Adriana Páramo

Páramo is a Colombian anthropologist, writer, and women’s rights advocate. Her book Unsent Letters to My Mother won the Faulkner Society’s best nonfiction award. Her book My Mother’s Funeral was nominated for the Latino Books into Movies Award. She is also the author of Looking for Esperanza, winner of the Social Justice and Equity Award in Creative Nonfiction; Nautilus Silver Award in the conscious media category; Best Women’s Issues book at the International Latino Book Award; Best Social Studies book at the International Publishers’ Awards; silver medal at the Book of the Year Award, BOYA, and was listed as one of the top ten best books by Latino authors.

Páramo writes from Medellín, Colombia.

All Books

Keeping Quiet: Sixteen Essays on Silence

Adriana Páramo

Publication Date: September 24, 2024

$15.95 Tradepaper

ISBN: 978-1-63628-184-1


In Keeping Quiet, Páramo has collected essays addressing what it is like to live in a world of silence or the absence thereof. This collection covers a wide range of angles and experiences, from an exploration of IBM’s anechoic chamber—the world’s quietest place— to stories of incest, marriage, sexual harassment, social justice, and first-person accounts of life in the emirate of Qatar. 

Páramo crosses the borders between art (Mozart, Monet, Beethoven, Sheila Chandra, Neruda) and yoga, between research and drunkenness, between despair and triumph, weaving the intimate and personal with what is upsetting in women’s health industry.

In “Belated Comebacks,” Páramo is full of righteous anger; in “Teaching Mom Long Division,” she explores the oceanic depths of longing; in “Writers of Color,” she examines the complexities of being brown and speaking accented English; in “Three Women,” she exposes the social underbelly of Qatar during the pandemic, then mixes it all with personal reckonings.


Keeping Quiet listens to the silences we keep and asks us to ponder, with both rigor and compassion, why we keep them and whom they serve. In the fine tradition of feminist memoir, these sixteen extraordinary essays expand from the personal meanings of silences to their political ramifications, even as the book moves from revisiting the silences of a younger self to learning to hear the noiseless howls of others. As the protagonist crosses multiple borders (of nationality, race, class, culture, and language), she translates silences into speech with both complexity and clarity. Indeed, as she listens to speaking silences, she dives deep into contradiction, and shows us what it’s like to live within oxymoron in these oxymoronic times. At the intersection of social justice and art, Keeping Quiet is an elegant contemplation of self-imposed silences and an urgent injunction to hear the quiet resistance of the unspoken.

Deborah Thompson, author of Pretzel, Houdini & Olive

Keeping Quiet: Sixteen Essays on Silence is not a quiet book. It is a bold, yet deeply intimate voyage of discovery about a woman’s vulnerabilities transformed into profound inner strength. With elegant artistry, Adriana Páramo applies her considerable talents to probe her own complex history with silence, along with the harrowing stories of women bathed in destructive cultural silences. These fully engaging essays expose the precarious nature of silence that ranges from absence, the unknown, loss, and intricacies of language, to the silence of the divine. I was inspired and invigorated by this captivating book.”

Eugenia Kim, author of The Kinship of Secrets

“These stunning essays by Adriana Paramo explore a topic sacred to writers: silence.  What does it mean to be still in a chaotic world? she asks and finds that quiet can be sacred, terrifying, and restorative all at once. “But most of the time,” Páramo writes, “silence gives me something close to rapture.” Her prose illuminates the human condition while focusing on wide-ranging topics, such as being a mother, a person of color, an expatriate, a writer, a survivor. A beautiful and compelling work.”

Susan Muaddi Darraj, author of A Curious Land and The Inheritance of Exile