22. ilb 07. - 17.09.2022

Inés Garland

Portrait Inés Garland
© Ali Ghandtschi

Inés Garland was born in Buenos Aires in 1960. Even as a child she read widely and at the age of eleven wrote her first short story. At 16 she had settled on writing as her preferred profession, but it wasn’t until the age of 38 that she dared to share her texts with the public. By that time she had worked as an au-pair, usher, barmaid, fitness trainer and television producer, among other jobs, and completed studies in reflexology and exercise therapy. She also wrote for various Argentinean journals. After various awards for such works as her 1998 short story »El Remolino« (tr. »The Whirlpool«), she submitted her writings to the Alfaguara publishing house. She finally published her first novel in 2006: »El rey de los centauros« (tr. »The King of the Centaurs«). Two more books have appeared since then: a collection of short stories entitled »Una reina perfecta« (tr. »A Perfect Queen«) and the young adults’ book »Piedra, papel o tijera« (tr. »Rock, Paper, Scissors«). Moreover her short stories »Los dulces sueños están hechos de esto« (tr. »Sweet Dreams are Made of This«), »Azul Turquesa« (tr. »Turquoise Blue«), »La novia de Sandokan« (tr. »Sandokan’s Bride«) and »Las otras islas« (tr. »The other Islands«) have been included in anthologies.

Sensitive and nuanced, »Piedra, papel o tijera« is a coming-of-age story set in the time of the Argentinean military dictatorship. Garland masterfully manages to represent the feelings of the maturing main character, torn between love, longing and melancholy on the one hand, and knowledge of the world, fear of loss and speechlessness on the other. Garland often merely sketches in the political background of events, with much remaining vague and diffuse. She believes it is more important to depict what political developments and conflicts mean for those affected, and for their relationships to each other. Garland shows all of this in a highly poetic way. In the short story »Las otras islas«, too, she interweaves political events with personal fate: the 13-year-old main character spends the 1982 summer holidays on an island in the Río de la Plata, until the Falklands War brings an unforeseen twist to a blossoming love story.

In 2009 »Piedra, papel o tijera« was chosen as best novel by the Argentinean chapter of IBBY and was also included in the April 2013 list of »the seven best books for young readers« by German broadcaster Deutschlandfunk. Garland currently teaches creative writing in Argentina and Chile, gives readings and works on state literacy programmes for young people. She also translates texts by other authors from English into Spanish. Inés Garland lives in Buenos Aires.