Concha Alborg was born in Spain during the difficult years of Francos’s regime. Growing up with an academic father, she became a serious reader from an early age, and dreamed of being a writer. She went to school in Madrid until she moved to the United States with her parents under the auspices of the Fulbright Program, and she stayed to pursue her studies. More than any other event in her life, this move defines who she is, an immigrant living between two cultures. She may seem Americanized to her Spanish relatives, but she is from another country as far as her daughters are concerned. Although Concha fits well enough in both cultures, a tell-tale Spanish accent marks her speech as well as her writing.
She has an undergraduate degree, a Masters and a PhD in Spanish Literature. In addition to numerous academic publications, she has been actively writing fiction and creative non-fiction. She retired from Saint Joseph´s University, where she was a professor for over twenty years, to write full time. Concha is an active member of the Philadelphia writing community. As such, she is a board member of Philadelphia Stories, a literary magazine. She also wrote for The Broad Street Review, an online cultural journal, and Al Día, a leading Latino newspaper.
Concha Alborg’s first collection of linked short stories, Una noche en casa (Madrid: Huerga & Fierro, 1995), is loosely based on her life experiences and can be read as a novel, since the stories share the same characters. It takes place in Spain during the repressive years of Franco’s regime. The female narrator, with characteristic humor, takes us from Madrid to the very day in which her family boards the plane to the States. Hers is a testimony of many families like her own, who were shaped by the strong traditions and hard times after the Spanish Civil War. Una noche en casa has received praise from critics in Spain and in the United States. The author has completed an English translation of this book with the title A Night at Home. See reviews and more on this book under “Works of Fiction” and “Reviews.”
Beyond Jet-Lag: Other Stories (New Jersey: Ediciones Nuevo Espacio, 2000) has a similar structure to Concha Alborg´s first work of fiction, but it is markedly different. This book is written in both English and Spanish, not in a bilingual edition, but in a “bi-cultural” fashion. That is to say, parts of the book are in English while others are in Spanish. The author’s intention is to capture the pathos of the immigrant experience at the linguistic level, without mixing languages, as has been done many times before, but rather using the language appropriate for the characters and the situation. The trip and airplane motifs are present not only in the title, but in the opening and closing chapters which, like bookends, frame the complex life of a contemporary woman. See reviews and more on this book under “Works of Fiction.”
American in Translation: A Novel in Three Novellas (Bloomington: Xlibris, 2011), is one of her most ambitious books to date. Each novella represents a pivotal time in the life of the protagonist. “Marine Corps Wife” depicts the year when Inma’s husband is fighting in Vietnam, while she is back in a small Midwestern college town with their new-born daughter. The tension between her own pacifism, the war protests at home and her family responsibilities, become a balancing act for the young wife. “Spanish Daughter,” told in a different voice, begins with the death of Inma’s mother. It shows the contrast between the growing pains of contemporary Spain and the more liberated 1970’s in American culture. Inma’s true liberation comes in the third novella, “American Woman.” Told through her journals and in conversations with her therapist, Inma reaches her own sexual awakening at the personal and professional levels. This work is written in English. See reviews and more on this book under “Works of Fiction” and “Reviews.”
Concha Alborg´s first memoir is Divorce After Death. A Widow’s Memoir (Philadelphia, Shorehouse Books, 2014). Concha didn’t think that anything could hurt her more than the death of her husband from cancer, but within days of being made a widow, Concha discovered that her marriage and her husband were not what she had envisioned. With a unique point of view, due to her bi-cultural background, and self-deprecating humor, she takes us on a personal journey. Her strength and determination to build a new life led her down a path that allowed her to reject the veil of widowhood and instead embrace a life of happiness, love and acceptance. See reviews and more on this book under “Memoirs,” “Reviews” and “Writing Selections.”
Concha Alborg’s ongoing project is based on the letters between her parents that she found in preparation for a Symposium about her father. First, she published My Mother, That Stranger. Letters from the Spanish Civil War (Brighton, Sussex Academic Press, 2019), a family memoir. Writing this book was a fascinating journey of identification with her father, since he had a long life and she knew him well and a process of discovery of her mother, who died when the author was still in her twenties, and whom she didn’t get to know as well as she would have liked. Thus the “stranger’ in the title.
Concha has turned this epistolary treasure into a family memoir, focusing on her mother’s life, who like many Spanish women of her generation, lived for her family, her husband and her children. Although the author’s mother always supported her father´s career, she was completely overshadowed by him. The sacrifices she made to her illustrious husband were considerable. She felt uprooted when the family moved to the United States, for example.
In her letters during the Spanish Civil War, the depth of her devotion and commitment were already evident. She scoured bookstores in war-ravaged Valencia to purchase the books on her future husband’s reading lists. She read the titles he suggested, constantly checking deadlines and notices at the University, anticipating his return. Concha’s mother’s biography is not as well-known as her father´s, but this memoir will remedy that situation. She may not have been as well-educated as her husband, but her intellectual capacity was great and it deserves to be highlighted.
In her father’s case, he seemed to be already formed as the writer he would become. His complex personality, his descriptive style and his existential ideas foreshadowed the man she knew as a father. A Portrait of the young Writer, Juan Luis Alborg. Epistolary During the Spanish Civil War, written in Spanish, is a chronological edition of Juan Luis Alborg’s letters during the time he was serving in the Republican Front against Franco’s forces. This epistolary is primarily the love story of a soldier who is waiting for the Spanish Civil War to end to marry his beloved. Although it is also a testimony of the Spanish historical memory and it serves as a socio-political document.
Concha Alborg, an academic and a writer as her father, develops the thesis that these letters should be considered as the narrative work that Juan Luis Alborg wanted to write, but he did not realize due to his eminent work as a historian of Spanish literature. The literary value of these letters is evident in the young writer since he already had an extensive humanistic education.
José Teruel, specialist on unpublished epistolaries, writes the prologue within a theoretical framework. This book is published by the University of Málaga Press, 2023, where all of Juan Luis Alborg’s books and documents are housed.
Concha Alborg’s father considered himself a Don Juan. Although it’s questionable if he really was much of one, since he was married to Concha’s mother for almost thirty-five years. She did portray him as such in several of her books and he didn’t seem upset. On the contrary, he encouraged her to take good notes as he related some of his conquests she had never heard before. But “don’t call me José, call me by my real name, Juan,” he insisted. The author wondered if, like the literary Don Juan, her father would also manage to redeem himself from the grave.
He died in 2010 and Concha has had plenty of time since then to miss him and to forget him, but she has done neither. Finding and appreciating at least his most endearing traits, like his zest for life and his immense intellectual curiosity. To commemorate the centenary of his birth in 2014, Concha organized a Symposium at the University of Málaga, “El legado de Juan Luis Alborg en su centenario” (Juan Luis Alborg’s Legacy in his Centenary). Her personal profile of him, with the title of “La redención del Don Juan,” will be published by the University of Málaga Press. See www.recalexx.wix.com/legadoalborg for more information.
To purchase My Mother, That Stranger. Letters from the Spanish Civil War or any of Concha Alborg’s other books visit :