Antonio Skármeta

Chile

Writer

Guest of the DAAD Artists-in-Berlin Programme 1973

Antonio Skármeta DAAD


He is a wanderer between two artistic genres, just as he is a traveller between Chile and Germany. The writer Antonio Skármeta left his home country in 1973 after Salvador Allende was murdered, first went to Argentina and from there to Berlin, where the author and director, who was already well known and had won awards in Chile, was a guest of the DAAD’s Artists-in-Berlin programme.

Europe strongly influenced my writing.
Antonio Skármeta

He stayed in Berlin for 15 years, wrote screenplays, directed a number of films, and wrote a Lolita parody about Steffi Graf. He gained fame with his film and book of the same name, Burning Patience (1985), which told the story of Pablo Neruda, the Nobel Laureate for literature, and his postman. The 1995 remake of the film with Philippe Noiret was a worldwide success.

In 1989, after the end of the Pinochet dictatorship, Skármeta returned to Chile with his German wife. There, he founded a writing workshop for young Chilean authors and named it after Heinrich Böll. In 2000, he returned to the German capital for three years as the Chilean Ambassador. He has received numerous international awards for his literary and film work, including the UNESCO Prize and the Spanish Planeta Prize. Today, Antonio Skármeta lives in Santiago de Chile. His novel The Days of the Rainbow was published in 2013.