Alejandro Zambra

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Alejandro Zambra
Alejandro Zambra - 2015 National Book Festival (3).jpg
Born 1975
Santiago, Chile
Occupation Writer
Language Spanish
Nationality Chilean
Citizenship Chilean
Alma mater University of Chile, Pontifical Catholic University
Notable works Bonsái (2006)
Notable awards Altazor Award, Prince Claus Awards[1]

Alejandro Andrés Zambra Infantas (Santiago, Chile, 1975 - ) is a Chilean poet and novelist.

Early life[edit]

Alejandro Zambra was born in 1975 in Villa Portales, a district of Santiago, Chile, to Horacio Zambra and Rosa Infantas. At age five, his family moved to the village of Las Terrazas in Maipú.[citation needed]

Zambra studied at the Instituto Nacional General José Miguel Carrera and the University of Chile, from which he graduated in 1997 with a degree in Hispanic literature. He won a scholarship to pursue postgraduate studies in Madrid, where he obtained an MA in Hispanic studies. Back in Chile, he received a PhD in literature from the Pontifical Catholic University.[citation needed]


Zambra teaches at the School of Literature at Diego Portales University in Santiago.[citation needed]

Zambra's first novel, Bonsái, was awarded the Chilean Critics Award for best novel of the year in 2006 and attracted much attention in Chile.[2] As the highly influential Santiago newspaper El Mercurio summed up, "The publication of Bonsai ... marked a kind of bloodletting in Chilean literature. It was said (or argued) that it represented the end of an era, or the beginning of another, in the nation's letters."[3] In 2011 the book was turned into a film of the same name.[4]

Short stories and articles by Zambra have been featured in magazines such as The New Yorker, The Paris Review, Harper's, Tin House, McSweeney's Quarterly Concern, Vice, Zoetrope, The Virginia Quarterly Review and Rattapallax.[citation needed]



  • 1998 - Bahía Inútil, poems 1996-1998, Ediciones Stratis, Santiago, ISBN 978-956-288-147-0
  • 2003 - Mudanza, Santiago, Quid Ediciones.
  • 2014 - Facsímil, Santiago, Hueders; Buenos Aires, Eterna Cadencia (2015); Madrid, Sexto Piso (2015).


  • 2006 - Bonsái, Anagrama, Barcelona
  • 2007 - La vida privada de los árboles, Anagrama, Barcelona
  • 2011 - Formas de volver a casa, Anagrama, Barcelona

Short stories[edit]

  • 2013 - Mis documentos (Anagrama, Barcelona), 11 stories, translated as My documents

Criticism and essays[edit]

  • 2010 - No leer, compilation of critiques, Alpha Decay, Barcelona, 2012.

English translations[edit]

  • Bonsai. Translated by Carolina De Robertis. Melville House Publishing, 2008.
  • The Private Lives of Trees. Translated by Megan McDowell. Open Letter Books, 2010.
  • Ways of Going Home, Translated by Megan McDowell. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2013.
  • My Documents, Translated by Megan McDowell. McSweeney's, 2015.


  1. ^ "2012 Principal Prince Claus awardees announced" (Press release). Prince Claus Fund for Culture and Development. Retrieved November 13, 2013. 
  2. ^ "Escritores cuentan cómo crean obras". Los Tiempos (in Spanish). August 25, 2007. Retrieved November 13, 2013. 
  3. ^ Valdes, Marcela (July 6, 2009). "Seed Projects: The Fiction of Alejandro Zambra". The Nation. Retrieved November 13, 2013. 
  4. ^ Leo Nikolaidis. "Interview with Bonsai director Cristián Jiménez". Sounds and Colours. Retrieved April 10, 2012. 

External links[edit]