People - Interview with Ian Gibson - Part I

AUTHOR (1939 - Present)

Part I - Part II - Part III

Ian Gibson - AuthorInternationally renowned biographer and scholar of Spanish history, culture and literature, Ian Gibson is well settled in Spain where he has been based for many years. In possession of a Spanish passport since 1984, Mr Gibson is most certainly more at home in his adopted country than any other.

This eminent expert on Lorca, Dalí, Machado, Buñuel, the Spanish Civil war and so many other aspects of this countries fascinating history and culture, began his Spanish saga in a second hand bookshop in Ireland where he first met with Lorca’s work. He later set about investigating the famous figure’s death at the height of Franco’s dictatorship right smack in Granada, of all places. The result was a book that – hot off the press - was banned by the dictator.

Recently’s editor had the good fortune to catch up with Mr Ian Gibson to learn about his current projects, his latest book and his greatest Spanish fascinations.

AC: I’d like to start right now in the present – what are you working on right now?

The Shameful Life of Salvador DaliIG: I’m working on a biography of Luis Buñuel, the film director, Spain’s greatest film director, and I’m terribly excited about it because it’s going to take me to Mexico, New York and Paris. And being based in Madrid is tremendous because his archive is here, the National Film Theatre, so most of the papers are in Madrid, but then there’s a lot of stuff in Mexico where he made over 20 films.

AC: How long does it take to carry out a project like this?

IG: It takes years and years. This book has grown out of my previous work on Lorca and Dalí, so I have a firm basis on which to build this new book. It’s a whole lifetime. I’ve been on this for 40 years, 50 years almost. I’m celebrating my 50 year anniversary as a Hispanist this year actually. I first came to Spain in 1957.

AC: I understand that your first work was banned by Franco.

Federico Garcia Lorca: A LifeIG: That’s true my first book was an investigation into the assassination of Federíco García Lorca at the beginning of the Spanish Civil War in 1936. It was published in Paris. It couldn’t be published here. It was published by… a sort of exile publishing house, and it was banned by the Franco Regime.

AC: That’s quite a thing to have in your credentials.

IG: Yes, I’m rather pleased about that. It was a book that made a tremendous impact. It was perhaps the first monographic on the repression carried out by Franco’s people during the war and it was a very detailed account of the death of (Lorca), after all he’s Spain’s most famous poet, who was assassinated at the age of 38, before he had really done all the things he could have done. It was an absolute tragedy, which still lives with us.

Part I - Part II - Part III

Find links to works by Ian Gibson in the book store.