The short stories and novels written by Chilean writer Antonio Skármeta have been translated into 27 languages and universally recognised with a variety of international awards. Among his most recent distinctions are the Premio Planeta 2003 for El baile de la victoria, the Médicis Award in France, the Grinzane Cavour in Italy for La boda del poeta (The Poet’s Wedding), the Llibreter Award and the World Literature Award from Unesco for La composición (The Composition).
His most popular work is El cartero de Neruda (The Postman), which has had a fortunate life in its novel, theatre and cinema versions. Directed by himself in 1983, and entitled Ardiente paciencia (Burning Patience), it won the highest awards at the Huelva and Biarritz festivals and the Prix Georges Sadoul in France. Eleven years later, in 1994, Michael Radford’s new adaptation of the novel, entitled Il Postino, starring Massimo Troisi and Philippe Noiret, earned five Oscar nominations, landing one of them and becoming an enormous world success.
He has always been extremely close to cinema and television. In the 80s, he wrote scripts in Germany for the director Peter Lilienthal, while several of his short stories have been filmed in Venezuela, Mexico and Germany. Skármeta is similarly the creator of two TV programmes dedicated to books and authors which have been a great audience success thanks to their groundbreaking innovations. One of them, El show de los libros, has received a number of awards in different countries, including the Spanish Ondas and Midia prizes. At the last Cannes Festival, producer Cecchi Gori, who produced Il Postino, announced that he had acquired the film rights for Skármeta’s novel El baile de la victoria (Premio Planeta) to be directed by Ricky Tognazzi.
During his lifetime, he has been named Knight of the Order of the Arts and Letters in France and Knight Commander in Italy, while Germany awarded him its Goethe Medal. In 2000, President Ricardo Lagos named him Chilean Ambassador to Germany, a mission he fulfilled until 2003.
Practically all of his works have been published in Spain by Random House Mondadori, Planeta and Seix-Barral.