Barbara Mujica, a professor emerita of Spanish literature at Georgetown University, is a
novelist, short-story writer, and essayist. Her latest novel, I Am Venus (Overlook Press),
explores the identity of the model for Velázquez’s Rokeby Venus, the painter’s only extant
female nude. I Am Venus was a winner of the Maryland Writers Association fiction competition
and a quarter-finalist in the ScreenCraft Cinematic Novel competition. Mujica’s novel Frida,
based on the relationship between Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, was an international bestseller.
It appeared in eighteen languages and was a Book-of-the-Month Club Alternate. Her novel Sister
Teresa was adapted for the stage at The Actors Studio in Los Angeles. The play opened in
Mujica is also author of two short story collections, Sanchez across the Street, and Far
from My Mother’s Home. She has won numerous prizes for her stories, including the E. L.
Doctorow International Fiction Competition, the Pangolin Prize, and the Theodore Christian
Hoepfner Award for short fiction. Her story “Jason’s Cap” won first prize in the 2015 Maryland
Writers’ Association national fiction competition. “Imagining Iraq” and “Ox” won prizes in
previous years. Two of her stories were adapted for the stage by the Jewish Women’s Theater in
Mujica’s essays have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post,
Commonweal, Américas Magazine, and hundreds of other publications.
Her latest scholarly books are Women Religious and Epistolary Exchange in the
Carmelite Reform (Amsterdam, 2020); Collateral Damage: Women Write about War (Virginia,
2020); A New Anthology of Early Modern Spanish Theater: Play and Playtext (Yale, 2014);
Shakespeare and the Spanish Comedia (Bucknell, 2013); Teresa de Avila, Lettered Woman,
(Vanderbilt, 2009); and Women Writers of Early Modern Spain: Sophia’s Daughters (Yale,
At Georgetown, she received the Presidential Medal in 2015, the Faculty of Languages
and Linguistics Distinguished Service Medal in 2016, and the Dean’s Medal for Excellence in
Teaching in 2017.
Married to the explosive Mexican muralist Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo defies cultural norms and becomes a painter in her own right.
Daughter of a Jewish convert, Teresa de Ávila rises from town beauty to mystic, to religious reformer, to one of Catholicism's most reversed saints.
Despite the Inquisition's ban on nude paintings, Diego Velázquez has secretly produced an exquisite Venus. Who posed for it?