section consists of documents and materials collected by Ramírez related to Nicaraguan political history, mostly related to Augusto C. Sandino, the Somoza family, and various political events of the twentieth century before the Sandinista Revolution.

Photo of unidentified militants of the Frente Sandinista de Liberación Nacional (FSLN) in 1978. Sergio Ramírez Papers, box 58, folder 6

The collection includes many miscellaneous and printed materials. Of special interest are the materials about Masatepe (Ramírez’s birth place) iand the wide array of printed materials that include Ramírez’s short writings. These printed materials not only show the context in which Ramírez’s short writings were published, but also represent a rich collection of ephemera from Latin America, difficult to find outside the local context. A finding aid listing the content of the archive in detail is available online.

Sergio Ramírez with family members in Special Collections, Firestone Library, fall 2022.

* The Violeta Barrios de Chamorro Papers are housed at Tulane University. The Pablo Antonio Cuadra Papers, Gabriel García Márquez Papers and the Ernesto Cardenal Papers are housed at the University of Texas in Austin.