Eduardo Sguiglia

Portrait Eduardo Sguiglia
© Ulrich Schreiber

Eduardo Sguiglia was born in Rosario, Argentina in 1952. He graduated from the Universidad Nacional de Rosario in 1975 and in 1986 completed his Master’s degree at the Facultad Latinoamerica na de Ciencias Sociales (FLACSO), where he was awarded a doctorate in Social Sciences in 2005. In 1976 he went into exile in Mexico. After his return in 1984 he taught at the Universidad de Buenos Aires, publishing numerous economic and socio-political research papers and essays, and among other activities was coordinator for the UNO development programme as well as State Secretary in the Argentinean Foreign Office. He currently represents his country as ambassador to Angola.
Sguiglia’s writing is characterized by his ability to write in a dense and exciting style. »I am mostly interested in writing a book which interests myself first, and then the readers, and is good literature.« Sguiglia uses the adventure novel to illuminate weaknesses inherent in human nature, such as the temptation to abuse power, and the use of violence to achieve personal, economic and political goals.
His first work, »Fordlandia« (1997; Eng. »Fordlandia«, 2000), describes the automobile magnate Henry Ford’s efforts to bring the American Way of Life to the Brazilian rainforests. In the thirties, Ford had several million hectares of forest cleared to acquire space for rubber plantations as required for car tyre production. The first-person narrator, an Argentinian, works for the Fordlandia company in recruitment. When traveling around the country he becomes entangled, as a result of his own actions, in situations which can be attributed to his own mistaken belief that it is possible to control the world. The Fordlandia project is defeated by nature, but also by the refusal of the largely Indian population to submit to a lifestyle dictated from the outside according to Ford’s direction. »Fordlandia« has been translated into four languages and has brought its author a nomination for the Dublin Literary Award, as well as an award from the »Washington Post« for one of the four best novels of 2000. In his second novel, »No te fíes de mi, si el corazón te falla« (1999; t: Don’t rely on me when your heart fails), Sguiglia makes use of elements of the thriller novel. A jazz musician, horrifically abused during the Argentinean dictatorship of the seventies, has an encounter with his torturer by accident twenty years later in a bar in Buenos Aires. The musician develops a plan of revenge. Revenge also plays a role in Sguiglia’s most recent novel, this time against the Spanish monarch. »Un puñado de gloria« (2003; t: A handful of glory) is an historical adventure novel set in 16th century Peru, in the court of the conqueror Francisco Pizarro. This novel was nominated for the Italian Premio Grinzane Cavour. Eduardo Sguiglia currently lives in Buenos Aires and the Angolan capital Luanda.

© international literature festival berlin