Joseph Zárate was born in Lima, Peru in 1986. He studied social communication at the Peruvian Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos and completed the master’s program in literary creation at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona. He worked as an editor for »Etiqueta Negra«, a monthly magazine for narrative journalism in Peru, Panama, and Chile, and for its sister magazine »Etiqueta Verde«, which is devoted to environmental issues. As a journalist, he has worked for various Latin American, US, and European publications. His journalistic work also found its way into several anthologies, including the German-language anthology »Atención! Die besten Reportagen aus Lateinamerika« (2014; tr: Atención: The best Reports from Latin America). His work as a reporter has earned him several awards over the years, including the Premio Ortega y Gasset from the Spanish daily newspaper »El País« in 2016 and in 2018 the Premio Gabriel García Márquez de Periodismo from the Colombian Fundación Gabo for journalists who publish works on the American continent or the Iberian Peninsula in Spanish or Portuguese in 2018. He received the Ochberg Fellowship from the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma at Columbia University in New York in 2018. He worked as an editor in residence for Radio Ambulante, a Spanish-language podcast for stories from Latin America.
His first independent publication, »Guerras del Interior« (2018; tr: Wars of the Interior), was a collection of reports from Peru that focuses on the stories of environmental activists. Divided into three sections – lumber, gold, and oil – the book tells of their struggle against corrupt corporations that engage in deforestation and exploitation. The collection highlights the devastating consequences this has for the lives of indigenous people. His carefully researched, closely observed, and compassionately told reports combine investigative journalism with a multi-layered narrative structure and address the effects of industrial machinations on individuals as well as their struggles and internal conflicts, ultimately painting a broader picture of Peru.
Joseph Zárate currently teaches literary journalism at the Universidad Peruana de Ciencias Aplicadas and is an editor at IDL-Reporteros, a platform for investigative journalism. He lives in Lima.