Laura Restrepo


Laura Restrepo (2013). Photo by Guillermo Ramos Flamerich (Wikimedia Commons)

Laura Restrepo was born in the Colombian capital of Bogotá in 1950. At the tail-end of a middle-class upbringing in an intellectual milieu, and on the threshold of a promising academic career, Restrepo left Colombia to join the Partido Socialista Obrero Español in Spain in the aftermath of Franco’s reign, having become involved in militant social activism while still a student. From Spain, Restrepo went to Argentina where she joined clandestine resistance movements opposed to the military dictatorship, before returning to Colombia in the early 1980s and becoming a political journalist. In 1983, she was invited by the Colombian government to take part in pioneering peace negotiations – the first time that the government had entered into negotiations with left-wing guerrilla movements as an alternative to violent confrontation. This involvement would have an immense impact, leading to her life being endangered and her consequent exile to Mexico, where she would remain for six years. Significantly, it was also her departure into exile that instigated the publication of her first book, Historia de una traición, later retitled Historia de un entusiasmo in a 2nd edition. Restrepo has since lived between Colombia and Mexico, and currently lives in Mexico.

The multi-faceted nature of Restrepo’s transnational mobility – which includes taking part in organised international militant activism, political exile, and nomadic mobility in the present – is also reflected in the heterogeneous nature of her corpus. Restrepo’s writing has been consistently political, and her representation of contemporary Colombian history (and sometimes Mexican and Argentine history) consistently transgresses conventional generic boundaries between fact and fiction, both of which she treats as equally viable channels for the transmission of history and the expression of the lived experience of historical events. Based on verifiable historical fact, Restrepo’s texts are the product of research in historical archives, interviews with the agents of contemporary history, and fictional embellishment. Read in light of her militant and journalistic background, they suggest that modifying the conventions of representation and authorial perspective can have a real impact on the way that history is understood and transmitted. Her writing offers a vision of a specific reality which questions who and what is deemed an appropriate object of representation, as well as redefining the conventions of the representation and recording of history.

Compiled by Kate Averis (Paris)



La isla de la pasión (Bogotá: Norma, 1989)

Leopardo al sol (Bogotá: Planeta, 1993)

Dulce compañía (Bogotá: Norma, 1995)

La novia oscura (Bogotá: Alfaguara 1999)

La multitud errante (Bogotá: Planeta, 2001)

Olor a rosas invisibles (Buenos Aires: Suramericana, 2002)

Delirio (Bogotá/Madrid: Alfaguara, 2004)

Demasiados héroes (Bogotá: Alfaguara, 2009)

Hot sur (Barcelona: Planeta, 2012)

Pecado ((Bogotá: Alfaguara, 2016)


‘Niveles de realidad en la literatura de la violencia colombiana’, in Once ensayos sobre la violencia, ed. Martha Cárdenas (Bogotá: Centro Gaitán/Fondo Editorial CEREC, 1985, pp. 117-69)

En qué momento se jodió Medellín, ed. Juan Gómez Martínez (Bogotá: Oveja Negra, 1991)

Del amor y del fuego, ed. Roberto Burgos Cantor et al (Bogotá: Tercer mundo, 1991)

Otros niños: testimonios de la infancia colombiana, ed. Azriel Bibliowicz (Bogotá: El Ancora, 1993)

‘La puta y el poeta: Crónica de una relación fecunda’ (Lateral: Revista de Cultura 6.67-68, 2000, pp. 10-11)

Children’s Books

Las vacas comen espaguetis (Bogotá: Carlos Valencia, 1989)


Historia de una traición (Madrid: IEPALA [1st edn.], 1986)

Historia de un entusiasmo (Bogotá: Norma [2nd edn. of above text], 1998)

Operación príncipe [with Miguel Bonasso and Roberto Bardini] (Buenos Aires and Mexico: Planeta, 1988)

English Translations of Restrepo's Work

Leopard in the Sun [Translated by Stephen A. Lytle] (New York: Crown, 1999)

The Angel of Galilea [Translated by Dolores M. Koch] (New York: Crown, 1998)

The Dark Bride [Translated by Stephen A. Lytle] (New York: HarperCollins, 2001)

A Tale of the Dispossessed [Translated by Dolores M. Koch] (New York: HarperCollins, 2003)

Isle of Passion [Translated by Dolores M. Koch] (New York: HarperCollins, 2005)

Delirium [Translated by Natasha Wimmer] (New York: Nan A. Talese & Doubleday/London: Harvill Secker, 2007)

Olor a rosas invisibles/The Scent of Invisible Roses [Translated by Stephen A. Lytle] (Doral, FL: Alfaguara, [Bilingual Spanish/English edn.], 2008)

No Place for Heroes [Translated by Ernest Mestre-Reed] (New York: Nan A. Talese & Doubleday, 2010)

Compiled by Kate Averis (Paris)



André, María Claudia: ‘Deseo, represión y locura en Delirio de Laura Restrepo’ in La mujer en la literatura del mundo hispánico ed. by Juana Alcira Arancibia and Rosa Tezanos-Pinto (Westminster, CA: Instituto Literario y Cultural Hispánico, 2009, pp. 255-270)

Akrabova, Maria G.: ‘The Outsider as Catalyst: Marginality, Truth, and Violence in Three Novels by Laura Restrepo’ in The Image of the Outsider II ed. by Will Wright and Steven Kaplan (Pueblo, CO: Society for the Interdisciplinary Study of Social Imagery, Colorado State University-Pueblo, 2008, pp. 189-193)

Arboleda, Carlos Arturo, ‘Lenguaje e identidad en La novia oscura de Laura Restrepo’ (Cuadernos de Aldeeu 17.1, 2001, pp. 193-200)

Averis, Kate: ‘Thinking of Home: Malika Mokeddem’s L’Interdite and Laura Restrepo’s Dulce compañía’ in Exile and Nomadism in French and Hispanic Women’s Writing (Oxford: Legenda, 2014, pp. 98-129) 

—:  ‘Laura Restrepo’ in The Contemporary Spanish American Novel: Bolaño and After ed. by Will H. Corral, Nicholas Birns and Juan E. De Castro (New York: Bloomsbury, 2013, pp. 252-257)

—: ‘Writing Displacement, Demythologizing Violence: Discourses of Violence in Contemporary Colombia and Laura Restrepo’s La multitude errante’ (Romance Studies, 33.3-4, July-November 2015 [Special issue: Early Career Scholarship, pp. 297-308])

Boldy, Steven: ‘Political Violence Revisited: Intellectual and Family in Five Latin American Novels, 2006-2009’ (Forum for Modern Language Studies, 48.3, 2012, pp. 336-50)

Camero, Clara: ‘Humor, mito y parodia en Dulce compañía de Laura Restrepo’ (Revista de Estudios Colombianos 25-26, 2003, pp. 81-90)

Cardona López, José: ‘Literatura y narcotráfico: Laura Restrepo, Fernando Vallejo, Darío Jaramillo Agudelo’ in Literatura y cultura: narrativa colobiana del siglo XX, Vol. II: ‘Disseminación, cambios, desplazamientos’ ed. by María Mercedes Jaramillo et al. (Bogotá: Ministerio de Cultura, 2000, pp. 378-406)

Carvalho, Susan E.: ‘In the Commercial Pipelines: Restrepo’s La novia oscura’ in Contemporary Spanish American Novels by Women: Mapping the Narrative (Woodbridge, Suffolk/ Rochester, NY: Tamesis, 2007, pp. 42-74)

Constanza Pérez, María: ‘En el margen: Espacios rizomáticos de los anonadados en Dulce compañía de Laura Restrepo’ (Revista de Estudios Colombianos 25-26, 2003, pp. 73-80)

Díaz-Ortiz, Oscar A.: ‘Laura Restrepo: Hacia un cambio emancipador de la mujer latinoamericana’ (Alba de América: Revista Literaria 26.49-50, 2007, pp. 125-138)

Diaz Zambrana, Rosana: ‘Los territorios liminales en La multitud errante de Laura Restrepo’ (Hispanic Journal, 28.2, 2007, pp. 121-32)

—: : ‘Discursos de transgresión en Dulce compañía de Laura Restrepo’ in La mujer en la literatura del mundo hispánico ed. by Juana Alcira Arancibia and Rosa Tezanos-Pinto (Westminster, CA: Instituto Literario y Cultural Hispánico, 2009, pp. 161-175)

Fahey, Felicia Lynne: ‘Spiritual Core in Laura Restrepo’s Dulce compañía’ in The Will to Heal: Psychological Recovery in the Novels of Latina Writers (Albuquerque, NM: University of New Mexico Press, 2007, pp. 119-48)

Fuentes, Bibiana: ‘Psychotic Determination in Delirio by Laura Restrepo’ (Revista de Estudios Colombianos 46, 2015, pp. 25-32)

García Serrano and Victoria, Ma: ‘Los escenarios de la violencia en Delirio de Laura Restrepo: El hogar y la nación’ (Nueva Literatura Hispánica 8-9, 2004-2005, pp. 297-311)

Goldberg, Paul L. and Shuru, Xochitl E.: ‘The Intrusion of Memory: Madness and the Allegory of the Dysfunctional State in Laura Restrepo’s Delirio’ (Crítica Hispánica 34.2, 2012, pp. 63-77)

Herrera, Adriana: ‘Chapters in the Life of Laura Restrepo’ (Americas, 59:6, 2007, pp. 14-19)

Hughes Davies, Lloyd: ‘Imperfect Portraits of a Postcolonial Heroine: Laura Restrepo’s La novia oscura (The Modern Language Review, 102.4, 2007, pp. 1035-52)

Lindsay, Claire: ‘“Clear and Present Danger”: Trauma, Memory and Laura Restrepo’s La novia oscura’ (Hispanic Research Journal, 4:1, 2003, pp. 41-58)

Lirot, Julie: ‘La mujer incorpórea en La novia oscura, La multitud errante, y Delirio de Laura Restrepo’ in Ensayos sin frontera: Estudios sobre literatura hispanoamericana ed. by Carlos Aguasaco et al. (New York: Sin Frontera, 2005, pp. 58-73)

Martin, Deborah: ‘Mothers and Nomadic Subjects: Configurations of Identity and Desire in Laura Restrepo’s La novia oscura(Modern Language Review, 103.1, 2008, pp. 113-28)

 —: Painting, Literature, and Film in Colombian Feminine Culture, 1940-2005: Of Border Guards, Nomads and Women (Woodbridge, Suffolk/Rochester, NY: Tamesis, 2012)

Martínez, Ezequiel Mario: ‘Laura Restrepo: Los latinoamericanos hemos pretendido novelar nuestra historia con personajes de corte épico’ (Cuadernos hispanoamericanos, 715, 2010, pp. 99-105)

Mejia, Gustavo: ‘Historia e historias en La novia oscura de Laura Restrepo’ (Casa de las Americas, 235, 2004, pp. 137-44)

 —: ‘Fragmentación del discurso histórico: individuo y multitud en La multitud errante de Laura Restrepo’ (Revista de crítica literaria latinoamericana, 30.59, 2004, pp. 297-304)

Melis, Daniela: ‘Creation and (Re)presentation of Historical Discourse in Isle of Passion by Laura Restrepo’ (Studies in Twentieth and Twenty-First Century Literature, 35.2, 2011, pp. 250-67)

Mutis, Ana María and Davis, Pablo J.: ‘The Death of the River and the River of Death: the Magdalena River in El amor en los tiempos del cólera and La novia oscura’ (Hispanic Issues On Line 12, 2013, pp. 145-162)

Ordónez, Montserrat: ‘Angeles y prostitutas: dos novelas de Laura Restrepo’ in Celebración de la creación literaria de escritoras hispanas en las Américas ed. by Lady Rojas-Trempe and Catharina Vallejo (Ottawa: Girol, 2000, pp. 93-101)

Pastor, Brigida M. and Davies, Lloyd Hughes: A Companion to Latin American Women Writers (Woodbridge, Suffolk/Rochester, NY: Tamesis, 2012)

Plancarte Martínez, María Rita: Ecrituras femeninas: estudios de poética narrativa hispanoamericana (Madrid: Pliegos, 2008)

Polit Dueñas, Gabriela: ‘Sicarios, delirantes y los efectos del narcotráfico en la literatura colombiana’ (Hispanic Review, 74:2, 2006, pp. 119-142)

Rueda, María Helena: ‘Escrituras de desplazamiento: Los sentidos del desarraigo en la narrativa colombiana reciente’ (Revista Iberoamericana,  70.207, 2004, pp. 391-408)

Sánchez-Blake, Elvira and Lirot, Julie [eds], El universo literario de Laura Restrepo, (Bogotá: Alfaguara, 2007)

Sánchez-Blake, Elvira and Kanost, Laura: A Poetics of Madness: Laura Restrepo's Delirio’ in Latin American Women and the Literature of Madness: Narratives at the Crossroads of Gender, Politics and the Mind (Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2015, pp. 102-121)

Serna, Juan Antonio: ‘La hibridación del humor lúdico y de la ironía como mecanismos de liberación y de crítica en Delirio de Laura Restrepo’ (Revista de Estudios Colombianos 31, 2007, pp. 43-50)

Silva, Yamile: ‘Narrar la violencia con voz femenina: Elisa Mujica, Albalucía Ángel y Laura Restrepo’ (Estudios de Literatura Colombiana 21, 2007, pp. 57-72)

Valencia Ortiz, Ida: ‘Delirio, una opción para la autonomía’ (Poligramas 27, 2007, pp. 1-15)

Vergara, Isabel R.: ‘La novia oscura o la historia en combustión’ (Inti: Revista de Literatura Hispánica 63-64, 2006, pp. 21-38)

Villa, Andrea: ‘Nivaria Tejera y Laura Restrepo: Un nuevo espacio discursivo en la transfiguración de realidades estáticas a realidades re-imaginadas’ (Revista Surco Sur de Arte y Literatura 3, 2011, pp. 69-75)

Compiled by Kate Averis (Paris)



Manrique, Jaime: ‘Entrevista con Laura Restrepo’ in El universo literario de Laura Restrepo ed. by Elvira Sánchez-Blake and Julie Lirot (Bogota: Alfaguara, 2007, pp. 353-67)

Martínez, Ezequiel Mario: ‘Entrevista con Laura Restrepo’ (Cuandernos hispanoamericanos, 715, 2010, p. 99)

Melis, Daniela: ‘Entrevista con Laura Restrepo’ (Chasqui: Revista de Literatura Latinoamericana, 34:1, May 2005, pp. 114-29)

Moyers, Bill: ‘Interview with Laura Restrepo’ (Public Broadcasting Service); available online at

Quiceno, Laura: ‘Laura Restrepo se “confiesa” con Radio Nacional de Colombia’ (2016), available online at

‘Asi nacen las historias de: Laura Restrepo’, Memoria cultural: Arte y Literatura Hispana en los Estados Unidos (n.d.), available online at

Compiled by Kate Averis (Paris)