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Margaret Randall is a feminist poet, writer, photographer and social activist. She is the author of 90 books. In 2010 she was selected to be a judge for this hemisphere's most prestigious Spanish language literary prize, the Casa de las Americas. Her most recent collections of poetry have been published by Wings Press: As If the Empty Chair: Poems for the disappeared / Como si la silla vacía: Poemas para los desaparecidos (2011), Their Backs to the Sea (2009) and My Town (2010). A limited edition chapbook of poems about the Disappeared of Latin America, As If the Empty Chair/Como si la silla vacía will appear in early 2011. A facing-page edition in English and Spanish, the translations were done by Leandro Katz and Diego Fernando Guerra.

Born in New York City in 1936, Margaret Randall has lived for extended periods in Albuquerque, New York, Seville, Mexico City, Havana, and Managua. Shorter stays in Peru and North Vietnam were also formative. In the 1960s she co-founded and co-edited El Corno Emplumado / The Plumed Horn, a bilingual literary journal which for eight years published some of the most dynamic and meaningful writing of an era. From 1984 through 1994 she taught at a number of U.S. universities.

Randall was privileged to live among New York's abstract expressionists in the 1950s and early '60s, participate in the Mexican student movement of 1968, share important years of the Cuban revolution (1969-1980), the first four years of Nicaragua's Sandinista project (1980-1984), and visit North Vietnam during the heroic last months of the U.S. American war in that country (1974). Her four children--Gregory, Sarah, Ximena and Ana--have given her ten grandchildren. She has lived with her life companion, the painter and teacher Barbara Byers, for the past two decades.

Upon her return to the United States from Nicaragua in 1984, Randall was ordered to be deported when the government invoked the 1952 McCarran-Walter Immigration and Nationality Act, judging opinions expressed in some of her books to be "against the good order and happiness of the United States." The Center for Constitutional Rights defended Randall, and many writers and others joined in an almost five-year battle for reinstatement of citizenship. She won her case in 1989.

In 1990 Randall was awarded the Lillian Hellman and Dashiell Hammett grant for writers victimized by political repression. In 2004 she was the first recipient of PEN New Mexico's Dorothy Doyle Lifetime Achievement Award for Writing and Human Rights Activism.

To Change the World: My Life in Cuba, was recently published by Rutgers University Press. "The Unapologetic Life of Margaret Randall" is an hour-long documentary by Minneapolis filmmakers Lu Lippold and Pam Colby. It is distributed by Cinema Guild in New York City.

For more information about the author, visit her website at

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Titles Published by Wings Press: