The outstanding journalist and writer recently received the recognition of Member of Merit of UNEAC. "I cannot stay idle ", she assures.
Throughout fruitful decades (next May 17 she will be ninety years old), Marta Rojas has told many stories. "Imagine, I have always liked to invent. When I was a little girl my mom called me Julita Verne, because I spend all the time telling stories. I went to the cinema to watch the movies and if I didn't like the end, I changed them and that’s how I retold them at home."
That earned her a couple of scolding. “One day I went to watch Gone with the Wind, and I didn't like that Scarlett got separated from Rhett Butler, so I invented that they had eloped to Ireland and had married there and raised a pretty family. My mom believed it and told the story to her neighbors. It turned out that when she saw the movie, she came home very upset and she punished me for being a liar."
That calling for telling stories comes from an innate curiosity:
"I didn't want to be a writer, what I really wanted was to go to a medical school, like my cousins. The first books I opened were anatomy manuals. I was a terrible child, I hunted small lizards to open them with a scalpel to know what they had inside. I was never a disciplined girl, but I was always curious. Then I understood that all that had to be channeled into writing stories."
And so journalism came along.
"Just to be clear, in journalism I have not had to invent, reality is so rich that has no need for that. I have approached journalism with great responsibility. But it’s a wonderful job. It has helped me very much when writing novels. Thanks to journalism I can write anywhere, surrounded by people talking, in the most unexpected places."
This Thursday, the Cuban Association of Writers and Artists have acknowledged her as Member of Merit to a restless intellectual, committed to her country and her circumstances. Such an active woman that she breaks the pattern we have of venerable grannies.
"I cannot stop. That wouldn’t be me. I will never stop working. I always have projects, in journalism and literature. Writing is my life."
Cubasi Translation Staff / Amilkal Labañino Valdés
Marta Rojas has conquered legions of readers. And that (she knows it) it is the greatest privilege. The greatest award ever.