Alberto Manguel
Alberto Manguel is a Canadian Argentine
Argentina , officially the Argentine Republic , is the second largest country in South America by land area, after Brazil. It is constituted as a federation of 23 provinces and an autonomous city, Buenos Aires...

-born writer, translator, and editor. He is the author of numerous non-fiction books such as The Dictionary of Imaginary Places (co-written with Gianni Guadalupi in 1980), A History of Reading (1996), The Library at Night (2007) and Homer's Iliad and Odyssey: A Biography (2008); and novels such as News From a Foreign Country Came (1991).
Alberto Manguel is a Canadian Argentine
Argentina , officially the Argentine Republic , is the second largest country in South America by land area, after Brazil. It is constituted as a federation of 23 provinces and an autonomous city, Buenos Aires...

-born writer, translator, and editor. He is the author of numerous non-fiction books such as The Dictionary of Imaginary Places (co-written with Gianni Guadalupi in 1980), A History of Reading (1996), The Library at Night (2007) and Homer's Iliad and Odyssey: A Biography (2008); and novels such as News From a Foreign Country Came (1991). Though almost all of Manguel's books were written in English, two of his novels (El regreso and Todos los hombres son mentirosos) were written in Spanish and have not yet been published in English. Manguel has also written film criticism such as Bride of Frankenstein (1997) and collections of essays such as Into the Looking Glass Wood (1998).

For over twenty years, Manguel has edited a number of literary
An anthology is a collection of literary works chosen by the compiler. It may be a collection of poems, short stories, plays, songs, or excerpts...

 on a variety of themes or genres ranging from erotica and gay stories to fantastic literature and mysteries.


Manguel grew up in Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

, where his father was the Argentine ambassador. Later, in Buenos Aires, when Manguel was still a teenager, he met the writer Jorge Luis Borges
Jorge Luis Borges
Jorge Francisco Isidoro Luis Borges Acevedo , known as Jorge Luis Borges , was an Argentine writer, essayist, poet and translator born in Buenos Aires. In 1914 his family moved to Switzerland where he attended school, receiving his baccalauréat from the Collège de Genève in 1918. The family...

, a customer of the Pygmalion Anglo-German bookshop in Buenos Aires where Manguel worked after school. As Borges was almost blind, he would ask others to read out loud for him, and Manguel became one of Borges' readers, several times a week from 1964 to 1968.

In Buenos Aires, Manguel attended the Colegio Nacional de Buenos Aires
Colegio Nacional de Buenos Aires
Colegio Nacional de Buenos Aires is a public high school in Buenos Aires, Argentina. In the tradition of the European gymnasium it provides a free education that includes classical languages such as Latin and Greek. The school is one of the most prestigious in Argentina...

 from 1961 to 1966; among his teachers were notable Argentinian intellectuals such as the historian Alberto Salas, the Cervantes scholar Isaias Lerner and the literary critic Enrique Pezzoni. Manguel did one year (1967) at the Universidad de Buenos Aires, Filosofía y Letras, but he abandoned his studies and started working at the recently founded Editorial Galerna of Guillermo Schavelzon (who thirty-five years later, now established in Barcelona, was to become Manguel's literary agent). In 1969 Manguel travelled to Europe and worked as a reader for various publishing companies: Denoél, Gallimard and Les Lettres Nouvelles in Paris, and Calder & Boyars in London.


In 1971, Manguel, living then in Paris and London, was awarded the Premio La Nación (Buenos Aires) for a collection of short stories. The prize was shared with the writer Bernardo Schiavetta.
In 1972 Manguel returned to Buenos Aires and worked for a year as a reporter for the newspaper La Nación.
In 1974, he was offered employment as foreign editor at the Franco Maria Ricci publishing company in Milan. Here he met Gianni Guadalupi and later, at Guadalupi's suggestion, wrote with him The Dictionary of Imaginary Places
The Dictionary of Imaginary Places
The Dictionary of Imaginary Places is a book written by Alberto Manguel and Gianni Guadalupi. It takes the form of a catalogue of fantasy lands, islands, cities, and other locations from world literature—"a Baedecker or traveller's guide...a nineteenth-century gazetteer" for mental...

. The book is a travel guide to fantasy lands, islands, cities, and other locations from world literature, including Ruritania
Ruritania is a fictional country in central Europe which forms the setting for three books by Anthony Hope: The Prisoner of Zenda , The Heart of Princess Osra , and Rupert of Hentzau...

, Shangri-La
Shangri-La is a fictional place described in the 1933 novel Lost Horizon by British author James Hilton. Hilton describes Shangri-La as a mystical, harmonious valley, gently guided from a lamasery, enclosed in the western end of the Kunlun Mountains...

, Xanadu
Kubla Khan
Kubla Khan is a poem by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, completed in 1797 and published in Christabel, Kubla Khan, and the Pains of Sleep in 1816...

, Atlantis
Atlantis is a legendary island first mentioned in Plato's dialogues Timaeus and Critias, written about 360 BC....

, L. Frank Baum
L. Frank Baum
Lyman Frank Baum was an American author of children's books, best known for writing The Wonderful Wizard of Oz...

's Oz
Land of Oz
Oz is a fantasy region containing four lands under the rule of one monarch.It was first introduced in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum, one of many fantasy countries that he created for his books. It achieved a popularity that none of his other works attained, and after four years, he...

, Lewis Carroll
Lewis Carroll
Charles Lutwidge Dodgson , better known by the pseudonym Lewis Carroll , was an English author, mathematician, logician, Anglican deacon and photographer. His most famous writings are Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and its sequel Through the Looking-Glass, as well as the poems "The Hunting of the...

's Wonderland
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland is an 1865 novel written by English author Charles Lutwidge Dodgson under the pseudonym Lewis Carroll. It tells of a girl named Alice who falls down a rabbit hole into a fantasy world populated by peculiar, anthropomorphic creatures...

, Thomas More
Thomas More
Sir Thomas More , also known by Catholics as Saint Thomas More, was an English lawyer, social philosopher, author, statesman and noted Renaissance humanist. He was an important councillor to Henry VIII of England and, for three years toward the end of his life, Lord Chancellor...

's Utopia
Utopia (book)
Utopia is a work of fiction by Thomas More published in 1516...

, Edwin Abbott
Edwin Abbott Abbott
Edwin Abbott Abbott , English schoolmaster and theologian, is best known as the author of the satirical novella Flatland .-Biography:...

's Flatland
Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions is an 1884 satirical novella by the English schoolmaster Edwin Abbott Abbott. Writing pseudonymously as "A Square", Abbott used the fictional two-dimensional world of Flatland to offer pointed observations on the social hierarchy of Victorian culture...

, C. S. Lewis
C. S. Lewis
Clive Staples Lewis , commonly referred to as C. S. Lewis and known to his friends and family as "Jack", was a novelist, academic, medievalist, literary critic, essayist, lay theologian and Christian apologist from Belfast, Ireland...

' Narnia
The Chronicles of Narnia
The Chronicles of Narnia is a series of seven fantasy novels for children by C. S. Lewis. It is considered a classic of children's literature and is the author's best-known work, having sold over 100 million copies in 47 languages...

, and the realms of Jonathan Swift
Jonathan Swift
Jonathan Swift was an Irish satirist, essayist, political pamphleteer , poet and cleric who became Dean of St...

 and J.R.R. Tolkien.
In 1976, Manguel moved to Tahiti, where he worked as editor for Les Editions du Pacifique until 1977. He then worked for the same company in Paris for one year.
In 1978 Manguel settled in Milford, Surrey (England) and set up the short-lived Ram Publishing Company.
In 1979, Manguel returned to Tahiti to work again for Les Editions du Pacifique, this time until 1982.


In 1982 Manguel moved to Toronto
Toronto is the provincial capital of Ontario and the largest city in Canada. It is located in Southern Ontario on the northwestern shore of Lake Ontario. A relatively modern city, Toronto's history dates back to the late-18th century, when its land was first purchased by the British monarchy from...

, Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

 and lived there (with a brief European period) until 2000. He has been a Canadian citizen ever since. Here Manguel contributed regularly to The Globe and Mail
The Globe and Mail
The Globe and Mail is a nationally distributed Canadian newspaper, based in Toronto and printed in six cities across the country. With a weekly readership of approximately 1 million, it is Canada's largest-circulation national newspaper and second-largest daily newspaper after the Toronto Star...

(Toronto), The Times Literary Supplement
The Times Literary Supplement
The Times Literary Supplement is a weekly literary review published in London by News International, a subsidiary of News Corporation.-History:...

(London), The Village Voice (New York), The Washington Post
The Washington Post
The Washington Post is Washington, D.C.'s largest newspaper and its oldest still-existing paper, founded in 1877. Located in the capital of the United States, The Post has a particular emphasis on national politics. D.C., Maryland, and Virginia editions are printed for daily circulation...

, The Sydney Morning Herald
The Sydney Morning Herald
The Sydney Morning Herald is a daily broadsheet newspaper published by Fairfax Media in Sydney, Australia. Founded in 1831 as the Sydney Herald, the SMH is the oldest continuously published newspaper in Australia. The newspaper is published six days a week. The newspaper's Sunday counterpart, The...

, The Australian Review of Books, The New York Times
The New York Times
The New York Times is an American daily newspaper founded and continuously published in New York City since 1851. The New York Times has won 106 Pulitzer Prizes, the most of any news organization...

and the Svenska Dagbladet
Svenska Dagbladet
Svenska Dagbladet is a daily newspaper in Sweden. The first issue appeared on 18 December 1884. Svenska Dagbladet is published in Stockholm and provides coverage of national and international news as well as local coverage of the Greater Stockholm region...

(Stockholm), and reviewed books and plays for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Manguel's early impression of Canada was that it was " one of those places whose existence we assume because of a name on a sign above a platform, glimpsed at as our train stops and then rushes on." (from Passages: Welcome Home to Canada (2002), with preface by Rudyard Griffiths). As well, though, Manguel noted that "When I arrived in Canada, for the first time I felt I was living in a place where I could participate actively as a writer in the running of the state."

In 1983, he selected the stories for what is perhaps his best-known anthology Black Water: The Book of Fantastic Literature. His first novel, "News From a Foreign Country Came", won the McKitterick Prize
McKitterick Prize
The McKitterick Prize is a United Kingdom literary prize. It is administered by the Society of Authors. It was endowed by Tom McKitterick, who had been an editor of The Political Quarterly but had also written a novel which was never published. The prize is awarded annually for a first novel by...

in 1992.

He was appointed as the Distinguished Visiting Writer in the Markin-Flanagan Distinguished Writers Program
Markin-Flanagan Distinguished Writers Program
thumbThe , at the University of Calgary, strives to advance the careers of Canadian writers, invigorate the Calgary writing community, and enhance the activities of the Faculty of Humanities and the Department of English...

at the University of Calgary
University of Calgary
The University of Calgary is a public research university located in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Founded in 1966 the U of C is composed of 14 faculties and more than 85 research institutes and centres.More than 25,000 undergraduate and 5,500 graduate students are currently...

 from 1997 to 1999. Manguel was the Opening Lecturer at the "Exile & Migration" Congress, Boston University
Boston University
Boston University is a private research university located in Boston, Massachusetts. With more than 4,000 faculty members and more than 31,000 students, Boston University is one of the largest private universities in the United States and one of Boston's largest employers...

, in June 1999, and the Times Literary Supplement lecturer in 1997.


In 2000, Manguel moved to the Poitou-Charentes region of France, where he and his partner have purchased and renovated a medieval presbytery. Among the renovations is an oak-panelled library to house Manguel's 30,000 books.

Manguel held the Cátedra Cortázar at the Universidad de Guadalajara, Mexico, in 2007 and the S. Fischer Chair at the Freie Universität Berlin, in 2003. In 2007, he received an honorary doctorate from the University of Liège
University of Liège
The University of Liège , in Liège, Wallonia, Belgium, is a major public university in the French Community of Belgium. Its official language is French.-History:...


Manguel delivered the 2007 Massey Lectures
Massey Lectures
The Massey Lectures are an annual week-long series of lectures on a political, cultural or philosophical topic given in Canada by a noted scholar. They were created in 1961 to honour Vincent Massey, Governor General of Canada...

which were later published as The City of Words and in the same year delivered the Northrop Frye-Antonine Maillet Lecture in Moncton, New Brunswick. He was the Pratt Lecturer at Memorial University of Newfoundland
Memorial University of Newfoundland
Memorial University of Newfoundland, is a comprehensive university located primarily in St...

, in 2003.

In 2008, the Pompidou Center in Paris honoured Alberto Manguel as part of its 30th Anniversary Celebrations, by inviting him to set up a 3-month long program of lectures, film and round tables.

He writes a regular column for Geist
Geist (magazine)
Geist is Canada's most widely read literary magazine. Geist is published four times a year in Vancouver since 1990. The magazine takes its name from the German word geist, meaning "mind" or "spirit."...



  • The Dictionary of Imaginary Places
    The Dictionary of Imaginary Places
    The Dictionary of Imaginary Places is a book written by Alberto Manguel and Gianni Guadalupi. It takes the form of a catalogue of fantasy lands, islands, cities, and other locations from world literature—"a Baedecker or traveller's guide...a nineteenth-century gazetteer" for mental...

    (1980) ISBN 0-02-546400-0
  • Black Water: The Book of Fantastic Literature (1983, anthology) ISBN 0-517-55269-8
    • Black Water 2: More Tales of the Fantastic (1990, anthology) ISBN 0-88619-124-6
  • Dark Arrows: Chronicles of Revenge (1985, anthology) ISBN 0-14-007712-X
  • Other Fires: Short Fiction by Latin American Women (1986, anthology) ISBN 0-88619-065-7
  • Evening Games: Chronicles of Parents and Children (1986, anthology) ISBN 0-14-007713-8
  • Chronicles of Marriage (1988, anthology) ISBN 0-14-009928-X
  • The Oxford Book of Canadian Ghost Stories (1990, anthology) ISBN 0-19-540761-X
  • Soho Square III (1990, anthology) ISBN 0-7475-0716-3
  • Seasons (1990, anthology) ISBN 978-0-385-25265-2
  • White Fire - further fantastic literature (1990, anthology) ISBN 0-330-31380-0
  • News From a Foreign Country Came (1991, novel) ISBN 0-517-58343-7
  • Canadian Mystery Stories (1991, anthology) ISBN 0-19-540820-9
  • The Gates of Paradise: The Anthology of Erotic Short Literature (1993, anthology) ISBN 0-921912-47-1
    • The Second Gates of Paradise: The Anthology of Erotic Short Literature (1994, anthology) ISBN 0-921912-77-3
  • Meanwhile, In Another Part of the Forest: Gay Stories from Alice Munro to Yukio Mishima (1994, anthology) ISBN 0-394-28012-1
  • A History of Reading (1996, non-fiction) ISBN 0-394-28032-6
  • Lost Words (1996, anthology), ISBN 978-0-904286-56-4
  • Bride of Frankenstein (1997, film criticism) ISBN 0-85170-608-8
  • Into the Looking Glass Wood (1998, essays) ISBN 0-676-97135-0
  • By the Light of the Glow-worm Lamp: Three Centuries of Reflections on Nature (1998, anthology) ISBN 0-306-45991-4
  • Mothers & Daughters (1998, anthology) ISBN 1-55192-127-8
  • Fathers & Sons (1998, anthology) ISBN 1-55192-129-4
  • The Ark in the Garden: Fables for Our Times (1998, anthology) ISBN 1-55199-030-X
  • A Visit to the Dream Bookseller / Ein Besuch beim Traumbuchhändler (1998, non-fiction)
  • God's Spies: Stories in Defiance of Oppression (1999, anthology) ISBN 1-55199-040-7
  • Reading Pictures: A History of Love and Hate (2000, art criticism) ISBN 0-676-97132-6
  • Kipling: A Brief Biography for Young Adults (2000), ISBN 1-896209-48-3
  • Comment Pinocchio apprit à lire (How Pinocchio Learned to Read, 2000, non-fiction) ISBN 2-88888-102-0
  • Stevenson under the Palm Trees (2003, novel) ISBN 0-88762-138-4
  • A Reading Diary (2004, non-fiction) ISBN 0-676-97590-9
  • With Borges (2004, biography), ISBN 0-88762-146-5
  • El regreso (A Return, 2005, novel) ISBN 950-04-2653-6
  • The Penguin Book of Christmas Stories (2005, anthology) ISBN 0-670-06449-1
  • Un amant très vétilleux (The Overdiscriminating Lover, 2005, novel) ISBN 978-2-7427-5438-0
  • The Library at Night (2006, non-fiction) ISBN 0-676-97588-7
  • Nuevo elogio de la locura (At the Mad Hatter’s Table, 2006, non-fiction) ISBN 978-950-04-2762-3
  • Magic Land of Toys (2006, non-fiction) ISBN 978-0-86565-176-0
  • The Penguin Book of Summer Stories (2007, anthology) ISBN 978-0-14-305629-4
  • The City of Words (CBC Massey Lecture) (2007, non-fiction) ISBN 0-88784-763-3
  • Homer's The Iliad and The Odyssey: A Biography (2007, history and criticism) ISBN 978-0-8021-4382-2
  • Todos los hombres son mentirosos (All Men Are Liars, 2008, novel) ISBN 978-84-9867-340-1
  • A Reader on Reading Yale University Press, 2010 ISBN 9780300159820


  • Medalla al Mérito (Buenos Aires, 2007)
  • Milovan Vidakovic Literary Award (Novi Sad, Serbia, 2007)
  • Premio Grinzane Cavour, essay for Diario di un lettore (Italy, 2007)
  • Prix Roger Caillois
    Roger Caillois
    Roger Caillois was a French intellectual whose idiosyncratic work brought together literary criticism, sociology, and philosophy by focusing on subjects as diverse as games, play and the sacred...

     (France, 2004)
  • Fellow of the S. Fischer Stiftung (Germany, 2004–2005)
  • Officier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (France, 2004)
  • Fellow of the Simon Guggenheim Foundation (USA, 2004)
  • Prix Poitou-Charentes for Chez Borges (France, 2004)
  • Premio Germán Sánchez Ruipérez for best literary criticism (Spain, 2002)
  • Prix France Culture (Etranger), for Dans la forêt du miroir (France, 2001)
  • Prix Médicis Essai, for Une Histoire de la lecture (France, 1998)
  • Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (France, 1996)
  • Harbourfront Award for Contribution to the Arts (Canada, 1992)
  • Canadian Writers' Association Award , fiction (Canada, 1992)
  • McKitterick First Novel Award (UK, 1992)
  • Lewis Gallantière Translation Prize (honourable mention), American Translators Association (USA, 1986)
  • German Critics Award for Von Atlantis bis Utopia, German translation of The Dictionary of Imaginary Places (Germany, 1981)
  • Literary Award La Nación for short stories (Buenos Aires, 1971)


  • Boyd Tonkin, The Spirit of the Shelves (The Independent
    The Independent
    The Independent is a British national morning newspaper published in London by Independent Print Limited, owned by Alexander Lebedev since 2010. It is nicknamed the Indy, while the Sunday edition, The Independent on Sunday, is the Sindy. Launched in 1986, it is one of the youngest UK national daily...

    , London, April 25, 2008)
  • Italo Calvino, The Book of Sand (Article on The Dictionary of Imaginary Places)
  • Georges Steiner, reviews of History of Reading and Into the Looking-Glass Wood (New Yorker Magazine)
  • P.D. James, review of History of Reading (Sunday Times)
  • Jeanette Winterson, review of Reading Pictures (Times Literary Supplement)
  • Peter Conrad, review of The Library at Night
  • Peter Ackroyd, review of The Library at Night
  • Hector Bianciotti, Une Passion en toutes lettres (Gallimard, 2001) (Essay on Manguel)
  • Peter Kemp, The Oxford Book of Literary Quotations (Oxford University Press
    Oxford University Press
    Oxford University Press is the largest university press in the world. It is a department of the University of Oxford and is governed by a group of 15 academics appointed by the Vice-Chancellor known as the Delegates of the Press. They are headed by the Secretary to the Delegates, who serves as...

    , 1997)

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