Aluma author Victoria Buitron MFA ’20 will share a full circle moment with Fairfield Bellarmine in a presentation of autobiographies highlighting her journey as a multicultural writer.
A former Fairfield graduate student in Creative Writing, Buitron will host a free event at Fairfield Bellarmine’s St. Ambrose Hall on Dec. 1 in which she unveils her personal story as an Ecuadorian, her academic story at Fairfield University and her professional story within the book publication process. While times and logistics are subject to change, the event is set to begin at 12:30 p.m. and conclude around 2:00 p.m.
Buitron will walk guests through her award-winning memoir, “A Body Across Two Hemispheres,” which examines her experiences of growing up between two countries, cultures and languages.
“It means everything to me because it encapsulates so much of my life,” Buitron confessed. She added that the opportunity to speak at Fairfield Bellarmine establishes “a way to honor where [she came] from and the foundations of what made [her] a writer.”
Beginning with her process of becoming a writer, the speaker plans to outline her complex background as a member of the Latinx community and read excerpts from three of her short pieces, tentatively ranging from creative nonfiction, fiction and poetry. Her presentation will finish with a question-and-answer session and an audience activity regarding the essay, “Where Are You From?”
Credited with establishing this event is a REFORMA Noche de Cuentos mini-grant awarded to Fairfield Bellarmine Research and Learning Librarian Ivelisse Maldonado. A press release published by FairfieldNews acknowledges REFORMA as “a national association that promotes library and information services to Latinos and Spanish-speaking populations.” The association is marked with undeniable value for storytelling and oral traditions not only to preserve Latino cultures but to pass down as well.
Maldonado, B.B.A, M.L.S, first reached out to the Fairfield community seeking a local Latinx writer to spotlight within the university. Buitron quickly got in touch with the librarian through contact with Chris Madden, founder of Woodhall Press. Woodhall Press is the publishing company of Buitron’s highlighted memoir.
In 2021, Buitron was awarded with the Fairfield Book Prize for “A Body Across Two Hemispheres,” a distinction sponsored by Woodhall Press. The award is upheld through a partnership with the publishing company and Fairfield University’s MFA program in Creative Writing.
“Winning this award meant that a dream I’d been working toward for years finally became a reality,” Buitron shared. She noted that while every author’s goal is to become published, she was never sure if her debut memoir would meet that final destination.
Aside from it being published, she declared that “it was an even greater honor that it got accepted for publication through a contest affiliated with Fairfield.”
The path that led Buitron the Fairfield’s MFA program is a multifaceted one. Its low residency program allowed her to continue working, and she compliments the university’s faculty as well as the beauty of Ender’s Island.
Moreover, the institution “taught [her] how to be a writer beyond the solitude of it—to be a writer in community.”
Since her time at the Jesuit university, Buitron has dabbled in poetry and fiction – continuing to write, nonetheless. Posted on her website, her work was recognized for 2022’s Best Small Fiction and Wigleaf’s Top 50 Very Short Fictions, and she is the current competition editor for Harbor Review.
Buitron recently edited the 2023 Connecticut Literary Anthology, which she attributes to with considerable honor having chosen the book’s poetry, fiction and nonfiction inclusions.
With this event, Buitron holds a similar sense of ambition which has pushed through her writing career.
“I hope that students and the community come away with a sense that their dreams are worthy and that they can achieve them.”