(New York, 1970) made an instant name for himself internationally in 2006 with his debut, the novel In the Country of Men, nominated for the Man Booker Prize and the Guardian First Book Award. It is a gripping story about a boy who at an early age gets into contact with the cruel and fearful life in the Libya of Gadaffi. The debut novel was translated into 26 languages and won six international literary awards including the Commonwealth Writers' Prize. Matar draws from personal experience. The son of a Libyan diplomat, Matar lived in the US for three years before returning to Tripoli. In 1979 the Gaddafi regime accused his father of subversive activities and the family had to leave Libya. The family lived in exile in Cairo for a number of years, where Matar finished his secondary school. He then left for London to study architecture. In 1990 his father was abducted in Cairo and disappeared without a trace. Essays by Matar have appeared in among others The Independent, The Guardian, The Times and The New York Times. A new novel by Matar, Anatomy of a Disappearance will be published in March 2011 in the UK.(nov 2010)
Archive available for: Hisham Matar
In VPRO's De Avonden poets, musicians and writers give the audience a glimpse of their own Utopia. Writers Gustaaf Peek and Hisham Matar wrote letters to each other for some three months, in which they informed one another about their poetics. The writer's Utopia? Does it really exist and how idealistic does one have to be in order to choose a writer's life? Tonight they meet for the first time, live. Both of them will read fragments from their correspondence and discuss their lucky strikes during the literary Blind Date. Writer Elif Batuman talks about writer's luck. Hosts: Jeroen van Kan and Lotje IJzermans. Music: Amarins & Le Gatte Negre Collective. In Dutch and English.
The father of the Colombian writer Hector Abad was killed by the paramilitary; the politically dissident Lybian father of Hisham Matar was abducted in Cairo and seems to have vanished ever since; Carolina Trujillo as a six year old fled Uruguay after her father had been taken prisoner. Jasper Henderson talks with these writers on how they deal with the interrupted relationship with their parents in literature. In English.