Ariel Dorfman

Ariel Dorfman

Walter Hines Page Research Professor Emeritus of Literature

External address: 
1316 Campus Drive, 101 Friedl Building, Durham, NC 27708
Internal office address: 
Box 90670, 1316 Campus Drive, 101 Friedl, Durham, NC 27708-0670
(919) 684-6605

Walter Hines Page Research Professor of Literature and Latin American Studies; has a Licenciatura in Comparative Literature from the Universidad de Chile, Santiago, 1965. He has taught at the Universidad de Chile, the Sorbonne (Paris IV) and the University of Amsterdam. His major publications include the essays, How to Read Donald Duck (in collaboration with Armand Mattlelart, 1971), The Empire's Old Clothes (1983), and Someone Writes to the Future: Essays on Contemporary Latin American Fiction (1991). He is also the author of a collection of poetry, Last Waltz in Santiago and Other Poems of Exile and Disappearance (1988), and In Case of Fire in a Foreign Land: New and Collected Poems from Two Languages (2002), and the memoir, Heading South, Looking North: A Bilingual Journey (1998). His novels include Widows (1983), The Last Song of Manuel Sendero (1986), Mascara (1988), Hard Rain (1990), Konfidenz (1995), The Nanny and the Iceburg (1999), and Blake's Therapy (2001). His plays include Widows (which won a New American Plays Award from the Kennedy Center), and Reader (winner of the Roger L. Stevens Award from the Kennedy Center) which is in production world wide. Death and the Maiden, winner of many awards and also in production worldwide, was made into a Roman Polanski film. Mascara (with son, Rodrigo Dorfman), premiered in Bonn in 1998, and Who's Who (also with Rodrigo Dorfman) premiered in Frankfurt in 1998. He also has created a collection of his plays, The Resistance Trilogy, which includes Death and the Maiden, Reader, and Widows. His most recent non-fiction works include Exorcising Terror: The Incredible, Unending Trial of General Augusto Pinochet (2002), Other Septembers, Many Americas (2004), Desert Memories: Journeys through the Chilean North (2004), and he collaborated on the novel The Burning City, with his youngest son, Joaquin Dorfman. His latest plays include The Other Side and Purgatorio. A documentary feature film based on his life, "A Promise to the Dead: the Exile Journey of Ariel Dorfman," was directed by Peter Raymont in 2007 and shortlisted for an Academy Award for Best Documentary. He has recently begun to work with composers, writing the libretto (in verse) for an operatic version of Death and the Maiden (music by Jonas Forssell), which premiered at Malmo in September of 2008; and the book for Dancing Shadows (music by Eric Woolfson, lead singer and composer of the Alan Parsons Project), which opened in Seoul in July 2007 and went on to win five Korean Tonys. He is currently working on another opera, with the Scottish composer Nigel Osborne, based on a legend of the Upanishads. He has just completed Feeding on Dreams: Confessions of an Uurepentant Exile, the second volume of his memoirs, which will Houghton Mifflin Harcourt will publish in Fall 2011. Prof. Dorfman continues to write regularly for many of the most important newspapers and magazines in the US and abroad, and in 2010 delivered the 8th Annual Nelson Mandela Lecture in Johannesburg, South Africa.


  • Ph.D., University of Chile 1965

Selected Grants

Academic Eye II/Ariel Dorfman: The Bull in the Labyrinth of Spain and Chile - Witches, Dreams and Rites of Initiation awarded by Josiah Charles Trent Memorial Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2002

(97-0342) Hide and Seek Film awarded by Mary Duke Biddle Foundation (Principal Investigator). 1997

(95-0026) South to South: A Symposium on Translating the Literatures of Latin America and the Southern United States awarded by Josiah Charles Trent Memorial Foundation (Principal Investigator). 1994 to 1995

Dorfman, A. Allegro (Spanish). Barcelona: Stella Maris, 2015. (Fictional Work)

Dorfman, A. Death and the Maiden. October 13, 2011.

Dorfman, A. Feeding on Dreams: Confessions of an Unrepentant Exile. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, September 2011.

Dorfman, A. Heading South, Looking North. Picador Africa/Pan Macmillan, 2011.

Dorfman, A. Americanos: Los pasos de Murieta. Seix Barral, 2009.

Dorfman, A. Blake's Therapy (screenplay). 2008.

Dorfman, A, and Dorfman, J. Burning City. Random House Children’s Books, June 2005.


Dorfman, A. "A RADICAL FAITH The Assassination of Sister Maura." NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW 121.52 (December 25, 2016): 18-18.

Dorfman, A. "Destination: Chile, A Geography Gone Mad." Literary Guide to the World (2006).

Dorfman, A. "Taking the Cinematic view of Latin American Politics." San Francisco Chronicle (2006).

Dorfman, A. "My First Play." My First Play - An Anthology of Theatrical Beginnings. Ed. N Hern. Nick Hern Books, July 2013. 42-45.

Dorfman, A. "'No Ha Lugar' and 'Traduccíon Simultánea'." La Libertad no es un Sueño: Memoria Poética. Ed. R Silva-Caceres and E Mardones. EDITORIAL SIGNO LTDA, February 2013. 38-43.

Dorfman, A. "Una candela para Kerala." Delta de las Arenas: Cuentos Árabes, Cuentos Judíos. Ed. RMS compiladora. Literal Publishing, 2013. 95-102.

Allen, ADFP, and Dorfman A, . "afterword." Flowers in the Desert: The Search for Chile’s Disappeared. University Press of Florida, 2013. 120-125.

Dorfman, A. "'Despedida y amanecer' and 'Farewell and Dawn'." Write Against Impunity: Latin American Authors Commemorate Their Murdered Colleagues (English and Spanish version). Ed. T Mitchell and JS Tennant. Pen International, November 2012.

Dorfman, A. "In the Footsteps of Salvadore Allende: Chile and the Occupy Movement." The Occupy Handbook. Ed. J Byrne. Back Bay Books/Little Brown and Co., April 2012. 218-222. (Essay)

Dorfman, A, and Hitchens, C. "Foreword to the Twelve Edition." The Trial of Henry Kissinger. April 2012. ix-xiv. (Introduction)

Dorfman, A. "Out of the Dark: An Extract from the New Play." 40 Years of Index on Censorship. Ed. J Glanville. Arts Council of England, March 2012. 180-199. (Essay)

Herman, J, Morgan, R, Maria Rilke, R, Chopra, D, Evans, J, Sachs, N, Williams, TT, Darwish, M, Dorfman, A, Lorenz, HS, Zariab, S, and Aquinas St, T. "An unbearable heartache: Trauma, violence, and memory." Transforming Terror: Remembering the Soul of the World. June 2, 2011. 67-101.

Jentz, T, Ali, TM, Farley, M, Dorfman, A, Bernardi, C, and Meron, T. "Truth telling and justice." Transforming Terror: Remembering the Soul of the World. June 2, 2011. 173-212.


Dorfman, A. "Advice for Maduro." Nation 308.6 (March 11, 2019): 4-+.

Dorfman, A. "Finding julio gamboa." Antioch Review 75.4 (September 1, 2017): 567-573. (Review) Full Text

Dorfman, A. "Je suis José Carrasco." Index on Censorship 44.1 (January 1, 2015): 89-91. Full Text

Dorfman, A. "I am Jose Carrasco." INDEX ON CENSORSHIP 44.1 (2015): 89-91. Full Text

Dorfman, A. "The Rags of Time." LITERARY REVIEW 58.4 (2015): 149-162.

Dorfman, A. "Casting away." INDEX ON CENSORSHIP 43.3 (September 2014): 132-144. Full Text

Dorfman, A. "The Struggle for Chile’s Future." The Nation (December 2013). (Academic Article)

Dorfman, A. "Beyond the Legendary Mandela." Sunday Times in South Africa (December 2013): 1-2.


Allen, ADFP. "afterword." (2013): 120-125.

Dorfman, A. "It's a Small World." Boston Review 37.6 (December 2012): 32-49. (Short Story)

Ariel Dorfman, . "Honor Among Thieves." The Antioch Review 70.4 (2012): 659-659. Full Text

Dorfman, A. "The Last Copy." The Atlantic Monthly (August 2011). (Short Story)

Dorfman, A. "Asylum." Playboy (April 1, 2010): 56-57. (Short Story)

Dorfman, A. "El otro lado." (November 2009).

Dorfman, A. "Innocent Passage." (July 2009).

Dorfman, A. "Innocent Passage." Freedom Anthology (July 2009). (Short Story)

Dorfman, A. "Picasso’s Closet." The Nasher Museum of Art (2009).