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Hector Abad

Hector Abad - foto Daniela Abad
Hector Abad - foto Daniela Abad

(1958, Colombia) had his international breakthrough in 2006 with The Forgetting that Awaits Us. In this book he depicts the story of his father, Abad senior, who was killed in 1987 by the Colombian paramilitary. In addition to being a portrait of Abad's father it is a sweeping historical account of Colombia, a country which has been torn apart for decades by civil war. Abad's father was a wise man, who fought for a peaceful society. He could never have thought that eventually he would have to pay for that struggle with his own life. Abad junior was only twelve years old when he put his first short stories and poems on paper and received the Colombian short story award at age twenty for Piedras de Silencio (Stones of silence), about a mineworker trapped deep into the ground. His first book of short stories, Malos Pensamientos (Bad Thoughts, 1991) describes life in Medellín in the 1980s. It was followed by a number of books in which he experimented with form and content. His most experimental work is Basura (Garbage, 2000) in which he plays with the interaction between reader, writer and storyteller in literature. In 2004 Angosta appeared, one of the best Latin American novels in recent years. In it Abad sketches a kaleidoscopic image of the violent nature of Colombian society. Las Formas de la Pereza y Otros Ensayos (2007) is a book on the origins and expressions of idleness. Abad's hypothesis is that idleness is not a luxury but the 'original condition of human existence' from which all human creation emanates. Héctor Abad studied medicine, philosophy and literature in Mexico, Colombia and Turin, Italy. After his father's assassination he himself received death threats and fled to Europe, to Spain and Italy, where he lived and worked. In addition to being a writer Abad is a translator and a journalist for Spanish and Latin American newspapers and magazines. His books have been translated into English, Italian, German, Greek, Portuguese, Chinese and Dutch.

(nov 2010)

Archive available for: Hector Abad

  • Winternachten 2011 – Winternacht 2

    Wintercafe 3: VPRO De Avonden

    The search of VPRO's De Avonden for Utopia continues, with readings by Ernest van der Kwast and Hector Abad. Philosophers Menno van der Veen and Hans Achterhuis will talk about the possibility of novel Utopias. Isn't there a great danger in any form of Utopian thinking? Or have we learned from earlier failed Utopias and are we therefore positively able to freely think up a new and better world Musick: Amarins & Le Gatte Negre Collective. Hosts: Jeroen van Kan and Lotje IJzermans. In Dutch and English.

  • Winternachten 2011 – Winternacht 1

    Imagined Fathers

    The father of the Colombian writer Hector Abad was killed by the paramilitary; the politically dissident Lybian father of Hisham Matar was abducted in Cairo and seems to have vanished ever since; Carolina Trujillo as a six year old fled Uruguay after her father had been taken prisoner. Jasper Henderson talks with these writers on how they deal with the interrupted relationship with their parents in literature. In English.