A Web del Sol Featured Writer

Ilan Stavans

Writing is like breathing. I write every day, generally at night because I'm not interrupted. Besides, at night I'm tired, which gives the mind a special sharpness.

Ilan Stavans teaches at Amherst College. His books include The Hispanic Condition (Harper Collins) and Tropical Synagogues (Holmes and Meier). He is currently editing The Oxford Book of Latin American Essays. The stories included here at Web del Sol are from his collection, The One-Handed Pianist (University of New Mexico Press).

Ilan Stavans, from The Writer in Exile
The young writer spends ten, fifteen years preparing something but hardly knows what. His books will later be perceived as a preparation. Literature is the best way to overcome death. My father, as I said, is an actor. He's the happiest man on earth when he's performing, but when the show is over, he's sad and troubled. I wish he could live in the eternal present, because in the theater everything remains in memories and photographs. Literature, on the other hand, allows you to live in the present and to remain in the pantheon of the future. Literature is a way to say, I was here, this is what I thought, this is what I perceived. This is my signature, this is my name.

Selections from Ilan Stavans' work:
"The One-Handed Pianist"

The Invention of Memory
The Spot
House Repossessed

See also, The Literary Review

Email Ilan Stavans