Alumni Spotlight

February 7, 2020

TDHappy New Years!  To begin the 2020 school year, we would like to introduce our first Alumni of the semester, Teresa Dovelpage.  Teresa Dovalpage is a Cuban transplant now firmly rooted in New Mexico. She came to the Land of Enchantment in 2002 to enroll in the UNM Spanish doctoral program.

“I have the fondest memories of that time,” she said. “The books that I studied in our classes will always be associated in my mind with the professors and classmates that helped me see them through new eyes. I remember Dr. Kimberle López explaining the structure of La Casa Verde and bringing a tape recorder to the classroom so we could hear Vargas Llosa’s voice reading a chapter. Maravilloso! I also remember a theater play where Carmen Julia Holguín Chaparro and I acted, and many wonderful poetry recitals.”

Teresa is the author of nine published novels—six in Spanish and three in English, and three collections of short stories. Her novella El Difunto Fidel was a winner of the Rincon de la Victoria Award and Muerte de un murciano en La Habana was a runner-up for the Herralde Award in Spain.

“My theater play La hija de La Llorona was the result of a paper I wrote for Dr. Lamadrid’s class on Southwest legends,” she said. “And my novel La Regenta en La Habana (Edebé 2012, Spain) was inspired by Clarín’s La Regenta that we studied in Dr. López class.”

She also wrote Las Muertas de la West Mesa (The West Mesa Murders, based on a real event), Sisters in Tea/ Hermanas en Té, and Death by Smartphone/ Muerte por Smartphone, bilingual novellas that appeared in serialized format in The Taos News.

After graduating in 2008 Teresa moved to Taos and taught part-time at UNM-Taos for several years. She continued writing fiction, though she also freelanced for The Taos News, publishing weekly articles in English (lifestyles and business), and in Spanish for El Crepúsculo.

“Being a journalist allowed me to see the other side of writing, where you can’t just wait for ‘the muse’ to come,” she said. “It was the best possible training for a writer.”

Her most recent novel is Death Comes in through the Kitchen, which was published by Soho Crime last March.

“It’s a culinary mystery set in Havana that includes authentic Cuban recipes,” Teresa said. “I gained a few pounds while writing it because I had to taste everything before putting it into print, que no?”

 This is the first volume in a Havana series. The second, Queen of Bones, will be published in 2019.

In 2017 Teresa and her husband moved to Hobbs, where she currently teaches Spanish and ESL at New Mexico Junior College.

“I’ve devoted more time to my fiction writing than my academic career,” Teresa admits. “But I also enjoy interacting with my students and being part for the first time of college life as a fulltime professor. Escribir y enseñar, writing and teaching are my passions, and I’m very happy to combine them.”