Who is Antonio Skarmeta?

Categories : Spanish Literature

Antonio Skarmeta

Antonio Skarmeta
Who is Antonio Skarmeta? 7

Antonio Skármeta was born on November 7, 1940, in Antofagasta, a city in northern Chile. He pursued studies in Philosophy and Literature at the University of Chile and completed his graduate degree at Columbia University in New York, focusing his thesis on the novel of Julio Cortázar. In 1967, he released his initial collection of short stories, titled “El entusiasm,” and two years later, he was awarded the Casa de las Américas prize for his volume of short stories, “Desnudo en el tejado.” Before the military coup in Chile in 1973, Skármeta worked as a literature professor and a theater director. However, after the coup, he was compelled to leave Chile and lived first in Argentina and later in West Germany.

During his time in Argentina in 1973, he published another collection of stories called “Tiro libre.” His first book published in exile was “I dreamed that the snow was burning” in 1975, followed by the novel “Nothing happened” in 1980. Additionally, he adapted a script for German director Peter Lilienthal, resulting in the novel “The Insurrection.”

While residing in Germany, Skármeta began crafting the story of Neruda’s postman, initially for German radio and then as a screenplay. The story was eventually released as a book titled “Burning Patience” and later adapted into a second film version. The film premiered at the Venice Film Festival in 1994 and received five Oscar nominations.

In 1989, Skármeta returned to Santiago de Chile following his lengthy exile in Germany. He started hosting the TV show “The Book Show,” which later transformed into “La torre de papel” and was broadcast weekly from the United States to numerous Latin American countries starting in April 1998. He also served as a professor of Romance Languages and Literatures at Washington University in Saint Louis, Missouri, specializing in Spanish American Literature.

In 1999, he published “The Poet’s Wedding,” and the following year he was appointed as Chile’s ambassador to Germany. In 2001, he released the sequel to “The Poet’s Wedding,” titled “The Girl with the Trombone.”

Notable Works:

  • “Enthusiasm” (stories, 1967)
  • “Nude on the Roof” (Casa de las Américas Award, 1969)
  • “Tiro libre” (stories, 1973)
  • “The Composition” (stories, 1998)
  • “The San Cristóbal Cyclist” (anthology of stories, 1973)
  • “Boyfriends and Loners” (anthology of stories, 1975)
  • “Nothing Happened” (novel, 1980)
  • “The Insurrection” (novel, 1980)
  • “One by One: Complete Stories” (1995)
  • “The Poet’s Wedding” (novel, 1999)
  • “The Girl with the Trombone” (novel, 2001)

Translations (from English to Spanish):

  • “An American Dream” by Norman Mailer (1968)
  • “The Pyramid” by William Golding (1968)
  • “Typee” by Herman Melville (1968)
  • “Visions Of Gerard” by Jack Kerouac (1969)
  • “Love, Roger” by Charles Webb (1969)
  • “The Last Tycoon” by Francis Scott Fitzgerald (1969)


  • Narrative anthology:
  • “Final of the Tango”
  • “El Ciclista del San Cristobal”
  • “Nupcias”
  • “Basketball”

Read: Famous Writers Around the World


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