Jorge Eduardo Benavides was born in Arequipa, Peru, in 1964. He studied Law and Political Science at the Garcilaso de la Vega University in Lima but decided against a career as a lawyer and instead began to work as a radio journalist, including working as head of a news staff. At the same time he began writing and produced several award-winning short stories, publishing his first collection, “Cuentario” (t: Story chamber), in 1989. Two years later, due to a deep sense of disillusionment over his country’s decline under Alan García’s rule, Benavides left Peru and moved to Tenerife. At first he worked as a dishwasher and construction worker on this island in the Canaries, and later founded a successful writing workshop called “Entrelíneas”. With the cooperation of various cultural institutions and universities, he led several workshops in creative writing, wrote for the Sunday supplements of the “Diario de Avisos” and for the culture supplements of “El País”, and became editor-in-chief of the magazine “Siglo XXI”. After working for six years and revising the draft dozens of times, Benavides finished his first novel, begun in Peru; the work was not published for many years. “Los años inútiles” (2002; t: The useless years) presents a dismal picture of Peruvian society in the late eighties and early nineties. Made up of three parts, each in three chapters which in turn are alternately sub-divided into seven and eleven episodes, Benavides creates a multi-faceted and detailed panorama of all the country’s social classes and offers portraits of people who believe themselves to be victims when in reality they are perpetrators. Due to its disillusioned view of Peru’s political situation, its fierce attitude and the modern stylistic devices, the novel has often been compared to Mario Vargas Llosa’s “Conversation in the Cathedral”. Benavides’s next novel, “El año que rompí contigo” (2003; t: The year I broke up with you), depicts a generation’s helpless unease in Peru in the eighties, when young people in particular could not see any sense in moral actions within an immoral system. The author describes the futile attempt of two middle class couples to disregard politics while living in a disintegrating society. Meanwhile, Benavides has used dark humour to portray the transition to Fujimori’s disastrous system in some of the fantastic stories in his most recent publication, “La noche de Morgana” (2005; t: Morgana’s night), in which the eruption of the gruesome and the irrational in daily life functions as a leitmotif. Benavides has received the Premio de Cuentos José María Arguedas from the Peruvian Writers Union, was nominated for the Premio Tigre Juan and the Rómulo Gallego Prize, and was awarded the Premio Nuevo Talento FNAC. He has been living in Madrid since 2002, working as a journalist, creative writing teacher and writer.
© internationales literaturfestival berlin