Guest 2012.


El núcleo del disturbio

Destino Ediciones, Planeta

Buenos Aires, 2002

Die Wahrheit über die Zukunft


Berlin, 2010

[Ü: Angelica Ammar]

Samanta Schweblin [ Argentina ]

Samanta Schweblin was born in Buenos Aires in 1978. She studied cinematography at the University of Buenos Aires and subsequently founded an agency for web design. Her first anthology of short stories, »El núcleo del disturbio« (tr.: The Nucleus of Unrest) was published in 2002 and was awarded the important Fondo Nacional de las Artes and the Concurso Nacional Haroldo Conti. Thanks to a scholarship, she was able to spend a part of the year 2008 as an Artist in Residence in Oaxaca, Mexiko, and dedicate her time fully to writing. Schweblin’s second collection of short stories, »Pájaros en la boca« (2009; tr.: Birds in the Mouth) gained her international fame and was translated into more than a dozen languages. The International Award Casa de las Américas was bestowed on her. Her stories, which include short fiction, have a convincing, succinct style, and deal with the latent threats and abysms in everyday life. Her prose miniatures often reveal a fascination with the morbid and the grotesque: a little girl eats living birds, children disappear without leaving a trace in a shaft they’ve built themselves, a dog dies in a dubious recruitment test. Apart from Schweblin’s deliberately reduced and accurate vocabulary, these sketches are powerful, because they seem vivid without any detailed description of the truly disturbing elements they involve. Schweblin loves to start her stories in medias res and prefers an open end, which enhances the unsettling impact of her fiction. The feuilleton sees her works in the tradition of Latin American narratives, between neo-fantastic and magic realism. More than one critic compares her with the great minds of Argentine literature, namely Julio Cortázar, Jorge Luis Borges and Adolfo Bioy Casares. Schweblin is flattered by these references, however, she underlines that her stories are rooted within the framework of possibilities, even if they seem absurd or surreal. She loves short fiction, as she told the Argentine daily »Página/12« in an interview, because of the immediate effect it can have: »Short stories offer more possibilities to pull the rug from under somebody’s feet. This is what interests me in literature.«

Translations of Schweblin’s short stories have been published in numerous anthologies, magazines and dailies. In 2010 the US literary journal »Granta« put her on the list of the best young Spanish-speaking writers. Schweblin is currently a fellow of the DAAD Artists-in-Berlin Program.

© internationales literaturfestival berlin