On March 21st 2013, Michael Jacobs came to ‘Latin America in Bristol’ to give a book reading on his travels in 2011 along the Río Magdalena – a majestic river that carves through the heart of Colombia & is emblematic of the fascination & tragedy of South America. In his talk and book, he conveyed the intricacies of the river’s voices & history, describing exploration, memory, a chance meeting with Gabriel García Márquez, environmental decline & political violence.
I conducted a small and fun interview with him for this website (see ‘Radio Continente’ link) before he jumped on a train to London, flying out the following morning to his home amid olive-groves in Andalucia. Sadly, he passed away in January 2014.
Dr Matthew Brown of Bristol University’s Hispanic Department purchased a signed copy of his book, The robber of memories, that evening and since informed me of this tragedy saying, ‘Very sad, he was a lovely man, wonderful writer’. His death provoked a lot of commentary on his writing – mostly from Latin American people. Respectfully, the Spanish and Americas wing of the Hay literary festival is to launch a special bursary in Michael’s memory to fund travel writing in Latin America.
Full article by Ed Vulliamy here: