Rodrigo Rey Rosa (born in Guatemala, 1958) is one of the most celebrated Spanish speaking writers of recent decades, a translator and a traveler. He has published ten novels, including The Pelcari Project (1991), The Good Cripple (1996) and The African Shore (1999); and more than six books of short stories, such as The Beggar’s Knife (1985), Lo que soñó Sebastián (What Sebastian Dreamt, 1994) and Dust on Her Tongue (2001). At age 18, after finishing high school in Guatemala, he toured Europe for a year. In 1979, due to the atmosphere of violence and tension in Guatemala, he left his studies in medicine and traveled to New York, to apply to the School of Visual Arts, where he studied film for two years until 1983. In 1980 he traveled to Morocco for the first time. There he met his close friend the American novelist and translator Paul Bowles, who translated his first three works into English. His works have also been translated into French, German, Dutch, Italian and Japanese. He returned to Guatemala at the beginning of the 1990’s and has been living there ‘on and off’ ever since, traveling to New York, Colombia, Spain, Morocco, Cuba, etc.
Translation is an important part in Rey Rosa’s creative work and he tends to alternate it and writing, in search of literary resources. He has translated authors such as Paul Bowles, Norman Lewis, Paul Léautaud and François Augiéras. He has also worked as a journalist and directed a feature film dedicated to Paul Bowles – what Sebastian dreamt – based on his 1994 novella (adapted to a script together with Robert Fitterman). The film participated in the 2004 Sundance Festival and the Berlin Film Festival.
Rodrigo Rey Rosa’s work has earned him a unanimous recognition and critical acclaim. He received the Guatemalan National Literature Prize Miguel Ángel Asturias 2004 and the Ibero-American Literature Prize José Donoso 2015. His most recent novel – Material Humano – was published in 2017.