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Born at Bogotá, he studied literature at the Javerian University of Bogotá. He travelled to Spain where he remained until 1990 and graduated in Hispanic Philology at the University of Alcalá de Henares. He then moved to Paris, where he studied Cuban Literature at the Sorbonne.
He made his debut as a novelist with Páginas de vuelta (1995), a work which established him as one of the most innovative voices of the new Colombian narrative; later he wrote Perder es cuestión de método (1997), which was internationally acclaimed, and has been translated into Italian, French, Greek, Portuguese, Czech and German, and about which a film is now being made, and Vida feliz de un joven llamado Esteban (2000), a novel which has added to his international prestige. He is the author of the travel book Octubre en Pekín (2001).
In 2009, Gamboa published Necropolis, an acclaimed novel that won that year'sLa Otra Orilla Literary Prize. In 2012, Europa Editions published a translation of this novel into English by Howard Curtis [ISBN 9781609450731].
As a journalist, he has been a contributor to the Latin American Service of Radio France International in Paris, a correspondent of El Tiempo of Bogotá, and columnist on the magazine Cromos. He is now resident in Rome.
- 1995 Páginas de vuelta, novel.
- 1997 Perder es cuestión de método, novel.
- 2000 Vida feliz de un joven llamado Esteban.
- 2001 Los impostores, novel.
- 2002 Octubre en Pekín, travel book.
- 2004 El cerco de Bogotá.
- 2005 El síndrome de Ulises
- 2008 Hotel Pekin, short novel
- 2009 Necrópolis, novel.
- 2012 Plegarias nocturnas, novel.
- Craig-Odders, Renée W.; Collins, Jacky; Close, Glen Steven (January 2006). Hispanic and Luso-Brazilian detective fiction: essays on the género negro tradition. McFarland. pp. 151–. ISBN 978-0-7864-2426-9. Retrieved 17 June 2011.