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Magda Montiel Davis

Kissing Fidel: a Memoir of Cuban American Terrorism in the United States

Winner of the 2019 Iowa Prize for Literary Nonfiction. and will be published by the University of Iowa Press



Magda Montiel Davis left her homeland of Cuba for the United States at age eight, shortly after the rise of the Cuban Revolution. She is an MFA graduate of the University of Iowa Nonfiction Writing Program, where she was awarded an Iowa Arts Fellowship. Her book, Kissing Fidel: a Memoir of Cuban American Terrorism in the United States, received Honorable Mention in the 2019 Red Hen Press Nonfiction Award. It was also the winner of the 2019 Iowa Prize of Literary Nonfiction. It will be published by the University of Iowa Press.

Among Magda’s published work is “She Might Die,” Bellevue Literary Review, and “Ashes Over Havana,” selected for inclusion in Best Women’s Travel Writing; Sweden’s Gränslös (“Aska över Havanna”); and Cobalt’s 7 th Annual Baseball Issue. A graduate of the University of Miami School of Law as well, Magda is a decades-long immigration lawyer and former Democratic candidate for U.S. Congress. From Havana to the American South to Miami, she now lives on a farm outside Iowa City, a UNESCO City of Literature.

In The Press

In the Press

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Miami Herald

2020 Iowa Prize


“José Martí: Warrior of Words” appeared in An Essay Daily; “Stepping Into Exile” in the University of Iowa’s The Daily Palette; and “Beggar Woman” in St. Mary’s College of California’s MARY: A Journal of New Writing.

 An excerpt of Kissing Fidel appeared in NPR, WLRNUNDERTHESUN.ORG as an accompaniment to “My Mommie the Commie,” by one of her daughters, Sadie Kurzban.

Magda’s articles have also appeared in the Miami Herald: “Cubans Must be Sensitive to Freedom to Share Views,” “El Colorado taught me to be at peace with my beliefs,” as well as in The Sun Sentinel: “Why join Cuba talks? To seek rational way to solve problems,” “Attorney arrives in Havana for conference,” “Miami exile visits former Havana home,” and “Delegate energized over conference on exiles.” 

The founder of what then became one of the largest immigration-law firms in South Florida, she was the first recipient at the national level of the American Immigration Lawyers Association’s Pro Bono Award. Other honors and awards include Best Lawyers in America; the American Association of University Women, The Phoenix, Women Who Are Role Models; and the University of Miami School of Law, Women Who Make a Difference.

She has appeared in nationally televised debates, and interviewed by the likes of the New York Times, London Times, Washington Post, Prensa Latina, Telemundo, Univisión, and, most recently, BBC News (“Kissing Fidel Castro led to consequences for Miami woman”) which also aired in Persian and Spanish (BBC Mundo: “La mujer que fue repudiada en Miami por besar a Fidel Castro”).

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