23. ilb 06. – 16.09.2023
Portrait Melba Escobar de Nogales
© Ali Ghandtschi

Melba Escobar de Nogales

Melba Escobar de Nogales was born in 1976 in Cali in Colombia. She studied literature at the Universidad de las Andes in Bogotá.
Her first publication was the documentary »Bogotá sueña, la ciudad por los niños« (2007; tr: Bogotá Dreams, the City of Children). Equipped with cameras for photography and filming, with the help of a photographer she asked children in the city about their dreams. The interviews lasted between ten and twenty minutes and show fears, desires, needs, and memories that were associated with the word dream. Melba Escobar visited approximately thirty locations in Bogotá and, in the end, had collected over three hundred interviews and hundreds of photographs from which she created a multilayered portrait of the youngest generation in Bogotá: children who were forced to work, displaced children, abused girls, and orphans as well as privileged children – a generation that is marked by the desire for a better future for the city. Her first novel, the autobiographically influenced »Duermevela« (tr: Sleep) was published in 2010. In 2017, she released her thriller »La casa de la belleza« (Eng. »The House of Beauty«). At the center of the story we find Karen, a stylist from Cartagena, who moves to Bogotá in search of a better life. In the beauty salon where she starts to work, she gains the trust of the illustrious clients, whether a renowned psychoanalyst, the wife of a politician, or a well-known television presenter. In these confessions, Karen is ultimately able to find the key to solving a client’s murder. In 2014, Melba Escobar published her first children’s book »Johnny y el mar« (tr: Johnny and the Sea), which is aimed at children ages nine and up. In it, little Pedro wants nothing more than to see the sea. For his tenth birthday, his mother gives him a trip to an island. He dreams of water with seven colors and meeting pirates. But the trip turns out to be different than Pedro thought it would be. When he finds out why his father hasn’t come along, he runs out into the night in a fury and finds a hut on the beach belonging to an old sailor who has the same name as the English pirate who landed on the Caribbean island hundreds of years before. Over the course of the story, Pedro experiences deep hurt, but also joy, and he learns that he can only find himself after he has already been lost.
Melba Escobar is also a journalist; she writes for the daily newspaper »El País« in Cali, where she was named best columnist in 2013, and has written reportage about diving expeditions on the Colombian Pacific coast, among others. She received a National Creation Grant from the Ministry of Culture, taught in the USA in 2012, and was a grant recipient at the Santa Fe University of Art and Design. The author lives and works in Bogotá.


Bogotá sueña, la ciudad por los niños
Bogotà, 2007
Bogotá, 2010
La casa de la belleza
Bogotá, 2017
Das Glück ist ein Fisch
[Ill. Elisabeth Bulles]
[Ü: Jochen Weber]