On February 22, 2013, published author, Nela Rio spoke to MUN students about the subject of her writing. Like many other authors, she tries to express through her writing, the suffering of her people and in particular, the sufferings of her people back in Argentina.

The presentation by Rio was entitled “Silent Voices: Representation of Violence.” It featured female writers and displayed the portrayal of violence. It showcased female writers in general, as well as demonstrating Rio’s commitment to the advancement of human rights. Further, it drew attention to the many issues women face in other parts of the world.

“Creative writing captures the silenced voice of the oppressed,” Rio explained in her presentation. She believes that without creative writing, many women would not have any way of telling their own stories.

Rio has witnessed many forms of oppression and violence towards women. She even spoke of her own experiences. When Rio’s book Aquella luz, la que estremece (translated to The Light that Makes Us Tremble) was published, it was nominated for an award in Argentina. Rio also wrote a book of poetry about the rights of women while in prison. She was arrested for speaking up and being part of the “Silent Witness” program: a program that honours women killed by a current or former spouse, partner, or acquaintance.

Rio’s inspiration for writing is nothing other than the events she has studied and encountered with regards to oppression and violence against women. Throughout Rio’s journey towards equal rights for women, she became president of the Creative Registry of Artists and Writers for the Canadian Association of Hispanists, the founder of The Annual Multicultural Multilingual Poetry Recital as well as a key spokesperson working towards the elimination of violence against women.

Rio’s determination and her creative writing techniques have been an inspiration to many writers. Her presentation at Memorial was motivating and very informational from both the literary and activist perspectives.

For more information on the Silent Witness program visit: www.silentwitness.ca