Lina Meruane, born in 1970 in Santiago de Chile, studied and gained her doctorate in Latin American Literature at New York University. She began her literary career as a storyteller and cultural journalist.
In 1997 she was awarded a grant by Chile’s Council for the Arts (FONDART), which enabled her to finish a first collection of stories titled »Las infantas«, which was published the following year and was well received by critics. A dozen short stories in urban style alternate with short episodes of the story that threads the book: it’s the journey of two princesses who escape from their father’s palace and are confronted with the cruelty and ambiguity of the contemporary world. The style is reminiscent of Charles Perrault’s collection of fairytales »Histoires ou contes du temps passé«. However, the two protagonists Hildegreta und Hildeblanca are not mythical creatures inhabiting fantastic landscapes, but beings made of flesh and blood who experience pain, fear, guilt and repression. Published in 2000, her novels »Póstuma« (tr. Posthumous) and »Cercada« (tr. Fenced in), examine a hitherto ignored chapter regarding the Chilean dictatorship: the relationship of children born to military personnel towards the children of politically persecuted individuals. In »Fruta podrida« (2007; tr. Rotten fruit), for which she received the Best Unpublished Novel Prize awarded by Chile’s National Council of the Culture and the Arts in 2006, she addresses the insidious physical destruction of female seasonal workers exposed to pesticide-contaminated fruit and the government’s silence and indifference towards this subject. Meruane adapted this novel for her play »Un Lugar donde Caerse Muerta/Not a Leg to Stand On«, which premiered in 2012 in the USA. Her powerful, autobiographically influenced novel »Sangre en el ojo« (2012; »Seeing Red«, 2016) tells of a young Chilean writer, who having moved to New York to write her doctoral dissertation, suffers a stroke that leaves her blind and increasingly dependent on those closest to her. She has also published three volumes of essays, »Viajes virales« (2012; »Viral Voyages«, 2014), »Contra los hijos« (2014; tr. Against children) and »Volverse Palestina« (2014; tr. Becoming Palestine), which received the Chilean-Arab Cultural Institute Award in 2014. Some of her stories have been adapted for the screen and published in numerous anthologies and languages.
Lina Meruane is a recipient of the 2011 Anna Seghers Prize and 2012 Premio Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz. She currently teaches Latin American cultures and creative writing at New York University, and is also the founder of Brutas Editoras, an independent publishing company based in New York City, where she resides between sojourns in Chile. She is currently a guest of the DAAD Artists-in-Berlin Program.