Alberto Ruy Sánchez was born in Mexico City in 1951. After studying information and communication studies at the Iberoamericana University in Mexico City, he lived in Paris, where from 1975 to 1982 he continued his studies under Roland Barthes, Gilles Deleuze and Jacques Rancière, focusing in particular on Film and Philosophy. He received his Ph.D. in 1980 and has since worked as a writer and publisher. From 1984 to 1986 he was editorial secretary on the legendary magazine »Vuelta« published by Octavia Paz. Since 1988 he has been the publisher of the renowned art magazine ‘Artes de México’ and director of the publishing house of the same name in Mexico City.
Ruy Sánchez’s literary influences include »On the Road« by Jack Kerouac and the works of Herman Melville, Ezra Pound, William Carlos Williams, Langston Hughes and Robert Frost. To date Ruy Sánchez has published 20 works. They have won numerous awards and have been translated into various languages including French and Arabic. Shortly after its publication in 1987, his first novel »Los nombres del aire« received Mexico’s most important literary award, the Xavier Villaurrutia Prize. It has since attained cult status and is reprinted annually. The novella describes the awakening desire of a young Muslim woman and her restless expeditions through the city of Mogador in search of erotic fulfillment. Ruy Sánchez links elements of magic realism with Arabic mysticism, invoking a sensual and spirtual mood in everyday Islamic life. Mogador is the ancient name of the city of Essaouria on the Moroccan Atlantic coast, and forms the imaginary centre of the narrative labyrinth of Ruy Sánchez’s work, a point to which he often returns in later works such as the short story »De cómo llegó a Mogador la Melancolía« (1999; Engl: How Melancholy Came to Mogador). In his prose work, which revolves around the city of Mogador, Ruy Sánchez aims to reconstruct the Arabic roots of Hispanic culture and identity by way of fiction.
In addition to novels and stories, Ruy Sánchez has also published poems, including a Haiku cycle, as well as extensive collections of essays. His writing on literature, art, philosophy, eroticism and film has earned him a reputation as »one of our [Mexico’s] best essayists« (Octavio Paz). The outstanding monograph »Octavio Paz: Leben und Werk – Eine Einführung« (1991) has also been published in German.
The author was appointed Officier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in 2000. He taught at Stanford University and directed the Non-Fiction Summer Programme in the Banff Centre for the Arts, in Canada. Ruy Sanchez lives in Mexico City.