“One of the most versatile and unpredictable storytellers from today’s Latin American literature.”Marco Kunz, Quimera
“One of the foremost voices from the Spanish-language literature of the fantastic.”Jorge Carrión, Otra Parte
“Had Alberto Chimal written the History of the human race, this world would be a much more interesting place.”Eme Equis magazine
Alberto Chimal (Toluca, 1970) is a Mexican writer. His body of work consist mainly of novels, short stories and experimental fiction. He is also a noted creative writing teacher. One of his main areas of interest is the fantastic imagination —a Latin American mode, quite different from the English language fantasy genre— which he has used in award-winning novels and short stories.
Among these awards, he has won the Premio Bellas Artes de Cuento San Luis Potosí (Mexico’s National Short Story Award, 2002); the Premio de Literatura Estado de México (State of Mexico’s Literary Award, 2012); the Premio Colima de Narrativa (Colima Fiction Award, 2013) and the Fundación Cuatrogatos Award, which recognizes the best children’s and YA literature written in Spanish, in 2019.
Also, the picture book for children La madre y la muerte / La partida (which features one story by Chimal and another one by Argentinian writer Alberto Laiseca) was selected in 2016 for the White Ravens world catalogue of the best children’s/YA fiction, which is created at the Internationale Jugendbibliothek in Munich, Germany; his short story “City X” received the Best Short Story award from SF in Translation in 2018; and his second novel, La torre y el jardín, was shortlisted in 2013 for the Rómulo Gallegos award, one of the most prestigious in the Spanish language.
Chimal has explored a range of themes, formats, modes, and genres unusual for Mexican writers. Beyond fiction, he has published essays, theater plays, articles, translations, and two creative writing manuals. He also co-wrote the script for the movie 7:19, la hora del temblor (2016) with director Jorge Michel Grau. It was the first realistic drama ever made about the catastrophic earthquake that devastated Mexico City in 1985, a mayor event in that country’s history.
Since 1993, Chimal has taught literature and creative writing; among his students, some have gone on to win national and international recognition. He holds a Master’s degree on Comparative Literature from the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM). Some of his works have been translated into English, French, Italian, German, Hungarian, Farsi, Hebrew, Mixe, Zapotec, Mixtec, and Esperanto. He lives in Mexico City with his wife, writer Raquel Castro; they both maintain a YouTube channel about books, creative writing and similar subjects.
- This profile interview with Julia Rios, the editor of the MexicanxInitiative site, may be a good entry point to Chimal’s work and career.
- «Una possibilità del linguaggio – Intervista a Alberto Chimal», a wider view of Chimal’s influences and ideas about writing, made by Alfredo Zucchi and Luca Mignola.
Selected works in translation
(please see individual links for translation credits)
- Visionaries (anthology; Traviesa, 2014)
- The Time Traveller (flash fiction; Asymptote, 2015)
- La mère et la mort / Le départ (children’s stories; Le Tripode, 2018)
Short stories and non fiction online
- «Literature of the Imagination in Mexico» (2013)
- «Three Flashes» (Nagari, 2013)
- «The Waterfall» (Kenyon Review, 2014)
- «The Latin Cities» (Palabras Errantes, 2014)
- «Twenty About Robots» (Palabras Errantes, 2014)
- «Good People» (Palabras Errantes, 2016)
- «It All Makes Sense Here» (Latin American Literature Today, 2017)
- «The Savages» (Your Impossible Voice, 2017)
- «City X: a Novel in 101 tweets» (Latin American Literature Today, 2018)
- «On Latin American Speculative Fiction» (Latin American Literature Today, 2018)
- «Art» (The Dark, 2018)
- «A Periodic Table of Books» (World Literature Today, 2018)
- «Parasitism» (Fireside, 2019)
- «The Grand Experiment» (World Literature Today, 2019)