Tomás Eloy Martínez (July 16, 1934 – January 31, 2010) was an Argentine journalist and writer.
Life and work
Born in San Miguel de Tucumán, Martínez obtained a degree in Spanish and Latin American literature from the University of Tucumán, and an MA at the University of Paris. From 1957 to 1961 he was a film critic in Buenos Aires for the La Nación newspaper, and he then was editor in chief of the magazine Primera Plana between 1962 and 1969. From 1969 to 1970 he worked as a reporter in Paris. In 1969 Martínez interviewed former Argentine President Juan Domingo Perón, who was exiled in Madrid. These interviews were the basis for two of his more celebrated novels: La Novela de Perón (1985) and Santa Evita (1995). In 1970 he and many former writers of Primera Plana worked at the magazine Panorama, where Martínez was the director.
On 15 August 1972 he learned of the uprising of political prisoners in the jail at Rawson, Chubut Province. Panorama was the only publication in Buenos Aires that reported the correct story of the affair in Rawson, which differed significantly from the official version of the de facto Argentine government. On 22 August he was fired at the behest of the government, whereupon he went to Rawson and the neighboring city of Trelew where he reported the Massacre of Trelew in his book The Passion According to Trelew. The book was banned by the Argentine dictatorship.
For three years (1972-75) Martínez was in charge of the cultural supplement of La Nación, after which he lived in exile (1975-83) in Caracas, Venezuela, where he remained active as a journalist, co-founding the newspaper El Diario de Caracas. In his book The Memoirs of the General he recounts that he was threatened by the "Triple A", the Alianza Anticomunista Argentina, and on one occasion, gunmen held a pistol to the head of his three-year-old son because they were witnesses to a crime Martínez believed to be an operation led by the far-right paramilitary group. In 1991, he participated in the creation and launch of the daily newspaper Siglo 21 (November 8, 1991), owned by businessman Alfonso Dau and published by Jorge Zepeda Patterson. in Guadalajara, Mexico, which went for seven years, until December 1998. Also, he created the literary supplement Primer Plano for the newspaper Página/12 in Buenos Aires.
Martínez has also been a teacher and lecturer. He taught (1984-87) at the University of Maryland. In 1995, he took a position as distinguished professor of Spanish literature and director of the Latin American Studies program at Rutgers University, New Jersey. He wrote columns for La Nación and the New York Times syndicate, and his articles have appeared in many newspapers and journals in Latin America.
He has published a number of books, one of which, Santa Evita, has been translated into 32 languages and published in 50 countries. He was awarded the Guggenheim and Woodrow Wilson fellowships, and won the 2002 Premio Alfaguara de Novela for the novel Flight of the Queen. His works deal primarily (but not exclusively) with Argentina during and after the rule of Juan Domingo Perón and his wife, Eva Duarte de Perón (Evita).
Martínez died in Buenos Aires on 31 January 2010 after a long battle against a brain tumor.
An exhaustive list of his works may be found in The Other Reality -- Anthology with a prologue by Cristine Mattos, Buenos Aires, Fondo de Cultura Económica de Argentina, S.A.,2006.
- Sacred (1969)
- The Passion According to Trelew (1973, reissued in 1997)
- The Perón Novel (1985)
- La Mano del Amo (1991)
- The Hand of the Master (1991)
- Santa Evita (1995)
- The Memoirs of the General (1996)
- Common Place - Death (1998)
- The Argentine Dream (1999)
- True Fictions (2000)
- The Flight of the Queen (2002)
- Requiem for a Lost Country (2003)
- The Lives of the General (2004)
- The Tango Singer translated by Anne McLean (2004)
- Purgatory translated by Frank Wynne (2008)