Meet our graduates: Carolina Orloff
A Latin American Literature PhD graduate, Carolina is the co-founder of publishing house, Charco Press.
Originally from Argentina, Carolina Orloff studied at both York and Leeds universities before joining the School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures (LLC) at the University of Edinburgh in 2006.
Having completed a PhD in Latin American Literature with us in 2010, she remained in Edinburgh to co-found and direct Charco Press, an independent publishing company promoting new English language translations of outstanding contemporary Latin American literature.
Charco Press was born from a desire to do something 'a little out of the ordinary', a desire that Carolina directly attributes to her time at LLC, saying “It was thanks to my experience at LLC that I was inspired to create something radical that would have a direct impact on the material students are exposed to when studying Latin American literature”.
“During my years of research, I was able to travel to attend and take part in conferences in the UK, Europe and Latin America. This enabled me, not only to share my research with other colleagues - which was vital - but also to bring back to Edinburgh the experiences of other researchers, which was instrumental in me thinking about new ways of approaching Latin American literature”.
The luxury of total freedom as a researcher
Carolina originally chose to study in our Hispanic Studies department, now known as Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American Studies, on the strength of our staff and the quality of our research.
Asked what she liked about the PhD experience here, she says “I felt very lucky to be able to do my PhD in such a research-friendly environment. I was given total freedom and had use of as many resources as I wanted. Many students take that for granted, but I took it as a luxury. Being involved in other research projects and funding opportunities was very important too”.
“I feel I had the best possible experience when it comes to the people that taught and supervised me. My work was analysed in ways that were always constructive and conducive to me learning and growing as a researcher”.
“Edinburgh is the perfect city to study and live in. It has a highly-active cultural life all-year round. It is close to other important cultural centres and also to nature, if one needs to get away. It’s vibrant and quiet at the same time”.
A passion for Latin American literature
In addition to completing her PhD, becoming a mother, and co-founding Charo Press, Carolina cites her biggest achievement as publishing her thesis as a book in the UK and then translating it into Spanish to be published as a book in Argentina.
Speaking about what inspires her, she says “Latin American literature is my passion. I want to do as much as I can from my position as a translator, editor and cultural bridge to promote it and disseminate it”.
“It inspires me to think that I can expose a reader, a student, to an entire new universe that will make them understand the world in new ways”.
“When it comes to Latin American literature, in particular, it is important to allow yourself to be immersed in a different culture to make the most of the experience, to read and understand a text beyond the plot itself, to allow for the entire world it presents to open itself before us. If we do, we will be transporting ourselves to a different universe that will only enrich the vision of our own, allowing us to grow as students but also as people in general”.
Since this interview was first posted, Charco Press has published over 65 titles. The Adventures of China Iron by Gabriela Cabezón Cámara, translated into English by our own Iona Macintyre and Fiona Mackintosh, was shortlisted for the International Booker Prize in 2020. In Autumn 2021, the press began offering simultaneous English and Spanish language editions of a limited number of its award-winning titles, exclusively in the US, Canada and the UK. In 2023, Homesick by Jennifer Croft was shortlisted for the James Tait Black Prize for Biography.
Are you interested in Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American Studies?
Founded in 1919, LLC has one of the best-established departments of Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American Studies in the UK. We offer a wide range of undergraduate and postgraduate programmes, including teaching and research in Catalan, Latin American, Portuguese and Spanish studies.