Fernando Vallejo
Fernando Vallejo.jpg
Born (1942-10-24) October 24, 1942 (age 79)
Medellín, Antioquia
Occupationnovelist, film director, screenwriter, biographer and biologist
NationalityMexico, Colombian
Genrebiography, essay, novel
Notable worksEl desbarrancadero, La Virgen de los sicarios

Fernando Vallejo Rendón (born 1942 in Medellín, Colombia) is a Colombian-born novelist, filmmaker and essayist. He obtained Mexican nationality in 2007.


Vallejo was born and raised in Medellín, though he left his hometown early in life. He started studies in Philosophy at Universidad Nacional de Colombia in Bogotá, but after one year he abandoned the Faculty of Philosophy and Letters. Soon after he began new studies on biology at the Universidad Javeriana in Bogotá, which he finished. Then he spent one year in Italy at the film academy Cinecittà, where he obtained basic notions on cinema.

Vallejo then returned to Colombia with the project of filmmaking. Yet after difficulties with the Colombian Government in producing and, after he produced it, in presenting his first film (it was censored), he decided to leave his country.[citation needed]

In Mexico he produced and distributed three films about the violence in Colombia. He also wrote an award-winning children's theater script, "El reino misterioso o Tomás y las abejas." He has been living in Mexico since 1971, where he not only produced his cinematographic pieces, but also the whole of his literary work. Despite time spent in other locales, mainly Europe and the United States, most of his novels take place in Colombia. Some of his themes are grammar, biology, philosophy, physics, violence, pederasty, adolescence, drugs, death and politics, mostly related to places such as Antioquia and Medellín; yet his main theme is his life. His books are written in first person, in an autobiographical style, although he manipulates the conventions of autobiography such that the line between autobiography and fiction becomes significantly blurred.[1]

His best-known novel, La virgen de los sicarios, has been translated into English as Our Lady of the Assassins. It deals with his fictionalized return to Medellín, and his relationships with two teenagers caught in the local cycle of violence. The autobiographical/fiction La virgen de los sicarios was made into a full feature film in 2000 and released in the United States as Our Lady of the Assassins.

In 2003, Colombian filmmaker Luis Ospina made a feature-length documentary about him: "La desazón suprema: retrato incesante de Fernando Vallejo ("The Supreme Uneasiness: Incessant Portrait of Fernando Vallejo").

In April 2007, Vallejo obtained Mexican citizenship and published a letter in which he publicly renounced his Colombian nationality. The letter presents the reasons for his decision by mentioning several incidents during his career, among them the recent reelection of President Álvaro Uribe, that eventually led him to this decision.[2]

Vallejo is openly gay and lives with his partner, scenographist David Antón. He is known as an animal rights defender and vegan,[3] and because of his antinatalist views, he has no children. He is an atheist and fiercely critical of religion.[4]

Selected works

He received the Rómulo Gallegos Prize in 2003, one of the most prestigious prizes for Literature in the Spanish language for El desbarrancadero and, protesting the political climate in Venezuela, donated the cash from the award to Caracas's dogs. Acceptance speech at the Rómulo Gallegos prize, in Spanish: [1]


"La sinceridad puede ser demoledora" Ciberletras, 13. Lehman University. [2]

See also


  1. ^ See O’Bryen, Rory Literature, Testimony and Cinema in Contemporary Colombian Culture: Spectres of La Violencia (Woodbridge: Boydell and Brewer, 2008), pp. 43-76
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2007-06-11. Retrieved 2007-05-10.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ Cruz, Juan (June 18, 2006), "Un heterodoxo extraordinario", El País (in Spanish)
  4. ^ "Colombianos y famosos, ¿pero ateos?". 27 March 2013. Retrieved 4 December 2018.