Juan Villoro (b. 1956) is the author of several novels, short story and essay collections, plays, chronicles, and children’s books. He is also a weekly columnist for the Mexican newspaper Reforma. A graduate in Sociology, he has been Professor of Literature at Mexico’s National University, and a Visiting Professor at Yale, Princeton, and the Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona. His works have garnered him distinguished awards including the Herralde Prize in Spain for his novel El Testigo (The Witness), the King of Spain Prize for Journalism, and the Antonin Artaud Prize for his collection of short stories, Los Culpables (The Guilty). He has published in English The Guilty (Braziller, 2015), a collection of essays on soccer, God is Round (Restless Books, 2016), the novel The Reef (Braziller, 2017), and the novel for juvenile readers, The Wild Book (Restless Books, 2017), which sold more than one million copies in Spanish, and has been translated to French, Italian, German and Portuguese.
His play Filosofía de Vida (Life’s Philosophy) was staged in Argentina. It was a long-run, and received the ACE Award for best comedy. He translated Goethe’s drama Egmont for the Mexican Theater Company, Lichtenberg’s Aphorisms, and Heiner Müller’s Quartet.
In the words of Jeffrey Lawrence and Carlos Fonseca: “From his early short stories to his famous crónicas, from journalistic essays to academic ones, from children’s books to literary translations of German classics, from books on soccer to monumental novels, his capacity to intertwine, in every possible register, political reflections and literary imagination, provides each of his interventions with an impressive poignancy. His work is an exploration into the perverse social fantasies driving Mexico’s violent modern history and leaves nothing untouched.”
Juan was also a fellow in 2015.
(Photo by Tamara Williams)
At the beginning of Memories of an Anti-Semite, Grisha speaks about the mistery of the past. Sometimes the things remembered are so fabulous that they seem to belong to the kingdom of dreams. My memories of Santa Maddalena are of that kind.