Tusquets Colombia Publishes Debut Nonfiction from Teresita Goyeneche Perezbardi '20

Jessie Shohfi
November 15, 2022

La Personalidad de los Pelícanos, a debut work of nonfiction–written in Spanish–from alumna Teresita Goyeneche Perezbardi ’20, is available now from Tusquets Colombia.

The title of Goyeneche Perezbardi’s book translates to “The Personality of Pelicans.” The first-person narrative follows the author’s emotional journey as a freezing winter in New York drives her to long for her home, the city of Cartagena, Colombia. Goyeneche Perezbardi rediscovers her city through this nostalgia, uncovering overlaps between her upbringing in Cartagena in the eighties and nineties and the political evolution of the colonial, classist, and racist forces that corrupted the city. 

The book is partly an ode to the city of Cartagena, which was effectively the first fully functioning, fully independent state in what came to be modern day Colombia, and which this month celebrated two hundred and eleven years of independence. Through these pages, Goyeneche Perezbardi redefines her relationship with her home, grappling with the love, hate, frustration, and longing that we all hold for the lands we call our own.

In the prologue, which is available to preview online, Goyeneche Perezbardi opens by describing her perception of Cartagena. “At three in the afternoon, a suffocating glow seems to cast itself over the city. This place has its own rhythms. It’s the sunshine that sparkles, splendorous, over the vast sea or on the various sections of the bay. I have always sensed something trapped in the air which seems to be dying; that here, where life is slow but undeniable, something else, something deep, withers. The years don't matter. How far I currently am from that picture doesn’t matter. I hold it tight, like nothing else.”

Goyeneche Perezbardi announced the publication of her book on Twitter, where she said, “I started writing and this book, in which I deposited all my love and also my pain, came out. I wrote it from my wounds and from history. My recommendation is: devour it with the same voracity with which I wrote it. Love it, hate it, it's yours now. If it had a subtitle, it would be something like, ‘The Personality of Pelicans: Born and Raised in the Paradise of Others.’”

La Personalidad de los Pelícanos is available for purchase now

Teresita Goyeneche Perezbardi completed her undergraduate degree at Universidad del Norte, has a master's degree in creative writing from Columbia University, and is a doctoral candidate in Latin American, Iberian, and Latino cultural studies at the City University of New York. She is a teacher, works in social and cultural management, and writes features, columns and essays. She has worked in organizations such as Fundación Leo Espinosa, Fundación Gabo and Mutante, and her writings have appeared in media outlets such as El Malpensante, Vice en español, El Espectador, and Univisón. In 2017, Teresita was a finalist for the Inter-American Press Association (IAPA) award. She was a recipient of the Gabo Scholarship for cultural journalism in 2018.