About Being a Writer

Nina’s life as a writer and author went through many artistic phases, including theater training, studying anthropology at the University of Wisconsin, international travel to forbidden Soviet Russia and revolutionary China during the Cold War of the 1950s with student peace groups. While raising a family, and teaching, Nina has worked in theater, radio, and film. She helped make movies about Fidel Castro’s Cuba, about Salvador Allende’s Chile and Sandinista Nicaragua. In Cuba, in 1968, she met Salvadorean exiled poet Roque Dalton and they co-authored a TV drama about the folkloric Dalton Gang and saw it produced on Cuban television. This instantly made her an author writer.

Returning to San Francisco as an author, journalism, playwriting and poetry filled the early years of her development as a activist author. She wrote a series of articles on the Los Siete trial, wrote poetry published in the San Francisco Good Times. In 1969, she joined Editorial Pocho Che, an activist publishing group of Latino poets. Her first book of poetry, Heart Songs, was written during this period and published in 1980. Her poetry from the next three decades is published in Heart's Journey and Heart Strong, as well as in many poetry anthologies. Through her friendships with Cuban poets, Nina's began translating poetry, including her translations of Peruvian poet Adrian Arias.  In 1982, she helped translate the Nicaraguan economic program of 1980, available as a bilingual edition from Estuary Press.

In 1972, she joined Communicacion Aztlan, writing and producing radio programs for KPFA. Over the next 20 years, in addition to her on-going radio work, she wrote and produced several stage plays, including the Chicken Made of Rags, The Story of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg and Weavings. She also wrote and produced film scripts (What Is to Be Done/Que Hacer?, After the Earthquake/Despues del terremoto, Back from Nicaragua).

Arts education was a major focus of her writing life. She performed as a story teller in schools, community events and parks. She trained teachers and elders in storytelling. She produced educational manuals for teachers. She served as a director of Poetry in the Schools, and Storytelling in the Schools, and as an Arts Commissioner for Alameda County. She earned her Master's Degree from Naropa University in 2002, writing her thesis "The Storytelling Movement and the Need for New Myths."

At age 82, she became the author of her first novel, a romance historical novel, Nicaragua Way, a story spanning two decades from the 1970s to the 1980s. The writing of Nicaragua Way was a 23-year experience spanning the years from 1993 to 2016, fictionalizing the road she traveled in the cause of peace, social justice, international friendship, and solidarity.

Her writing work continues and expands, encompassing new poetry, web site posts, radio shows and videos.

MEDIA – For photos & interviews: Paul Richards (510) 967 5577; paulrichards@estuarypress.com

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