ARIEL DORFMAN, a Chilean-American author of numerous works of fictions, plays, poems, essays and films in both Spanish and English, has been called a “literary grandmaster” (Time) and “one of the greatest living Latin American novelists” (Newsweek). His books have been translated into over 40 languages and received many international prizes. Among his plays – performed in more than one hundred countries – are Death and the Maiden, which has won dozens of best play awards around the world, including England’s Olivier award for Best Play. It was also produced on Broadway, with Glenn Close (Tony award), Richard Dreyfuss and Gene Hackman, directed by Mike Nichols, and made into a feature film by Roman Polanski with Sigourney Weaver and Ben Kingsley (co-written by Dorfman). Other plays are Reader (opened at The Traverse at the Edinburgh Festival) and Widows (written with Tony Kushner, opened at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles), both of which have won Kennedy Center awards. He is the first foreign author to be commissioned to write a play, The Other Side, for the New National Theatre in Tokyo, which premiered in 2004 in Japan and then opened at the Manhattan Theatre Club in New York, with Rosemary Harris and John Cullum. Other recent plays are Purgatorio (opened at the Seattle Rep and will premiere next year in Madrid with Viggo Mortensen in the title role) and Picasso’s Closet (Theatre J, Washington DC, 2006). Among the films he has scripted, with his eldest son Rodrigo, are Deadline ( based on his poems, for Channel Four in England, with the voices of Bono, Harold Pinter and Emma Thompson, and Art Malik in the main role) and Prisoners in Time (for the BBC, with John Hurt) which won best screenplay award in Great Britain for the year 1996, as well as a short film they co-wrote and co-directed, My House is On Fire, shown at the Film Festivals of Toronto, Telluride and Edinburgh. Dorfman’s fiction includes the novels Mascara, Hard Rain, The Last Song of Manuel Sendero, Konfidenz; The Nanny and the Iceberg ,as well as Blake’s Therapy, which Nobel prize winner José Saramago suggested would be the novel Kafka would write if he were alive today and that is being developed as a film. In 2003, he published a novel for young adults, The Burning City, coauthored with his youngest son Joaquin. His poems, In Case of Fire in a Foreign Land, have inspired cantatas, picture exhibitions and been read publicly by Meryl Streep, Peggy Ashcroft, John Malkovich, Kevin Kline and many others. His memoir Heading South, Looking North: A Bilingual Journey, has won significant international recognition and awards. Other recent books are the award winning travel book, Desert Memories: Journeys through the Chilean North and Other Septembers, Many Americas: Selected Provocations.
Dorfman has been active in the defense of human rights for many decades, having addressed the General Assembly of the United Nations and the main Forum of UNESCO in Paris. As part of this human rights work, he has penned the play Speak Truth to Power: Voices from Beyond the Dark based upon a book by Kerry Kennedy, which premiered at the Kennedy Center with an all-star cast and was transmitted by PBS in the United States and is being performed in a number of countries around the world (including a staging in Martin Luther King’s Church in Atlanta with Sean Penn, Woody Harrelson, Lynn Redgrave and Martin Sheen; and a presentation in Los Angeles, directed by Brad Whitford and starring the cast of The West Wing). He writes regularly for many of the most important newspapers and magazines in the US (New York Times, L A Times, Washington Post, Harper’s, The Nation, Time) and abroad (El Pais, the Observer, the Guardian, The Independent, Le Monde, El Pais, Frankfurter Algemeine, L’ Unita, La Stampa, etc.) He teaches half the year at Duke University, where he holds the Walter Hines Page Chair of Literature and Latin American Studies. He has received numerous honorary degrees and is a member of The Académie Universelle des Cultures in France and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He lives in Durham, North Carolina with his wife, Angelica, and travels frequently to Santiago, Chile. He is the author of the forthcoming memoir, Feeding on Dreams: Confessions of an unrepentant exile.