Carmen Aguirre

Carmen Aguirre

Carmen Aguirre's memoir Something Fierce is being defended by Shad in the Canada Reads 2012 debates.

Born in Chile, Carmen Aguirre came to Canada as a young child in the wake of the 1973 coup, led by General Augusto Pinochet, which overthrew the democratically elected government of President Salvador Allende. Her family was among the thousands of Chilean refugees who fled the military dictatorship. Just six years later, when Aguirre was 11, her mother moved her and her sister back to South America and joined the underground movement opposing the regime. Growing up in an atmosphere of constant danger was traumatic, but Aguirre rose to the challenge and eventually joined the resistance herself. She worked with the movement until it dissolved when she was 21.

Even before publishing Something Fierce: Memoirs of a Revolutionary Daughter, Aguirre had made her mark on the literary world as a successful playwright and actor. She has written or co-written 18 plays, and two have been published in book form: The Trigger and Refugee Hotel, which was nominated for a Dora Mavor Moore Award for outstanding new play in 2010.

Aguirre has numerous film and television credits as an actor, including Christopher Guest's cult comedy hit Best in Show and the 2006 feature film Quinceañera, which won two prizes at the Sundance Film Festival. She also starred in the short film Secret, based on a story by Isabelle Allende. On TV, she has appeared in The L Word and has a regular role in the series Endgame.

A passionate advocate of social justice, Aguirre also facilitates Theatre of the Oppressed workshops, which work with marginalized groups such as youth and the poor to create interactive, empowering theatrical experiences.

Get to know Carmen Aguirre by watching our video chat here.

Listen to Carmen Aguirre read an excerpt from Something Fierce here.

Listen to Carmen Aguirre's interview on The Next Chapter here.

Read Carmen Aguirre's article about how she decided to publish her memoir here.

See Carmen Aguirre's playlist for Something Fierce here.

Replay our live chat with Carmen Aguirre here.