Virgilio Piñera (Cuba 1912-1979) was a prolific playwright, poet, novelist, essayist and short story writer. Famed for a sharp wit and an acid tongue, he was a polemicist who charted the extremes of human nature. Between 1946 and 1958 he lived mostly in Argentina returning to Havana just before the triumph of the Revolution. Although an enthusiastic supporter of the new Cuba, Piñera’s homosexuality and non-conformism led to his marginalisation during a well-documented period of recent Cuban history when homophobia and petty bureaucracy stifled creative freedom.
After Piñera’s death the process of posthumous rehabilitation began and his status in Cuba shifted from that of literary ghost to literary giant. The process of translating him to the outside world continues.