Central American novelist Moya to speak on March 6

Release Date: 2/20/2014

Contemporary El Salvadoran writer and journalist Horacio Castellanos Moya will speak at University of the Ozarks on Thursday, March 6, as part of the University's Walton Arts & Ideas Series.

Horacio Castellanos Moya

El Salvadoran author and journalist Horacio Castellanos Moya will speak on literature and society in Central America on March 6 in Rowntree Auditorium.

Moya will speak on literature and society in Central America. The event begins at 7 p.m. in Rowntree Auditorium in the Walton Fine Arts Center. It is free and open to the public.

For two decades, Moya worked as the editor of news agencies, magazines and newspapers in Mexico, Guatemala, Costa Rica and El Salvador. As a fiction writer, he was granted residencies in a program supported by the Frankfurt International Book Fair and in the City of Asylum program in Pittsburgh. He has also taught in the writing program at the University of Pittsburgh. In 2009, he was guest researcher at the University of Tokyo with a fellowship granted by the Japan Foundation. He has published 10 novels, five short story collections and a book of essays. His novels have been translated into 10 languages.

Moya was born in 1957 in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, to a Honduran mother and a Salvadoran father. His family moved to El Salvador when he was four years old. He lived there until 1979 when he left to attend York University in Toronto.

On a visit home, he witnessed a demonstration of unarmed students and workers in which 21 people were killed by government snipers. He left El Salvador that March, but did not go back to Canada for school. Instead, he traveled to Costa Rica and Mexico, where he found work as a journalist. He wrote sympathetically about the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front, a political party that formed following the 1932 Salvadoran peasant massacre. He soon, however, grew disillusioned by violent fighting within the party.

In 1991, Moya returned to El Salvador to start a magazine, a venture that proved unsuccessful. Over the next few years he wrote and published several novels, including "Senselessness," "The She-Devil in the Mirror," and "Revulsion: Thomas Bernhard in San Salvador." The protagonist in "Revulsion" is a Thomas Bernhard-esque character who returns to El Salvador after 18 years to deliver a 119-page diatribe against the country. The novel enraged many Salvadorans, with some calling for a book ban and others throwing the book into fires. Moya's mother received death threats against her son and in 1997 Moya fled El Salvador.

Starting in 2002, he lived in Mexico City in self-imposed exile for 10 years. He began writing a new novel called "Guatemale: Nunca mas! (Never Again!)." It was published as "Insensatez" in 2004. In 2008 the novel became his first work to be translated into English.

Currently, Moya teaches creative writing and media in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at the University of Iowa.