Francisco Ignacio Taibo II, a.k.a. Paco Ignacio Taibo II or PIT II, is a Mexican mystery writer. His most well-known character is named Hector Belascoarán Shayne. This eccentric character apparently attracts many little flying metal objects. He also has a huge distaste for any kind of authority. I have not read any of PIT II’s books yet, but Shayne sounds like my kind of character.
PIT II was actually born in Gijón, Spain, in the Asturias region. Both sets of grandparents were socialists and did their parts in the Spanish Civil War to thwart Franco. His family moved to Mexico in 1958 to flee the Franco dictatorship. Later in Mexico, PIT II was a participant in the student rebellions in the 1960s. PIT II has also written some well-received non-fiction books. One of his latest works was written about Pancho Villa and was published by Planeta. Another popular book by PIT II is Guevara, Also Known as Che, where he used excerpts from Che’s diaries.
When not writing books, PIT II teaches history at the Metropolitan University of Mexico City. He also is a past president and one of the founders of the International Association of Crime Writers. He spends 3 months each year in his hometown in Spain running a 10-day crime fiction and film festival entitled Semana Negra.
Following is a translated version of an interview question, just to give you an idea of what PIT II is all about:
What is the role of literature today?
A good novel last longer than an orgasm, longer than a long film, and has the power to make you see the world through the eyes of another, provide in-depth information about a subject, explores the human landscape and stimulates the imagination; it is perhaps the most subversive cultural event that exists today. In societies as complacent as ours, literature is perhaps the only place that still produces utopian thinking.
I was happy to learn that PIT II is the editor of Mexico City Noir, published by Akashic Books in 2010.