Rosario Ferré was born in Ponce, Puerto Rico, in 1938 to Luis Ferré and Lorenza Ramírez de Arellano, the third elected Governor of Puerto Rico (January 1969-January 1973) and the former First Lady. Her father was the founder of the New Progressive Party, a Puerto Rican political party advocating for statehood. After her mother passed away in 1970, Rosario herself took over the duties of First Lady until 1972. Ferré would later incorporate her experiences growing up in an aristocratic family in a turbulent political climate into her writing.
In 1951, Ferré left Puerto Rico to pursue her studies in Wellesley, Massachusetts, at a boarding school for girls. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and French from Manhattanville College in New York, and later returned to Puerto Rico to obtain her master’s degree in Spanish and Latin American literature from the University of Puerto Rico.
It was during this time that she began writing as the founder, editor, and publisher of Zona de Carga y Descarga (“Loading and Unloading Zone”). This irreverent, unapologetic magazine was largely considered a revolutionary magazine due to its nationalistic tone and bold support of feminism, homosexual rights, and independence. She later attended the University of Maryland where she obtained a PhD in Latin American literature.
In 1976, Ferré published her first collection of short stories, “Papeles de Pandora”, and later a myriad of essays, children’s books, and poems. “Maldito Amor” was her first novel, which she later translated into English as “Sweet Diamond Dust”.
After gaining critical acclaim for her work, Ferré worked as a professor at the University of Puerto Rico and as a contributing editor for The San Juan Star, which was once Puerto Rico’s English language newspaper. Her successful career includes eleven novels, a Guggenheim Fellowship award, numerous essays, books of poetry, and even a biography of her influential father. She married three times, and lived with her third husband Agustín Costa Quintana in Puerto Rico until her death on February 18, 2016 at the age of 77. She is survived by her children Rosario Lorenza, Beningo, and Luis Alfredo (Stark et al.; Cook).