Get to know Laura Esquivel, the author of Like Water for Chocolate

By- Angela Padron

Laura Esquivel is a Latina author who was born in Mexico City, Mexico on September 30, 1950. Esquivel studied education with an interest in children’s theater. During the 1970s and 1980s, she worked as a kindergarten teacher. During this time, she wrote plays for her students as well as short stories and content for children’s television programs. Screenwriting classes with actor/director Alfonso Arau further awakened Esquivel’s writing abilities. Arau was known for creating comical villains in movies such as Romancing the Stone and The Three Amigos. Arau and Esquivel would later marry and team up to write and direct Chido Guan, el tacos de oro, which won the Ariel award in 1985.

Esquivel’s most famous book is Like Water for Chocolate, a combination novel and cookbook that has sold more than 4.5 million copies. Esquivel later wrote the screenplay for the award-winning movie as well, which was directed by Alfonso Arau. The book includes a recipe at the beginning of each chapter, with the ingredients setting the tone for the characters and plot twists throughout the book. The book, a best-seller that has been translated into more than thirty languages, won the American Booksellers Book of the Year Award in 1994. The movie was one of the highest grossing foreign language films in the United States and earned Esquivel an award from the Mexican Academy of Motion Pictures.

Esquivel’s next book was The Law of Love. It came out in 1996, and is another book of mixed genres—this time science fiction and historical fiction. It combines text, visuals, and music. In 2000, Esquivel wrote Between the Fires, which includes essays on life, love, and food. In 2006, she wrote Malinche, a novel loosely based on the relationship between the Spanish Conquistador Hernán Cortés and the woman who was his nterpreter and mistress. This book was followed by Swift as Desire (2001), a story about a telegraph operator who learns the importance of communication, most likely inspired by Esquivel’s father, who worked as a telegraph operator.

In 2009, Laura Esquivel threw her hat into the political ring. She ran for deputy of the Coyoacan neighborhood district in Mexico City, where she still resides to this day, and won the seat. Her goal was to preserve the quiet and artistic quality of her home district and ward in the midst of the increasing amount of crime and violence in Mexico City. Esquivel’s latest book, Pierced by the Sun, which tackles corruption and crime in Mexican government and society, was published in 2016.

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