As part of the week leading up to International Women’s Day, a Kahina team member shares the story of a woman that inspires her. We invite you to follow suit by leaving a comment about an inspirational woman for your chance to enter to win a Kahina Travel Basics kit.
Born in Spain in 1903 to a military family, Maria Teresa Leon was raised in a very traditional household. Maria Teresa was fortunate enough to receive a stellar education; her aunt and tutor was the first woman in Spain to receive a doctorate in literature.
As Spain became increasingly divided before its 1936 Civil War, Maria Teresa met, befriended, inspired and collaborated with the foremost intellectuals of her generation: Federico Garcia Lorca, Salvador Dali, Luis Bunuel, and Rafael Alberti. When the war broke out, she fought alongside these artists in the antifascist brigades. After the defeat of the antifascists, Maria Teresa was exiled from her native Spain and spent the rest of her life living in cultural epicenters (including Paris, Rome, and Argentina) around the world. She founded literary magazines, directed theater companies, and wrote several works of literature, including her most famous “Memory of Melancholy,” which was completed well after Alzheimer’s had begun to damage her mental functioning.
Maria Teresa Leon spent her life exploring her creativity, harnessing the talent and energy of her peers, inspiring and being inspired, breaking from traditions, fighting for what she believed in, and pioneering a literary career as a woman whose work was overshadowed by her male contemporaries. She displayed unwavering courage in the face of adversity and lived life to its most robust.