Madrid, España, 1963

Belén Gopegui is a landmark author in narrative of the last twenty years. She holds a law degree from the Autonomous University of Madrid, but soon abandoned the idea of becoming a lawyer to embark on a literary career, writing for various publications. She published her first novel, La escala de los mapas, in 1993. It was met with great acclaim from critics and the general public alike. Her prose is characterised by a careful choice of language and uncompromising view of the world we live in, which often appeals to readers to take a second look at where they are and their commitment to the society they live in. Belén Gopegui has written novels, plays and young adult fiction. Some of her books have been adapted for the big screen.

  • “Belén Gopegui makes consummate use of the novel as an instrument of political inquiry, reflection and interpellation, in the broadest sense.” Ignacio Echevarría
  • “Belén Gopegui is my bunker.” María Unanue, Pikara Magazine
  • “To break the barriers between the individual and the collective, the private and the public. That’s one of the narrative projects pursued by Belén Gopegui.” Rafael Conte


Una carta de amor a una madre, a una hermana y a todas esas mujeres anónimas cuyos logros no ven la luz.

Este ensayo es fruto de una conferencia impartida por Belén Gopegui en Madrid, en el marco del ciclo de pensamiento: Ni ellas musas ni ellos genios (2019). En él, la autora se nutre de la memoria oral y familiar para reflexionar sobre la vida y destino de sus padres: Luis Ruiz de Gopegui, un reputado astrofísico de la NASA, y Margarita Durán, una brillante mujer en la sombra que desde muy joven tuvo que cuidar de una hija con parálisis cerebral.

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An intergenerational novel that dissects human relationships and criticizes social inequality and technological dehumanization. 

Two generations, two lives that were not called to meet, will intimidate Google

This novel is the story of Mateo and Olga, as well as a job application with Google as the recipient. Mateo is twenty-two, interested in robots, and obsessed with discovering whether or not merit could be used to measure the world of human relationships. Olga is a mathematician and entrepreneur in the area of forecasting and decision making using statistical models. Like the killer and the victim in detective novels, the two meet in a library, and the magical objects that bring them together are books about robotics. This could be a love story in the sense that encounters, dialog, and the desire to hear the other person’s voice create a common narrative. And because, as in love stories, their coming together is also a clash between two different ways of being and understanding the world.

Mateo has his entire life ahead of him, and refuses to accept that that life cannot be written from a position of freedom. Olga, who is far past her halfway point, is not afraid to relegate herself to the bottom of a drawer. They are united by the same will to understand and feel what happens when a machine realises it’s a machine, when a robot realises it’s a robot.

The story of an encounter, two bodies, two intelligences. A young Dante and a Beatrice who is almost old travel through a space that is not Heaven, but not Hell either.

In the author’s hands, what first unfolds before our eyes like a social novel, a book full of keys to understanding this complicated present of ours, becomes pages of exhilarating lyrical intensity, as well as an agonizing thriler.” Culturamas

“Belén Gopegui makes consummate use of the novel as an instrument of political inquiry, reflection and interpelation, in the broadest sense.” Ignacio Echevarría

"Lo que nos propone Belén Gopegui es una vuelta de tuerca: no ya el individuo que lucha contra el robot sino el robot que lucha contra la deshumanización de los humanos. Esta paradoja tiene más alcance del que parece porque la novela insinúa asimismo la posibilidad de que Olga y Mateo no sean tan humanos como se creen." Iñaki Ezkerra, El Correo Español

'Como vivir sabiendo que Google sabe quien eres, qué harás y por qué quieres hacerlo' Reseña por Eduald Espluga, Play Ground Magazine, 6 sept 2017

'El poder de la novela es pequeño pero incontrolable', Reseña, El País, 20 sept 2017

'El poder de Google no es democrático', Reseña, Público, 20 sept 2017

'Cinco notas sobre Quédate este día y esta noche conmigo', por Gonzalo Torné, CXT, 17/10/2017

Alex, mother of one daughter, has lost her job and has no choice but to move back in with her parents. One night, after a demonstration ends in altercations, a woman approaches her and asks if she’s willing to do more than just protest. That’s how Alex joints the Organisation. Carla is lucky: she’s found a job, but like many others of her generation, the offer comes from abroad. Carla emigrates to Bratislava, where she goes to work for a company that produces medications derived from blood. Everything seems fine until one day her boss meets with her in a café, far from the lab, and asks her to participate in a sinister plan to privatise the sale of blood plasma. For Carla, it’s not just a choice between her ideals and interests. The life of the person she loves most is at stake, in exchange for the lives of thousands of innocent people. Like Alex, Carla must choose whether or not to fight for a better world. Once the decision is made, they have no choice but to go all the way.

Written with the agonizing pace of a thriller, Belén Gopegui’s new novel possesses that rare quality that profoundly moves readers by confronting them with the reality of their time.

“In the author’s hands, what first unfolds before our eyes like a social novel, a book full of keys to understanding this complicated present of ours, becomes pages of exhilarating lyrical intensity, as well as an agonizing thriller.” Culturamás 



A hacker manages to infiltrate the Vice President’s personal computer. The intruder does not reveal his identity; he only wants to chat with her and find out something very intimate, something that she probably hasn’t discovered herself yet. In exchange for such intimacy, he offers her confidential information relating to shady corporate dealings affecting the running of the presidential cabinet. A close but anonymous relationship arises between the two of them, highlighting the moral corruption of power and the need to renew one’s dreams when everything seems to be lost. An unusual political thriller that confronts the root of the crisis head-on, along with the lack of values and credibility of those who govern us.

Something happened to Martina on the 4th of December. Since then, she’s been seeking fury, attitude or anything else to stay true to her code. She’s sixteen and has nowhere to belong, but finds the beginnings of a story in rock & roll while Alice Cooper watches from the rooftops, when punk is a state of mind, and hurting oneself doesn’t mean admitting the people responsible for all this are right. Quite the contrary: it proves there are people who aren’t afraid to lose something in order to live.

“Belén Gopegui returns to fiction with a generational novel, Deseo de ser punk. And she does so by appealing to that evocative magnitude usually found in the best rock lyrics and melodies.” J. Ernesto Ayala-Dip, El País

“Outstanding psychological portrait of an adolescent girl, for which I find no comparison in our fiction of the past few decades.” Ricardo Senabre, El Mundo

Una profesora de filosofía en un instituto, casada y madre de tres hijos, envia una queja al supermercado porque el pedido no le fue entregado en el horario pactado y los congelados se estropearon. La consecuencia de esta protesta es el despido del repartidor, un hombre que irá a pedirle responsabilidades. El acto de «llevar las consecuencias de los problemas adonde se originan» trastocará la existencia de esta familia de clase media.

En el cuento tradicional, el padre de Blancanieves está en el castillo, asiste a las maquinaciones de la madrastra pero guarda silencio. ¿Por qué no advertimos que estaba ahí? ¿Existe la clase media o es una ficción hermosa y triste? ¿Puede el padre de Blancanieves llevar su ánimo a la altura de su espíritu?

 «Con esta novela Belén Gopegui alcanza su cota más ambiciosa.» Rafael Conte, El País

En el año 2003 Philip Hull, un diplomático estadounidense destinado en Madrid, se ve envuelto en un laberinto al aceptar ser el intermediario en un trato con agentes de la seguridad del Estado de Cuba. La aparición de Laura Bahía, joven agente española de origen cubano, le lleva a poner en duda su propio carácter escéptico, individualista, a veces generoso. La historia de amor entre ambos tiene su envés en la historia de las dificultades de la revolución cubana. El lado frío de la almohada pone en cuestión el conflicto entre el individuo y la colectividad.

«Buen ejemplo de lo que llamaríamos literatura social, con un desenlace polémico y atrevido.» Alejandro Gil Ramírez, Qué Leer

«Una complejidad digna de Graham Greene.» Francisco Umbral, El Mundo

Recounts the inevitable ascent of a senior executive at TVE, Spain’s national TV broadcaster, built on lies and pretence as engines of social climbing, a self-made avenger adept in the art of accumulating useful information. The story is narrated by a co-worker in decline accompanied by a chorus of salaried workers. The novel covers the final years of the Franco regime, the NATO referendum, the 14 December strike, and the structure of feelings in a corrupt social democracy lacking legitimacy.

“Belén Gopegui’s important career as a novelist becomes even more forceful.” Rafael Conte

“The best thing I read in Spanish in 2002 was Lo real.Sebastián Edwards, La Tercera, Chile

Carlos Maceda pide a sus dos mejores amigos, Santiago Álvarez y Marta Timoner, dinero para sufragar la crisis de su pequeña empresa de electrónica. Ellos aceptan dejárselo y, a partir de ese momento, las decisiones de sus vidas quedan a la intemperie, como si el acto de prestar y recibir dinero les hubiera dejado expuestos a la mirada de las personas próximas, maridos, novias, esposas, socios, empleados, amigos, expuestos a la mirada del narrador.

La novela fue llevada al cine en el año 2000 por Gerardo Herrero con el título Las razones de mis amigos.

Un conocido profesor de teatro embarca en un proyecto a cuatro de sus alumnos. Se trata de crear un espejo de carne y hueso. Los cuatro tienen la impresión de ser usurpadores, habitantes privilegiados de la ciudad; ninguno se atreve a merecer su futuro; los cuatro desean, cada uno a su modo, que el proyecto dé sentido a sus existencias individuales. Cuando, un día, el proyecto fracase, se verán obligados a afrontar la decisión de construir sus vidas.

Sergio Prim is a staid, middle-aged geographer. The romantic advances of Brezo Varela, a lively young woman who shares his profession, induce a series of terrifying hallucinations from which he attempts to seek refuge by immersing himself in the quest to map a place in which love never results in disillusionment. A lyrical examination of language, imagination, and desire.

"What is astonishing about this novel is the originality of its narrative strategies in harmony with the rhythm of its prose." Carmen Martín Gaite

"A fable of love-laid waste, an almost scientific story of the anguish of existence, a profoundly and deliberately distorted image of perverse reality, its space and time, a tragedy replete with tenderness and humor." ABC Literario



Short stories and novellas

Included in the anthology Cuentos de este siglo. 30 Narradoras españolas contemporáneas.

Books for children and young readers

Mariú acaba de encontrar un disco duro, una especie de cuaderno con candado que a lo mejor esconde un misterio, o una pista para investigar. Pero lo que encuentra es una teoría con cinco pasos para enfrentarse a las cosas importantes de la vida, que ha escrito alguien que no conoce, aunque le encantaría saber quién es. Pero antes tiene que resolver algo más importante: su mejor amiga, está enfadada con ella.

Mariú quiere encontrar la paciencia que ha perdido su madre, pero no sabe por dónde empezar. Junto con Lía, un hada, emprenderá una búsqueda más allá de los sueños. ¿Dónde buscar algo que es inmaterial? ¿A qué lugar van a parar las cosas que se pierden y son invisibles? Una maravillosa aventura en el mundo de los sueños.

Es mentira: no se ven las estrellas cuando te dan un balonazo, y lo importante no es participar, porque todo el mundo quiere ganar, y lo que pasa en los libros nunca ocurre en realidad. Por eso, Daniel está harto. Y quiere jugar bien al fútbol para ganar la final, y que por una vez los piratas sean los buenos y se salgan con la suya. Una novela que propone la reflexión sobre la verdad y la mentira, sobre lo justo y sobre el poder de la amistad.


These pages offer a wide sample of the articles, prologues and essays published by Belén Gopegui over the last two decades; also of her talks, conferences and public events. The volume builds a framework of ideas and behaviors in which the poetics of one of the most singular and outstanding voices of contemporary Hispanic narrative has been forged. Poetics that, according to Damián Tabarovsky follows a unique and own plan consisting not in conceiving literature as something political, nor narrative as a way to criticize power, but in the opposite: conceiving the novel as a counter-power, writing as counter-politics, and reflection as a form of insurgency.

Belén Gopegui is a novelist. Her works, meant to occupy a singular place in the history of literature, narrate the matter of dreams and not only the dreams about matter, the mechanisms that move personal and collective relationships, the feelings that we imagine, the thoughts that we feel, the time in which we live and the secrets of the double life.

“A work of extraordinary singularity, which has earned the attention and respect of a wide and significant range of readers immune to the confusion”. Ignacio Echevarría

A love letter to a mother, a sister, and all those anonymous women whose achievements never see the light of day.

This essay is the product of a lecture delivered by Belén Gopegui in Madrid, as part of the series Women Aren’t Muses, and Men Aren’t Geniuses Either (2019). In it, the author draws on oral and family memory to reflect on the life and fate of her parents: Luis Ruiz de Gopegui, a reputable NASA astrophysicist, and Margarita Durán, a brilliant woman in the shadow who began caring for a daughter with cerebral palsy from a very young age.

However, this reflection that begins with a family tragedy soon evolves into a territory of hope and of “what is possible”. Always brilliant in her political reflections, and as a tribute to her mother, Gopegui ends up giving centre stage to millions of invisible women. Ella pisó la luna (Ellas pisaron la luna) (She Walked on the Moon, They Walked on the Moon) is a moving story that portrays struggle and sacrifice as a gesture of freedom in the face of arbitrary chance and fate. As a political gesture, it grabs us by the collar and says “Talk to your mothers!”

"To break the barriers between the individual and the collective, the private and the public. That’s one of the narrative projects pursued by Belén Gopegui." Rafael Conte

La autora fue invitada a impartir una conferencia, en septiembre del año 2006, en la Universidad de California, dentro de un ciclo de charlas internacionales que abordaban temas relacionados con la política y la literatura. Este libro recoge el texto de la conferencia que la autora española ofreció, con el añadido final de unas cuantas preguntas que se formularon al término del acontecimiento.


  • 1993 - Premio Tigre Juan for La escala de los mapas
  • 1994 - Premio Iberoamericano de Primeras Novelas Santiago del Nuevo Extremo for La escala de los mapas
  • 2009 - Premio Dulce Chacón de Narrativa Española for Deseo de ser punk