Gabriela Adameşteanu was born in Târgu Ocna, Romania, in 1942. She studied Romanian language and literature at the University of Bucharest and worked as an editor for publishers of literature and reference works. In 1990, she became a member of the Group for Social Dialogue (GDS), the first Romanian NGO. Having trained as a journalist in Berlin, Vienna, and Brussels, from 1998 to 2001 she ran »22«, a political, social, economic and cultural weekly edited by the GDS, and was a member of »Women’s Edition« (1998-2001), an international association of female editors and journalists. In 2002, she received the Hellman-Hammett grant from Human Rights Watch in recognition of her advocacy work. As president of the Romanian PEN, she was a writer in residence in the USA (Iowa City, 1990; Ledig House, 2004) and France (Arles, 2000; Saint-Nazaire, 2004).
Adameşteanu’s first novel, »Drumul egal al fiecărei zile« (1975; tr: The Equal Way of Every Day), describes daily life in the sixties, alternating between the themes of a young girl’s »éducation sentimentale« and success and failure in life. Some of the short stories in the collections »Dăruieşte-ţi o zi de vacantă« (1979; tr: Give Yourself a Holiday) and »Vara-primavara« (1989, tr: »Summer-Spring«), talk about the feeling of hopelessness in the later years of the Ceauşescu regime and have been published in Russian, German, Austrian, Hungarian and Estonian anthologies. Her most well-known work, »Dimineaţa Pierdută« (1983; Eng. »Wasted Morning«, 2011), provided the story for one of Romania’s most successful plays. With a strong sense of the idioms and attitudes of different social classes and personalities, Adameşteanu juxtaposes individual destinies and collective tragedy and creates a polyphonic portrait of her country in the 20th century. Her novel »Întâlnirea« (2003; Eng. »The Encounter«, 2016) is a modern answer to Homer’s »Odyssey« and focuses on an immigrant’s difficulties in communicating with his home country that has been isolated from the world by years of dictatorship. »Provizorat« (2010, tr: Provisional Solution) is a historical novel that reconstructs life in Ceauşescu’s Romania in the 1970s.
Adameşteanu has been internationally honored many times for her work. In 2014, she was made a Chevalier de L’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. She has translated Maupassant and Bianciotti into Romanian. Her journalistic pieces have appeared in, among others, »Obsesia politicii« (1995, tr: The Passion of Politics) and »Cele două Românii« (2001; tr: The Two Romanias). She lives in Bucharest.