Jorge Milanes Despaigne
HAVANA TIMES, Feb 9 — My colleague Osman Aviles is a young writer, essayist, poet, editor who is paving his way to joining the Cuban intelligentsia.
His first steps towards writing were motivated by the work of Dulce Maria Loynaz, to which he dedicated Una incursion por la obra de Dulce Maria Loynaz, published by Ediciones Extramuros in 2008. He also anthologized and prefaced Sonetos escogidos by Serafina Nuñez, published by Editorial Oriente, in Santiago de Cuba, in 2009. This year too has already seen him engaged in an intense collaborative effort with a Uruguayan university.
A few weeks ago I accompanied Osman to a special presentation of his latest work El manto de mi virtud. We were there despite the rainstorm that pulverized the city that afternoon.
In that situation, he told me that he needed to sell all of the copies he had brought with him; otherwise he would be running the risk of them getting wet on his way home.
Of the several people who were there in attendance, one of them was a well-dressed man who — inopportunely and drunk — blurted out in the middle of the enlightening presentation, “I follow your work, kid, I like what you’re doing.”
Everyone looked stunned as such behavior is uncommon in these types of cultural activities.
“How much is the book?” he asked.
“Ten pesos in national currency,” someone replied.
“I’m buying all of them so that everyone here can read it,” said the gentleman.
Osman looked me straight in the eye, joyfully astonished.
Recently I was at the presentation made to Osman of the Luis Rogelio Nogueras award, one of the major provincial honors. It was for his essay Los extraños monzones (Strange Monsoons).