Gustavo Forero Quintero is the youngest in a large family of nine children. His family had to emigrate to Colombia’s capital, Bogotá, after his father’s death, when he was just two and a half years old. Because of this, he grew up in a strongly feminine environment (he has six sisters) while he stroves to remember and recover the missing roots from his native city and the mark left by his father on his older sisters and brothers. At the age of sixteen he began to study law, a field that required memory, when he himself knew that one of his few abilities was not forgetting. However, this profession did not give him the freedom he could achieve with words from the time he began writing diaries at age 10. After finishing his law degree, he began studying literature, first in Bogotá in the same university from which his father had graduated with his dentistry degree, then in Spain and France. By doing so, he not only fulfilled his own dreams, but also the postponed dreams of a grandmother who wanted to study in the Sorbonne and a mother who read Proust and dreamed of Europe at the beginning of the 20th century. Only after finding the freedom of love did he set aside his diaries to begin to configure the non-fiction books he has so far published. When he returned to Colombia, he finally settled in Medellin, his wife’s home city, where he found a field of work and study that allowed him to combine what he had learned as a lawyer and a man of letters. Years later, when his daughter was born, he was once again filled with the need to recover a past and invent a future. What was the result? Desaparición (Disappearance), his first published novel, in which he reconstructs national historical events he experienced during his adolescence, and Murmullos (Murmurs), the novel he is currently working on that depicts the Colombia in which his parents lived during their childhood.

 

Besides, Gustavo Forero Quintero is an Associate Professor in the Communications Faculty of the Universidad de Antioquia (Medellin, Colombia). He received his PhD cum laude in Spanish and Latin American Literature from the Universidad de Salamanca thanks to a scholarship given by the Agencia Española de Cooperación Internacional (Spanish Agency for International Development) and his Magíster en Études Romanes from the Université Paris-Sorbonne (París IV). Among his more relevant publications are the academic books El mito del mestizaje en la novela histórica de Germán Espinosa (The Myth of Miscegenation in the Historical Novels of Germán Espinosa) (Universidad Externado, 2006), Magia de las Indias (Magic of the Indies) (Planeta, 2007), the annotated edition of Xicotencatl, whose author is unknown (Iberoamericana/Vervuert, 2012), La anomia en la novela de crímenes en Colombia (Anomie in the Colombian Crime Novel) (Siglo del Hombre, 2012), and fictional texts such as the novel Desaparición (Disappearance) (Ediciones B, 2012) and the story Maktub (2008). He is also the founder and director of the International Literary Congress Medellin Negro, which is celebrated annually within the Fiesta del Libro y la Cultura de Medellín (Medellin Book and Culture Festival) and gathers writers of crime fiction from all over the world. Among others, they have presented such diverse writers as Gisa Klönne, Mempo Giardinelli, Sebastian Rutés, Élmer Mendoza, Santiago Gamboa, Sergio Álvarez, Amir Valle, Darío Jaramillo, and Hugo Chaparro Valderrama. As the director of the congress, he has coordinated and edited the following books: Crimen y control social. Enfoques desde la literatura (Crime and Social Control. Perspectives from Literature) (Universidad de Antioquia, 2012), Trece formas de entender la novela negra (Thirteen Ways to Understand Crime Fiction) (2012), Novela negra y otros crímenes (Noir Novels and Other Crimes) (2013), and Víctimas, novela y realidad del crimen (Victims, Novels, and the Reality of Crime) (2014), all published by Planeta (Colombia), and the Serie Negra (Noir Series) co-published by the Universidad de Antioquia and Ediciones B, including the fiction titles Los cautivos del fuerte apache (The Captives of Fuerte Apache) by Venezuelan Julio Alberto Balcázar Centeno, Año Nuevo (New Year) by Argentine Inés Lucía Blackie, ¿Alguien ha visto el entierro de un chino? (Has Anyone Seen a Chinese Funeral?) and Después de Isabel, el infierno, (After Isabel, Hell) by Colombian Emilio Restrepo, my own novel Desaparición (Disappearance), Aves hambrientas (Starving Birds) by Peruvian Luis Alejandro Vinatea, Finales para Aluna (Endings for Aluna) by Colombia Selnich Vivas, and Toda la ceguera del mundo (All the Blindness in the World) by French-Argentine Néstor Ponce. This year, he began to publish the Serie Novela de Crímenes (Crime Novel Series) in Planeta’s Laboratorio de Medellín (Medellin Laboratory) collection with the novel La ropa del muerto (The Dead Man’s Clothes) by Argentine writer Fabio J. Lannutti. In this way, he has worked both as a professor and a researcher, but also as a writer, an editor of fiction and non-fiction, and a cultural ambassador.

 

Maybe, because of his own story and curriculm, as he says, his literary work "aims to bring together reason and sensitivity in literature: to understand the social problems related to specific contexts and make myself aware of victimhood. My novel Desaparición (Disappearance) is an example of this. As a writer, I want to denounce the social injustice that is a part of life in my country. In this case, I am speaking about the problem of forced disappearance and the way in which an average citizen is forced to live with it. Likewise, with Murmullos (Murmurs) I hope to bring out the problems of sexual discrimination and violence against women throughout the 20th century in Colombia. My goal is to assess Colombia’s history through personal stories."

(Translate by Mallory Craig-Kuhn)

 

 

 @GustavoForeroQ / gustavo.forero@udea.edu.co

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