Piglia was born in Adrogué and raised in Mar del Plata, where he went to live in 1955 after the fall of Juan Perón, whom his father supported. He studied history in the National University of La Plata. He then went to work in various publishing houses in Buenos Aires and was in charge of the Serie Negra which published well known authors of crime fiction including Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler, David Goodis and Horace McCoy. A fan of American literature he was also influenced by F. Scott Fitzgerald and William Faulkner, as well as by European authors Franz Kafka and Robert Musil.
He is known for his fiction, including several collections of short stories; the novels Artificial Respiration (1980), The Absent City (1992), Burnt Money (1997); and criticism including Criticism and Fiction (1986), Brief Forms (1999) and The Last Reader (2005).
Piglia resided for a number of years in the United States, where he taught Latin American literature at Princeton University, but in 2011, after retirement, he decided to return with his wife to his home country, where he lived ever since.
In 2013 he was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
Piglia has received a number of awards, including the Premio internacional de novela Rómulo Gallegos (2011), Premio Iberoamericano de las Letras (2005), Premio Planeta (1997), Premio Casa de las Américas (1967).
In 2014 he won the Diamond Konex Award as the best writer of the last decade in Argentina.
- 1986 Criticism and Fiction ("Crítica y ficción")
- 1993 Argentina in Pieces ("La Argentina en pedazos")
- 1999 Brief Forms ("Formas breves")
- 2000 Dictionary of the Novel of Macedonio Fernández ("Diccionario de la novela de Macedonio Fernández")
- 2005 The Last Reader ("El último lector")
- 1980 Artificial Respiration ("Respiración artificial")
- 1992 The Absent City ("La ciudad ausente")
- 1997 Burnt Money ("Plata Quemada")
- 2010 Nocturnal Target ("Blanco nocturno")
- 2013 One Way Road ("El Camino de Ida")
Short story collections
- 1967 The Invasion ("La Invasión")
- 1975 Assumed Name ("Nombre Falso")
- 1988 Perpetual Prison ("Prisión perpetua")
- 1995 Moral Tales ("Cuentos morales")
- Roberto Echavarren. “La literariedad: Respiración artificial, de Ricardo Piglia”, Revista Iberoamericana, University of Pittsburgh, U.S.A., vol. XLIX, October–December 1983, No. 125, pp. 997–1008.
- "Ricardo Piglia" (in Spanish). Literatura Argentina Contemporánea. Retrieved 20 May 2011.
- País, Ediciones El (January 7, 2017). "Muere Ricardo Piglia, un clásico contemporáneo de la literatura en español". EL PAÍS (in Spanish). Retrieved 2017-01-07.
- "Murió el escritor Ricardo Piglia". La Nacion (in Spanish). January 6, 2017. Retrieved January 7, 2017.
- "La obra “Blanco nocturno” de Ricardo Piglia ganó el Premio Internacional de Novela Rómulo Gallegos ", June 2011.