Winter With the Writers

Antonio Skármeta

Chilean novelist, screenwriter and diplomat whose novel Ardiente paciencia was adapted for the screen twice, including in 1995 for the Italian film Il Postino (The Postman).


Antonio Skármeta: Reading, On-stage Interview, and Signing

Speaker Video

Event Details

Event Preview

Lara Lopez-Lueje previews Skármeta's visit.
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Event Recap

Luis Guerrero recaps Skármeta's visit.
Read Recap

February 3, 2016, 6:15 p.m.

Screening of No (based on Skármeta's play, The Referendum) with author introduction and post-screening Q&A
Enzian Theater
Visit No Website & Watch Trailer

Tickets are free and can be obtained in the English Department office on the first floor of Carnegie Hall. Contact Jessica Love in the English Department for more information.

February 4, 2016, 4:00 p.m.

Antonio Skármeta: Master Class
Bush Auditorium

February 4, 2016, 7:30 p.m.

Antonio Skármeta: Reading, On-stage Interview, and Signing
Bush Auditorium

Speaker Bio

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A Chilean novelist, screenwriter, and diplomat, Antonio Skármeta was the grandson of Yugoslav immigrants. While attending the University of Santiago, from which he graduated in 1963, he produced plays by Edward Albee, William Saroyan, and Eugene Ionesco with the university’s drama group. He received an MA from Columbia Univeristy in 1966 and published his first book, a collection of short stories titled El entusiasmo (Enthusiasm), in 1967. It was followed in 1969 by Desnudo en el tejado (Naked on the Roof)—which won the Casa de las Américas de la Habana Prize and was the first of his works to be widely distributed—and in 1973 by El ciclista del San Cristóbal (The Rider of San Cristóbal). He finished another collection, Tiro libre (Free Kick), as well as the novel Soñé que la nieve ardía (I Dreamt the Snow Was Burning) while living in Argentina in exile from Chile’s military regime.

In 1975 Skármeta moved to Berlin, where he lived until he returned to Santiago in 1988. During this period he wrote Novios y solitarios (Couples and Singles), No pasó nada (Nothing Happened), and La insurrección (The Insurrection). He followed these with Ardiente paciencia, a novel that tells the story of an extraordinary friendship that develops between the Chilean poet Pablo Neruda living in exile, and his postman. Ardiente paciencia subsequently became Skármeta’s most popular work. It was translated into 20 languages and was adapted for the screen twice—in Ardiente paciencia, for which Skármeta wrote the screenplay and which he directed in 1983 (two years before the manuscript was published in book form), and in the Italian film Il postino (The Postman).

Skármeta’s subsequent books include Match Ball, La boda del poeta (The Poet’s Wedding), and El baile de la victoria (The Dancer and the Thief). He also published Watch Where the Wolf Is Going (1991), a selection of his short stories in English translation; wrote several other film scripts (including the 1998 adaptation of Isabel Allende’s 1987 novel Eva Luna); hosted a successful television program on books; and translated a number of English-language works into Spanish. He served as Chile’s ambassador to Germany from 2000 to 2003.

In 2011, his novel Los dias del arcoiris (The Days of the Rainbow) won the prestigious Premio iberoamericano Planeta-Casa de América de Narrativa. His play El plebiscito, based on the same true incident as this novel, was the basis for the Oscar-nominated film No.

A film for his 2014 novel, A Distant Father, is scheduled for release in February 2016.

In 2014, he was awarded Chile's National Literature Prize.