Ariel Dorfman

Ariel Dorfman

Walter Hines Page Distinguished 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 (Chile) 1965

Dorfman, A. Reader. Nick Hern Books, London, 1995.

Dorfman, A. Konfidenz. Farrar, Straus and giroux, 1995.

Dorfman, A. Death and the Maiden. Penguin, 1992.

Dorfman, A. Some Write To The Future. Duke University Press, 1991.

Dorfman, A. Hard Rain (novel). Readers International, 1991.

Dorfman, A. My House Is On Fire (stories). Viking-Penguin, 1990.

Dorfman, A. Mascara. Viking-Penguin, 1988.

Dorfman, A. Last Waltz in Santiago. Viking-Penguin, 1988.

Dorfman, A. The Last Song of Manuel Sendero. Viking, 1987.

Dorfman, A. Widows (novel). Pantheon Books, New York, 1983.


Dorfman, A. “Matta el travieso.” Pagina/12, Nov. 2011.

Dorfman, A. “Un purgatorio en busca de autor.” El Pais, Oct. 2011.

Dorfman, A. “How Harold Pinter's Kindness Saved My Play.” The Daily Telegraph, Oct. 2011.

Dorfman, A. “Death and the Maiden's Haunting Relevance.” London Guardian, Oct. 2011.

Dorfman, A. “Epitaph for another september 11.” Nation, vol. 293, no. 12, Sept. 2011, pp. 17–18.

Dorfman, Ariel. “Epitaph for Another September 11 Chile and the United States offer contrasting models of how to react to a collective trauma.” Nation, vol. 293, no. 12, NATION CO INC, Sept. 2011, pp. 17–18.

Dorfman, A. “My Lost Library.” Chronicle of Higher Education, Sept. 2011.

Dorfman, A. “The Other 9-11.” Granta, Sept. 2011.

Dorfman, A. “Losing Superman.” Los Angeles Times, May 2011.

Dorfman, A. “Ghosts of Chile.” Los Angeles Times, Mar. 2011.


Dorfman, A. Death and the Maiden. 2006.

Dorfman, A. “Stew.” Daedalus, edited by E. Ensler, no. Fall, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Press (MIT Press): Arts & Humanities Titles etc, 2006, pp. 105–07.

Dorfman, A. “Gringos.” Subtropics 1, 2006, pp. 119–27.

Rousuck, J. Wynn, and J. Wynn Dorfman A. “Playwright Dorfman puts a face on Torture.” Baltimore Sun, 2006.

Conan, Neil. “Picasso’s Closet.” Nprs Talk of the Nation, 2006.

Dorfman, A. Death and the Maiden. 2006.

Dorfman, A. “Speak Truth to Power: Voices from Beyond the Dark.” Ebenezer Baptist Church, 2005.

Dorfman, A. “The Other Side.” Manhattan Theatre Club, 2005.

Dorfman, A. “William Blake has Words from the Other Side of Death for Laura Bush.” The Liberal, edited by B. Ramm, vol. IV, The Liberal Publications Ltd, 2005, pp. 40–41.

Penkava, Melinda, and Melinda Dorfman A. “Ariel Dorfman speaks about Purgatorio.” Wunc the State of Things, 2005.