23. ilb 06. – 16.09.2023
Portrait Carlos Labbé
© Hartwig Klappert

Carlos Labbé

Carlos Labbé was born in 1977 in Santiago de Chile. He graduated in Spanish and Latin American literature with a dissertation on the Chilean writer Roberto Bolaño.

In 2001, his hypertext story »Pentagonal: incluidos tú y yo« (tr. Pentagonal; With You and Me) went online. Readers were able – starting from a newspaper article – to (re)construct its plot by clicking highlighted terms which led them via links through a branched network of fragmentary pieces of information and quotations. In addition to a collection of short stories (»Caracteres blancos«, 2010; tr. Blank Characters) in the following years Labbé published, among others, the novels »Libro de plumas« (2004; tr. Book of Quills), »Locuela« (2009; Ü: Manner of Speaking) and »Navidad y Matanza« (2007; tr. Navidad and Matanza). In this complex puzzle of metaphorically loaded stories, the author also plays with the expectations of his readers. As such, the reader only notices that entire chapters that could be important to understand the novel are missing because there are gaps in the page numbering, or he questions the reliability of the narrating journalist who is looking into the disappearance of the children of a video game producer, because this figure takes part in an experiment at a second narrative level in which the test persons under the influence of drugs construct the story of the producer’s family as part of a storytelling game. The fact that the reader, in an attempt to close the gaps by adding his or her own assumptions in order to develop an own interpretation of the events, is merely taking part in the storytelling game, evidences the philosophical depth of Labbé’s clever narrative art. In the script for the film »Malta con huevo« (2007; tr. Scrambled Beer), which is loaded with black humour, which he wrote in collaboration with Cristóbal Valderrama and which won Chile’s Pedro Sienna Prize for best script in 2008, the sequence of events gets out of control fast when one of the characters discovers that he can travel through time. In the novel »Piezas secretas contra el mundo« (2014; tr. Secret Pieces Against the World) he highlights with his love-hate relationship to video games how these seemingly provide a kind of freedom but at the same time often convey a reactionary and violent view of the world. Also, he just published the short novel »La parvá« (2014; tr. The Flock), a reflection on the similarities between football, political demonstrations and collective animal motion, set in the Chile 1962 World Cup.

Besides literature, Carlos Labbé has also recorded pop songs »Doce canciones para Eleodora« (2007; tr. Twelve Songs for Eleodora), »Monicacofonía« (2009; tr. Macaque-cacophony), »Mi nuevo órgano« (2011; tr. My New Organ) as well as »Repeticiones para romper el cerco« (2011; tr. Repetitions in order the Break the Cycle). Labbé, who was named by »Granta« in 2010 as one of the best young Spanish-speaking writers, lives in Brooklyn.


Pentagonal, incluidos tú y yo


Madrid, 2001

Libro de plumas

Ediciones B

Santiago de Chile, 2004

Caracteres blancos


Santiago de Chile, 2010

Navidad und Matanza

Lateinamerika Verlag

Solothurn, 2010

[Ü: Peter Tremp]

Piezas secretas contra el mundo


Cáceres, 2014