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Interview with Luis López Nieves

Marialuisa Di Stefano

From: Pacific Coast Philology
Volume 51, Issue 2, 2016
pp. 246-250


In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

Interview with Luis López Nieves

Marialuisa Di Stefano

Luis López Nieves (b. 1950) is a Puerto Rican writer who burst onto the literary world introducing a new genre that he likes to call “historia trocada” (changed or alternate history). He earned his doctorate in comparative literature at State University of New York at Stony Brook. He created and is the director of the first master’s program in Creative Writing of Latin America at the Sacred Heart University in San Juan, Puerto Rico. He won twice the National Literature Prize, awarded by the Puerto Rican Literature Institute, for the historical short stories collection The True Death of Juan Ponce de Leon (2000), and for the novel Voltaire’s Heart (2005). The Puerto Rican Department of Education adopted Voltaire’s Heart as an official reading for the twelfth grade. Voltaire’s Heart is also his first detective and epistolary novel that employs an e-mail format. López Nieves used the same technique in the novel Galileo’s Silence (2009). The detective and epistolary trilogy may be completed by a third and final novel in the future; even if, at the moment, the author is working on a totally different project. As he announced during our most recent e-mail correspondence in May, 2016, he is in the final release stage of his new novel Toda la sangre del mundo (All the Blood of the World), an ambitious work of more than four hundred pages. López Nieves’s literary works have been translated into Dutch, English, Italian, Icelandic, Polish, French, Romanian, and Portuguese. The interview presented here is the result of three original meetings I had with the author in Puerto Rico in March, 2011, November, 2011, and December, 2012. The data in this interview have been confirmed and updated through personal communications with the author in May, 2016. [End Page 246]


What experiences in your life do you feel prepared you to become a creative writer?


I never know how to answer the question about how I became a writer and what prepared me to write. I believe it is something that just happens, as in the case of a person with a good voice that becomes a singer. Or someone that one day, playing tennis, suddenly discovers that he is very good at it. Or someone that becomes bored one day and starts drawing on a piece of paper and discovers that the drawing is good. So this is the first element: natural talent.

However, many talents can be (and are) wasted. Many people with great voices are not successful professional singers. So, I would say that the second element is education or training. One has to train and do it very intensely. And for this to happen one needs a third element, discipline, which allows you to dedicate yourself fully to your goals and to work extremely hard to achieve them.

So I guess I had talent for writing. Second, I grew up in a house with a library and read very much since I was little. Then I studied literature at the university. So I achieved a good education in my craft. I trained. And, third, I am a very disciplined person. I work hard every day at my craft and have been doing so for many years.

So I guess this summarizes what helped me become a writer.


In your last two novels you combined the epistolary genre with the cyber world; the official History with the “changed history” (la historia trocada); the academic world with popular culture; scientific discourse with the humanities; and a broad spectrum of social hierarchies in a detective novel genre frame. How did these synergies come together and develop in your mind? In other words, if you could explain your creative process, how would you describe it?


This creative process simply reflects my life. On the one hand, I am a university professor and writer in residence. Also, I have a PhD in comparative literature. So all of my adult life I have been in the academic world.

However, on the other hand, I try very much to not become isolated…

[Fragmento inicial]

Versión Internet

“Interview with Luis López Nieves”, Marialuisa Di Stefano, Pacific Coast Philology, Estados Unidos, Volume 51, Issue 2, 2016, (fragmento inicial). Texto completo disponible en Project Muse:

Volver a Bibliografía crítica sobre la obra de Luis López Nieves