Shakespeare and Company

Superstar Poets and (Step)Fatherhood in Chile, with Alejandro Zambra

Listen on

Episode notes

Superstar Poets and (Step)Fatherhood in Chile, with Alejandro Zambra

What is a Chilean Poet? According to Pru, one of the characters in Alejandro Zambra’s latest novel, ‘Being a Chilean poet is like being a Peruvian chef or a Brazilian soccer player or a Venezuelan model.’ That’s to say they are famous, respected and wealthy…or at least, some of them are. But what makes a Chilean poet? That’s a little harder to pin down, and in a way it’s this question that bugs not only the writer of this extraordinary and charming novel, but also several of its characters—Gonzalo and his step-son Vicente chief among them. Chilean Poet is a tender and moving depiction of a country, an art-form, and a family. It’s deeply insightful on the subjects of parenthood, class and failure, and it’s also got some of the most brilliantly written, and staggeringly awkward, examples of lovemaking—both adolescent and middle-aged—we’ve ever had the squiriming pleasure to read.

Buy Chilean Poet here:



Looking for Friends of Shakespeare and Company read Ulysses?

If you want to spend even more time at Shakespeare and Company, you can now subscribe for regular bonus episodes and early access to Friends of Shakespeare and Company read Ulysses.

Subscribe on Patreon here:

Subscribe on Apple Podcasts here:

All money raised goes to supporting “Friends of Shakespeare and Company” the bookshop’s non-profit, created to fund our noncommercial activities—from the upstairs reading library, to the writers-in-residence program, to our charitable collaborations, and our free events.


Alejandro Zambra was born in Santiago, Chile in 1975. He is the author of two books of poems, Bahía Inútil and Mudanza; a collection of essays, No leer; and three novels, Bonsái, which was awarded a Chilean Critics Award for best novel, The Private Lives of Trees, and Ways of Going Home, which was awarded the Altazor Prize, selected by The National Book Council as the best Chilean novel published during 2012, and won an English Pen Award. He was selected as one of Granta‘s Best of Young Spanish-Language Novelists and was elected to the Bogotá39 list.

Adam Biles is Literary Director at Shakespeare and Company. Buy a signed copy of his novel FEEDING TIME here:

Listen to Alex Freiman’s Play It Gentle here:


Get bonus content on Patreon

See for privacy and opt-out information.