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Lions Bay Artist: María Escobar Trujíllo

Writer, Mentor, Teacher, Award-Winner

Maria and Luna

María Adelaida Escobar Trujillo is a Colombian-Canadian writer and lecturer, and a recent recipient of the Inspirational Latin Award in Arts and Culture. She is currently teaching Spanish at the University of British Columbia (UBC), and along with her partner Catalina Lopez-Correa and their dog Luna, is a proud Lions Bay resident.

As a writer, María has published a number of short stories, and her first novel appeared in 2018. She is interested in exploring generational relationships among women, and her book TIEMPO DEL SUR weaves together the story of four protagonists as they find their way through the complications that arise in their lives, alone and together. These women – mothers, daughters, grandmothers– each narrate their own story, in Columbia and on journeys to the US and Canada and back again. Each character tells their own story at pivotal times in their lives, as they struggle with identity, sexuality, relationships and the complexities of migration, both as refugees and as immigrants.

María was born in Medellín, Colombia, a large city nestled in a valley within the Andes Mountains. After leaving Colombia, she lived in London and Oxford in the UK, then in Iceland and on to the US before she and Catalina finally made their way to Canada, via Montreal. After time spent at McGill, they moved to British Columbia in 2016, and had almost decided to return to Colombia for good when the pandemic hit. Instead of going back to South America in 2021, they found themselves in Lions Bay.

Earlier this spring Maria was the recipient of LatinCouver's Inspirational Latin Award for Arts and Culture, for the work she does promoting Hispanic literature and culture in Vancouver and across Canada. In giving her the award, they said "Escobar’s passion for equity and diversity has led her to be a mentor and a role model for countless students at McGill and UBC, as well as for young women in Colombia."

Maria's wide-ranging initiatives show why she was such an ideal candidate for this award. She is a lecturer at UBC, where she teaches Spanish language and culture. She has her Ph.D. in Hispanic Studies and has also taught literature, culture, and cinema courses.

In addition to her lectures at UBC, Maria strives to connect Latin writers across the country. On Granville Island, she has worked with refugees from Chile, to help them share their experiences of living – and being jailed – under a dictatorship. She's partnered with a community in Peru, helping translate their web page into Spanish for a community blog in a library where children in poor neighbourhoods are given a glimpse of the outside world. She's raised money to support women and children in Nicaragua who face violence in their daily lives. One project involved translating a pamphlet on sexual health during the pandemic, and another to teach children autonomy and how to protect themselves. She has helped translate a diabetic cookbook for new Spanish-speaking immigrants, and shares articles with Spanish-speaking women from Vancouver's women dragon boaters, all of whom have battled and survived a cancer diagnosis.

María found that staying connected through Zoom helped with her students' isolation during the pandemic, and still regularly connects with Colombian writers online. While she misses Columbia, she says she feels very lucky to live in Canada. "Here, it is possible for us to be ourselves."

In Lions Bay she loves walking the trails with Catalina and Luna, keeping an eye out for the recently-hatched eagles and enjoying nature. These days, María is focused on supporting her partner. Catalina has been very public about her recent cancer diagnosis, and is documenting her journey on Instagram.

If you read Spanish, you can find TIEMPO DEL SUR HERE , and you can catch Maria occasionally on her Insta page HERE. To celebrate Maria's Inspirational Latin Award, The Watershed is offering two lucky readers each a Kindle edition of Maria's novel. The first two readers to post 'I'm reading TIEMPO DEL SUR' on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, with the hashtag #LionsBayWatershed will each win a free copy.

Good luck to our readers, and thanks to Maria for sharing her story today!

This is another in The Watershed's series featuring Lions Bay artists. Know a local talent you'd like to see us profile? Drop a note to

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