Ariel Dorfman

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Ariel Dorfman in 2009

Vladimiro Ariel Dorfman (born May 6, 1942) is an Argentine-Chilean-American novelist, playwright, essayist, academic, and human rights activist.


  • I think the genre decides for me—which sounds like a way of avoiding the question unless I explain first that this chameleon-like border crossing, this shifting of genre identities is, I realize, parallel to, or anticipates, or recollects my own life. I’m probably fluctuating across genres perhaps because my identity itself is always in flux…

Quotes about Ariel Dorfman[edit]

  • (Why do so many South American Jews write about oppression?) People like Timerman and Dorfman were part of generations that suffered terribly because of dictatorships. So they write about what happened to them and their countries, and have the courageous belief that an author should write about things as a witness.
  • when 9/11 was taking place in the U.S., few journalists, except people like Ariel Dorfman, few of them mentioned that there was another 9/11 that took place in Chile created by the terrorism that the United States government, in a way, was supporting through the CIA...Dorfman wrote a wonderful editorial in The New York Times, an op/ed about two or three days ago, and he said that Pinochet's dirty dealings with his money were found because through the Patriot Act they discovered that he had money in the Riggs Bank, and he became like a terrorist that stole $8 million, but he also says that it was the same secrecy that Pinochet governed that allowed him to steal the money. So secrecy is dangerous no matter how you look at it, and he was talking the secrecy of the Patriot Act.
  • My favorite definition of magic realism is by Ariel Dorfman, who said in an NPR interview about his play, Widows, "When people who have nothing demand everything, that’s real magic."

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