An Anatomy of Writing and Politics, Memory and Democracy

Co-presented with the Sydney Democracy Initiative University of Sydney, and the Instituto Cervantes in Sydney

29 February, 2012
Javier Cercas


Javier Cercas is Spain’s most celebrated contemporary writer. He was born in Ibahernando, in central Spain, in 1962. Fascinated from a young age by the works of Jorge Luis Borges and determined to become a writer, Cercas studied Spanish literature at the Autonomous University of Barcelona. His haunting novel Soldiers of Salamis (2004) became a great success. Digging into the painful history of Spain's Civil War through the gripping, death-defying story of fascist soldier Sanchez Mazas, Cercas uses irony, paradox and self-references to involve his readers in the creation of the novel, in this way encouraging them to ponder for themselves questions about the vital importance in a democracy of coming to terms with the past and the difficulty of deciding what is true, what is false and what cannot be remembered.

For his Sydney Ideas event, Javier was in conversation with Professor John Keane, Professor of Politics at the University of Sydney and at the Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin (WZB). Professor Keane is the Director of the recently founded Sydney Democracy Initiative (SDI).

Javier Cercas

Javier Cercas is the author of nine books and many shorter texts and translations. His most recent work is The Anatomy of a Moment (2011), a controversial prize-winning account of the failed coup d’état in Spain in February 1981. Cercas is the recipient of many Spanish and international awards, including the Premio Salambó and the Premio Nacional de Narrativa in Spain, the International Foreign Fiction Prize in United Kingdom, the Grinzane Cavour in Italy and the Athens Prize for Literature in Greece. A regular contributor to the Catalan edition of El Pais, he lives in Barcelona.