RSL Remembers: Javier Marías

Date: 21/9/23
Speakers: Margaret Jull Costa, Adam Thirlwell,  Aminatta Forna, and Juan Gabriel Vásquez

Spanish novelist and RSL International Writer Javier Marías died on 11 September 2022. On the anniversary of his death, Margaret Jull Costa, Adam Thirlwell,  Aminatta Forna and Juan Gabriel Vásquez meet over Zoom to record a conversation about Marías’s life, work and legacy.

To watch, register to be emailed a viewing link on the day.


Margaret Jull Costa has translated the works of many Spanish and Portuguese writers and is an RSL Fellow. In 2014, she was awarded an OBE for services to literature. Her award-winning translations include The Book of Disquiet by Fernando Pessoa, The Word Tree by Teolinda Gersão and A Heart So White by Javier Marías, as well as All the Names and The Elephant’s Journey, both by José Saramago. In 2015, she won the Marsh Children’s Fiction in Translation Award for The Adventures of Shola by Bernardo Atxaga, and in 2017, with her co-translator Robin Patterson, she won the Best Translated Book Award for Chronicle of the Murdered.

Adam Thirlwell was born in London in 1978. The author of four novels, his work has been translated into thirty languages. His essays appear in the New York Review of Books and the London Review of Books, and he is an advisory editor of the Paris Review. His awards include a Somerset Maugham Award and the E. M. Forster Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters; in 2018 he was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. He has twice been selected by Granta as one of their Best of Young British Novelists.

Aminatta Forna OBE is a Scottish and Sierra Leonean writer whose books have been translated into 22 languages and won numerous awards. She was born in Scotland, raised in Sierra Leone and Great Britain and spent periods of her childhood in Iran, Thailand and Zambia. She is the award-winning author of four novels, a memoir and an essay collection. A Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and a member of the Folio Academy, she has also acted as judge for several prizes, including the International Booker Prize. Forna is Director of the Lannan Center for Poetics and Social Practice at Georgetown University and Professor of Creative Writing at Bath Spa University.

Juan Gabriel Vásquez was born in Bogotá, Colombia. He is the author of four novels, The Informers, The Secret History of Costaguana, The Sound of Things Falling and Reputations, as well as the story collection The All Saints’ Day Lovers. He is the winner of many prizes including the 2014 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award for The Sound of Things Falling (jointly with his translator Anne McLean), the 2013 Gregor von Rezzori Prize and the 2011 Alfaguara Prize. He has translated works into Spanish and his own work has been translated into more than 20 languages. He lives in Bogotá.

More from What's on

Rebecca Perry and Mona Arshi: Growing Pains

Date: 17/10/23
Speakers: Mona Arshi, Rebecca Perry

Black to the Future: Mami Wata Premiere and Q&A

Date: 19/11/23
Speakers: C.J. ‘Fiery’ Obasi

Sally Hayden and Ricardo Nuila: Stories of Social (In)Justice

Date: 3/10/23
Speakers: Sally Hayden, Ricardo Nuila

Become a Member

Our Members are champions of literature. Their support makes our engagement work in schools and prisons possible and they enable us to celebrate literature in all its wonderful diversity. As a thank you, we give them all the joys of a literary festival and book club rolled into one, all year round.