Héctor Abad was born in Medellín in 1958. Expelled from the Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana for an article written about the pope, he moved to Italy, to Turin, where he studied humanities. He returned to Colombia in 1987 and was soon forced to flee the country after the assassination of his father. Having returned to Italy, he worked as a Hispanist at the University of Verona until 1993, the year in which he moved back to Colombia for good. He has translated such Italian authors as Lampedusa, Bufalino and Eco. He has published the novels The Joy of Being Awake (1994), Fragments of Furtive Love (1998), Garbage (2000), Angosta (2004), Oblivion: A Memoir (2012) a volume of stories, Malos Pensamientos (1991) and the Cookbook for Sad Women (1996). In 2010, he was shortlisted for the Premio von Rezzori.
Héctor is returning to Santa Maddalena, having been a fellow in 2013.