Ian Barnett is from the Wirral. He lived in Oxford, Paris, London, Barcelona and Managua, before settling in Buenos Aires in 1991. Since then, he has translated many leading figures in River Plate literature, film and the humanities, including Carlos Gamerro, Rafael Spregelburd, Rodolfo Walsh, Leónidas Lamborghini and Damián Szifrón. For the Frankfurt Book Fair 2010, he was selected by the Argentinian Government to translate an anthology of authors disappeared during the Argentine dictatorship of 1976–1983. He lives and runs in San Isidro, north Buenos Aires, with his partner and two teenage children.

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