Cuban author Michel Encinosa Fu visited the U.S. for the first time Wednesday.
Encinosa Fu spoke to about 30 UF faculty members and students about gender and sexual orientation in Cuban literature at Dauer Hall. He has written science fiction, epic fantasy and steampunk novels.
Elizabeth Ginway, a UF associate professor teaching Latin American science fiction and film, said she brought him to UF after teaching his writing in her class.
“I really want my students to have the contact with living writers,” she said.
Encinosa Fu, who grew up in the Chinatown of Havana, Cuba, said sexism is prominent in the culture. He said mothers teach children strict gender roles.
“Sexism is injected in children since they’re born,” he said. “We have this continuing, ongoing preservation of sexism, not just by the male population but also by the larger part of the female population itself.”
Sexist attitudes can be seen in Cuban science-fiction novels, Encinosa Fu said.
“Science fiction in Cuba has mainly been a thing for men,” he said.
Encinosa Fu said it is hard to write about sexual orientation in Cuba. Male writers can describe and discuss female same-sex relationships, but not male same-sex relationships.
He said he hopes to come back to the U.S.
“It felt particularly like home,” Encinosa Fu said. “I walk around, and I feel like as if it could be Cuba with more development. I’m quite looking forward to repeat these sort of experiences.”
Franchesca Carrera, a UF architecture freshman, said Encinosa Fu’s experiences resonated with her because both her parents moved to Miami from Cuba.
“A lot of what he says is true,” the 20-year-old said. “Coming from my own household, it’s like that.”