Cuban Novelist to Present UA Lecture on Mario Conde Character

Leonardo Padura
Leonardo Padura

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Leonardo Padura, an award-winning Cuban novelist, screenwriter and journalist, will present “The Birth of Mario Conde (Divine Breath: The Creation of a Character)” at 4:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 21, in room 30 of ten Hoor Hall on The University of Alabama campus. The lecture, sponsored by the Center for Cuba Collaboration and Scholarship, is free and open to the public.

Padura also will sign copies of two of his books, “Adios Hemingway” and “The Man Who Loved Dogs,” after the lecture. An informal chat with Padura will be at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 20, in room 203 of B.B. Comer Hall.

In his talk, Padura will discuss how he created  Mario Conde, the detective who appears in his series “The Four Seasons” as well as other novels. Padura will analyze how Mario Conde came to be, probing the cultural, historical and political trajectory of Cuba from 1959 to 2015.

He will also discuss autobiographical connections between himself and Conde, a character filled with doubts, criticism and questions about what is transpiring in Cuba. He will describe how his works evolved from detective novels to social novels as he attempts to explain and accept the uncertainties and fears faced by his generation in Cuba.

Padura received the 2015 Princess of Asturias Prize for Literature and previously won Cuba’s National Prize of Literature.

His most recent works include “The Novel of My Life,” “The Man Who Loved Dogs” and “Heretics.” His novels have been translated into 10 languages, and two — “The Novel of My Life” and “Havana Gold” —  have been made into movies.

The Center for Cuba Collaboration and Scholarship builds on the activities of the 13-year Alabama-Cuba Initiative. The center provides opportunities for academic exchanges between UA faculty and students and institutions and programs in Cuba. Both the center and the initiative efforts have been led by UA’s College of Arts and Sciences.

UA’s College of Arts and Sciences is the University’s largest division and the largest liberal arts college in the state. Students from the College have won numerous national awards including Rhodes , Goldwater and Truman scholarships.


Courtney Corbridge, communications specialist, 205/348-8539,


Dr. Mike Schnepf, co-director, Center for Cuba Collaboration and Scholarship,