23. ilb 06. – 16.09.2023

Iván Thays

Iván Thays was born in Lima in 1968. The Peruvian writer, literary critic and literature promoter studied literature and linguistics at the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú. Since 2000 he has presented the weekly literary programme »Vano oficio« (Vain business) for Peruvian state television, each broadcast of which introduces and discusses an author.

Thays dedicates himself with gusto to lesser-known, unfamiliar Latin American authors. His own work – which shows, aside from these influences (among them Luis Loayza, Gastón Fernández and Carlos Calderón Fajardo) traces of classic writers such as Vladimir Nabokov and Juan Carlos Onetti – cannot be assigned to any one particular literary movement. However one feature he has in common with his contemporaries is the abandonment of any attempt to establish an explicit connection to his own country or any attempt at its comprehensive depiction. »I believe that it is a trait of my generation, that for them the ›total novel‹ has lost all meaning. I prefer the introspective novel, that is, the novel which reveals aspects of the human condition. I’m not interested in showing, for example, how Peru and its people work. Absolutely not. In this sense I am not an absolute author, rather an intimate one, who concerns himself with details.«

Thays, whose works have often been anthologised, made his début with the short story collection »Las fotografías de Frances Farmer« (1993; t: Frances Farmer’s photographs), which was reissued in Peru in 2000 and in Spain in 2001. Since then he has written three novels, in which he practises the art of the digression in his vaunted lyrical prose. »Escena de caza« (1995; t: Hunting scene), also reissued in 2002, explores feelings of love and insufficiency. »El viaje interior« (1999; t: The inner journey) tells the story of a man who attempts to get away from his ex-lover and overcome romantic feelings in a fictitional Mediterranean city. In his most recent novel »La disciplina de la vanidad« (2000; t: The discipline of vanity) – set against a gathering of authors and critics – the abysses of the literary trade are illuminated with irony and humour.

With his colleague Alonso Cueto Thays set up the faculty »Escuela de Escritura Creativa« (School for Creative Writing) at the Universidad Católica, and he teaches creative writing there. He regularly published articles in his blog (notasmoleskine.blogspot.com). In 2001 he received the Prince Claus Award and was a finalist in the Premio Rómulo Gallegos. Most recently he has published an anthology of young Peruvian authors writing about travel. Thays lives in Lima.

© internationales literaturfestival berlin


Escena de caza
El Santo Oficio
Lima, 1995

El viaje interior
Lima, 1999

Las fotografías de Frances Farmer
Lima, 2000

La disciplina de la vanidad
Pontif. Univ. Católica del Perú
Lima, 2000

Pasajeros perdurables [Hg.]
Lima, 2006

Übersetzer: Petra Strien