Silvana Paternostro

Senior Fellow

Expertise: AIDS; Colombia; Cuba; Latin America; revolutionary movements; women's issues

Silvana Paternostro specializes in women's issues and has written extensively about Cuba, Central and South America, AIDS, revolutionary movements, and the intersection of literature, music, and other cultural forms with politics and economics. Her second book, My Colombian War: A Journey through the Country I Left Behind, which mixes memoir with history and reportage to tell the story of Colombia's forty-year-old civil war and uncover the truth about U.S involvement in the country, was published by Henry Holt in November 2007. She also is the author of In the Land of God and Man: Confronting Our Sexual Culture, which explores gender roles and the effect of government and religion on women's lives in Latin America and was short-listed for the PEN/Martha Albrand Award for First Nonfiction. Her exposé of "re-virginization" centers in the United States appeared the book Se Habla Espanol: Voces Latinas en USA, the first anthology of new Latino voices in the United States published in Spanish. She is a contributing editor of Bomb magazine, a New York cultural magazine focusing on interviews between artists, writers, actors, directors, and musicians; and a frequent contributor to the New York Times Magazine, Newsweek, the Paris Review, the New Republic, and numerous other publications. In 1999 she was selected by Time/CNN as one of fifty Latin American Leaders for the New Millennium.

She has been a reporter and writer for various publications, including The Daily News, The Miami Herald, El Nuevo herald, Columbia Journalism Review, Spin, World Policy Journal, Cambio 16, The Westsider, and Chelsea Clinton News. Stringer for The New York Times, Mexico City (1991) Nicaragua, and Panama (1990); Production Assistant," Sunday Today," NBC News (1988);

Research Assistant for James S. Henry, former chief economist at McKinsey & Co. (1986-90); Ladenburg, Thalmann & Co., New York (1986-87); Banco del Istmo, Panama City (1984-86); Assistant to the Editor, La Prensa, Panama City (1982-84)

Honors & Affiliations: 
Dorothea Lange-Paul Taylor Prize from Duke University (July, 1997)

M.I.A., International Media & Communications, School of International & Public Affairs, Columbia University
B.A. in Political Science, University of Michigan

Fluent Spanish, French and Italian


Henry Holt, 2007 
Read a preview in the September 16, 2007 New York Times Magazine “Lives” column
Plume, 1999
7 años secuestrado por las FARC.” Americas Quarterly.  Winter 2009.
SILVANA PATERNOSTRO discussed social justice in Colombia as a featured speaker at Phillips Exeter Academy’s Robbins Memorial Symposium, May 8, 2009. 
New York based Colombian author James Cañon interviewed Ms. Paternostro, and discussed Paternostro's two wars: the bloody, decades-long battle between leftist rebels and the Colombian government, and the author's own struggle to embrace her Colombian identity while making a life for herself in the U.S. April 15, 2008 at El Museo del Barrio.
Spoke at El Instituto Cervantes de Nueva York / Instituto Cervantes New York on March 28, 2008.
Visited Zócalo at The Actors' Gang in Los Angeles on Tuesday, March 11, 2008 to speak about her new book, My Colombian War, and Colombian politics. Read transcript here.
Featured on – an interview with Francisco Goldman. January 2008.
Featured on the Leonard Lopate show, December 26, 2007 to discuss her book, My Colombian War.
To a standing-room-only audience, Silvana Paternostro read from and discussed her new book, My Colombian War, December 10, 2007, at The Half King in New York City.

Related posts