MEXICO CITY – Mexican author Juan Hernandez Luna, twice winner of the Dashiell Hammett crime-novel prize that is awarded in Gijon, Spain, has died of a kidney disease, the National Institute of Fine Arts, or INBA, said. He was 47.
Hernandez Luna, born in Mexico City on Aug. 19, 1962, was an “outstanding author of the noir genre,” the INBA communique said, noting that his books have been translated into French and Italian.
He won a number of awards, including the National Book of Short Stories prize in 1988, the Latin American Short Story prize in 1992, the National Science Fiction prize in 1995, and the Dashiell Hammett prize in 1997 and 2007 for the detective novels “Tabaco para el Puma” (Tobacco for the Puma) and “Cadaver de Ciudad” (City Corpse).
His published works include the biographies “Se Llamaba Emiliano” (He Was Called Emiliano) on the life of Mexican revolutionary Emiliano Zapata – written under the pen name Ivan Degollado – and “No Hay Virtud en el Servilismo” (There’s No Virtue in Servility) about the ideologue Ricardo Flores Magon.
Among his best-known novels are “Unico Territorio” (The Only Territory), “Naufragio” (Shipwreck), “Quizas Otros Labios” (Perhaps Other Lips), “Tijuana Dream”, “Yodo” (Iodine) and “Las Mentiras de la Luz” (Lies of the Light).
He was an enthusiastic promoter of literature and organized reading workshops for cops in the Mexican capital and the nearby city of Ciudad Nezahualcoyotl, programs that were well received by the tough law-enforcement agents of those crime-ridden areas.
“They are tough police chiefs, but that doesn’t mean they can’t have any sensitivity about literature,” Hernandez Luna said in 2007 when he was directing the program “Letras en Guardia” (Literature on Guard).