The Eminent Jaime Manrique and Heat!
Award-winning author and Colombian-born scholar Jaime Manrique is a legendary presence in the literary world and an icon to gay Latino writers and others. A former professor of creative writing at Columbia University (and elsewhere), he has crafted over a dozen fiction and non-fiction volumes such as Eminent Maricones, Twilight at the Equator, and Latin Moon in Manhattan (all by University of Wisconsin Press). During the 1970s and 1980s, Jaime befriended the exiled Latin-American writers Reinaldo Arenas (Before Night Falls) and Manuel Puig (Kiss of the Spiderwoman), before they succumbed to AIDS. These experiences, plus his fascinating research on Spanish poet Federico García Lorca, make up the backbone of Eminent Maricones—the most notorious of all his gay-themed books. Jaime’s essay, “The Last Days of Reinaldo Arenas”, has been recently republished by the University of Wisconsin Press in Gay American Autobiography: Writings from Whitman to Sedaris (University of Wisconsin Press, 2009). I recently met with “Don Jaime” to discuss his literary achievements and future projects.