Roberto Bolaño (1953-2003), 20th-century Chilean poet and novelist, was born in Santiago, Chile. At fifteen, he moved with his family to Mexico and there became a Trotskyite and a journalist. In 1973, he returned to Chile and enlisted in Allende’s party, but was imprisoned for a week after the military coup of general Pinochet. He then went to El Salvador, then to Mexico, and finally to Spain where he worked as a dishwasher, waiter, night watchman, garbage man, longshoreman, and salesman until the 80’s when he could make enough money to support himself by writing, and publishing. In 1999 he won the extremely prestigious Herralde & el Rómulo Gallego Award, considered the Latin American Nobel Prize (García Márquez and Vargas Llosa have been other winners), for his monumental novel, Savage Detectives. He died of liver failure in Barcelona, leaving an esteemed and honorable body of work: nine novels, two short story collections, and five poetry books. He is survived by his wife and two children.
*Image: Jerry Bauer