Galeano is the author of The Book of Embraces, the
book on which this site is based.
spending his adolescence drawing political cartoons in El
Sol and Marcha, Uruguayan socialist newspapers,
Eduardo Galeano turned, somewhat disappointed, to writing.
He began as a journalist in Montevideo and was editor-in-chief
of both Marcha and Epoca there. His first
book-length works were fiction, but he soon found his energies
driven to tell the true stories of those whose stories were
rarely told: the marginalized and the oppressed. He has,
since 1967, written over twenty books of variously sub-genred
nonfiction, over half of which have been translated into
English. His most recognizable work includes 1971s
The Open Veins of Latin America, which Isabel Allende,
"devoured in two days with such emotion that [she]
had to read it again a couple more times to absorb all its
meaning"; Days and Nights of Love and War; The Book
of Embraces; and a trilogy, Memory of Fire, which
won the American Book Award in 1989. His writing has also
been awarded with the Dutch Aloa prize, Uruguays Ministry
of Culture award, and Cubas Casa de las Americas prize
twice. In 1999 he was given the first ever Lannan Prize
for Cultural Freedom. His articles appear regularly in The
Nation, and his short fragments of nonfiction stories
can often be found in Grand Street or Mother Jones.
His most recent book, Upside Down, has been called
both "agitprop" and "electric and exhortative."
was born in Montevideo, Uruguay, in 1940, the grandson of
a Welsh immigrant whose family name, Hughes, was so difficult
to explain that the young Galeano signed his drawings Gius
(a phonetic approximation in Spanish) until he dropped the
name in favor of his mothers maiden name, Galeano.
His teenage years were shaped by the stirrings of conflict
in his native land and in Latin American in general. In
1973, when a right-wing military coup usurped power in Uruguay,
Galeano went into self-imposed exile, first in Argentina,
then in Spain. He returned to Uruguay in 1985. In his writing
he has dealt
sparingly with is own life experiences, preferring instead
to focus on the stories of others. He says, "Im
a curious man, always devouring other people, their voices,
their secrets, their stories, their colors.
Im stealing their words; maybe I should be arrested."
He has cultivated a fragmentary aphoristic style reminiscent
of great essayists such as Simone Weil, Teodor Adorno, and
Walter Benjamin. His style is transparently simple, very
poetic, and very dense with meaning, and all of his recent
books are illustrated with etchings or silhouetted figures.
His writing has been described as "fable, fairy tale,
myth, poem, diary, journal, parable, paradox, anecdote,
dream." Sandra Cisneros calls Galeano "the man
I consider my teacher." John Leonard calls him "a
dangerous radical storyteller. Alan Ryan says, "Galeano
goes out on the tightrope and then levitates in the air
would like to express our gratitude and appreciation to
Eduardo Galeano for giving us so much to think, talk, and
write about. Also, for allowing the creation of this Web
site, which is part extrapolation from his book and part
homage to him.
photgraphs on this page are from the Mexican newspaper La