The Life & Works of Gabriela Bustelo

Gabriela Bustelo is a contemporary Spanish writer and translator who has worked in a number of genres so far, including novels, short stories and journalism. She forms part of the group of contemporary Spanish authors called Neorealists, which includes the likes of José Ángel Mañas, Juan Gracia and Lucía Etxebarria.

Gabriela Bustelo - Life

Gabriela Bustelo was born in Madrid in 1962 and has an interesting family and extended family. Her father is the politician Carlos Bustelo while her mother, Teresa Tortella, is a historian. Her parents met when they were children, studying in the Estudio School, associated with the Free Institution of Education. On her father's side, she is the niece of the second President of the Spanish democracy, Leopoldo Calvo-Sotelo; while on her mother's side, she is the grand-daughter of the editor, lawyer and founder of the publication 'Tecnos', Gabriel Tortella. This academic heritage must have had an impact on her decision to follow a career in literature.

Due to her father's job in the OCDE in Paris and the FMI in Washington DC, Gabriela Bustelo spent a large part of her childhood outside of Spain. She began her education in the Episcopalian school of Saint Patrick in Washington DC; she then continued to study in Madrid and at the CEU of San Pablo.

She obtained her degree in English Philosophy at the Complutense University in Madrid, before studying a masters in Business Management in the Business Institute which was rounded off with a course in the Centre for Economic and Business Studies. During her time studying for her degree, she began her career in translations, beginning with various novels. In 1987, she translated the two volumes of The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling. This work was followed by other Anglo-Saxon classics which she completed whilst also working on the translation of films and documentaries for the dubbing company, Tecnisón; a job that she would continue to do for many decades. Since then Bustelo has also worked with various publications including 'Anaya', 'Espasa-Calpe', 'Alfaguara', 'Taurus', 'Aguilar', and 'Siruela'.

After working in private industry since 1987 - among some of her jobs were editor and head of foreign rights at Salvat, script writer in audiovisual production at MQ Producciones, executive in the international department of Warner, editorial director of Encarta at Microsoft - Gabriela Bustelo eventually decided to dedicate her time to writing and translation.

In terms of her literary career, Gabriela Bustelo began with Veo Veo in 1996. Later in 2001, she published her work Planeta Hembra which dealt with the sectarianisms produced from the sexual revolution: a parody of the feminist fundamentalism. Her third novel, La historia de siempre jamás meanwhile, is a critique of the European elitists. If Veo Veo had been a novela negra about madness, and Planeta Hembra was a science-fiction novel about the crisis of love, then La historia de siempre jamás was a satirical work about lying in contemporary society. Since the publication of this third novel, Bustelo has cut down on her various collaborations with the press in order to finish her fourth novel.

Gabriela Bustelo - Works

Bustelo forms part of the Neorealist collection of contemporary Spanish writers, a style which is clearly influenced by the commercial culture of modern day society: advertising, pop music, cinema, television and new technologies.

Bustelo is also one of the few science-fiction writers from Spain, a style that can be particularly seen with her novel Planeta Hembra. Her works have often been classified as being part of a sub-genre in Spanish contemporary literature, as she often uses a formal structure in her writing to deal with the varied content.

Her translation works include a wide variety of English language works from some of the great authors including Rudyard Kipling, Mark Twain and Muriel Spark. It is thanks to Gabriela Bustelo that such classic works have made it into Spanish schools in Spain so that they can be enjoyed by students today.

Perhaps inspired by the set of nine short stories by Rudyard Kipling that she translated in the late 1980s, Bustelo has also written a few short stories as well. These include Una de estas noches and Toma del frasco, both of which have been published in Spanish editorials.

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