INTERPRETING THE WORLD: Notes on the Uses of Fiction “The duty and the task of a writer are those of an
interpreter”, writes Marcel Proust in the last volume of In Search of Lost Time. In these four lectures, Juan Gabriel
Vásquez will discuss how that interpretation takes place and why it affords us an understanding of life that can’t be
found elsewhere. Fiction, he will argue, is uniquely able to translate the complexities of experience – our mysterious
lives, our relationship with the past, our political selves – into knowledge and illumination. These lectures will ask us to
redefine the uses of fiction, how we understand what it does, and why, in our present time, it is probably more
indispensable than ever.
Acclaimed novelist Juan Gabriel Vásquez’s books include the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award and bestseller
The Sound of Things Falling, and Man Booker International finalist, The Shape of the Ruins, as well as the award-
winning The Informers, The Secret History of Costaguana, Reputations, and Retrospective, and the short story
collections The All Saints’ Day Lovers and Songs for the Flames. He has translated works by Joseph Conrad and Victor
Hugo, amongst others, into Spanish. His work is published in thirty languages worldwide.