I love orchids, cats, and hats. That is--of course--the Panama Hat!

Soy panameña y americana. Can you split the two? Born and raised in Panama, I chose to leave my tiny land for Los Estados Unidos de America--a newly minted immigrant. I was in my late teens. In my thirties, I swore allegiance to the country I’d adopted and became an American. I raised a family and worked as book editor and designer. I studied writing at the Sarah Lawrence Writing Institute.

Feel the sticky heat of Panama, dance to the music of El Trio Los Panchos, hitch a ride from neighbors in the old Canal Zone. My memoir, At the Narrow Waist of the World, begins in the slender isthmus of Panama. It traces the impact of a troubled mother on her young daughter against the backdrop of a lively, Jewish family deeply assimilated in Catholic Panama. The story follows me as I pull away from the center of my world, leaving for the United States to thrive and become.

At the Narrow Waist of the World is a mother-daughter story about mental illness and healing, forgiveness and acceptance.

Explore my published work and my blog, or contact me here.

Marlena Maduro Baraf, writer