How to pronounce Roberto Bolano: roh-bAIR-toh bo-LAR-neo
Roberto Bolaño was born in Chile on April 28, 1953. For much of his
life he lived a nomadic existence, living in Chile, Mexico, El Salvador, France
and Spain. During the 1970s, he formed an avant-garde group called infrarealism
with other writers and poets in Mexico where he lived after leaving Chile when
it fell under military dictatorship. He returned to Chile in 1972 but left again
the next year when General Augusto Pinochet came to power.
In the early eighties, he finally settled in the small town of Blanes, near Gerona in Northern Spain, where he died on July 15, 2003 of liver disease while awaiting a transplant. He is survived by his Spanish wife and his son and daughter.
Bolaño received some of the Hispanic world's highest literary awards, including the 1999 Romulo Gallegos Prize (Venezuelan) for his novel Los detectives salvajes, which was published in English as The Savage Detectives in 2007.
Six weeks before he died, his fellow Latin American novelists hailed him as the most important figure of his generation at an international conference he attended in Seville. In 2004 he was honored by the First Conference of Latin American Authors as "the most important literary discovery of our time."
He completed 12 novels during his life, published various poetry collections and left behind an almost completed 1,000 page novel, 2666, about the unsolved murders of 300 women in Mexico over the past 10 years. 2666 (1100 pages at publication) was published posthumously in 2004. It has been translated into English by Natasha Wimmer, who also translated The Savage Detectives.
This biography was last updated on 07/17/2011.
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