Carlos Ruiz Zafón: How to 'Play' a Novel. An Insight into his Books and Music

Carlos Ruiz Zafón: How to 'Play' a Novel. An Insight into his Books and Music

Carlos Ruiz Zafón will be joined by Washington Post journalist Manuel Roig-Franzia to talk about his passion for music, the use of this art in his writing, and his creative process.

To invoke the creative process when writing, the author of the literary universe of the Cemetery of the Forgotten Books also composes the soundtrack for most of his novels. In April 2014, a composition by Ruiz Zafón for piano and symphony orchestra based on the characters and motifs of The Shadow of the Wind and The Angel’s Game premiered at the Palau de la Música in Barcelona.

“When I write, I try to use the same elements a composer uses to create rhythms and counterpoints, in search of harmony to transport the reader to a special atmosphere and emotional impact” (Carlos Ruiz Zafón). A self-taught musician, Ruiz Zafón has always been fascinated by music since an early age. He remembers buying musical scores such as The Theory of Harmony by Arnold Schoenberg, always looking for pianos at his friends’ houses, and regretting not having had a formal musical education. Today, he continues to compose and has expressed his intention to present the final suite of the series of The Cemetery of the Forgotten Books once he finishes writing the saga.

Carlos Ruiz Zafón began his literary career in 1993 with The Prince of Mist (Edebé Prize), which was followed by The Midnight Palace, September Lights (available in one volume as The Mist Trilogy) and Marina. In 2001 he published his first novel for adults, The Shadow of the Wind, which soon became an international literary phenomenon and continues to fascinate readers across the globe 15 years after its publication. With The Angel’s Game (2008), he returned to the universe of The Cemetery of Lost Books, which grew further with The Prisoner of Heaven (2011). His works have been translated into over fifty languages and have won numerous prizes and millions of readers across five continents.

His latest book, El laberinto de los espíritus (The Labyrinth of the Spirits), is scheduled to be released in Spain and Latin America on November 17th by Spanish publisher Planeta. HarperCollins will publish the English translation in 2017.

Listen to a Library of Congress interview with Carlos Ruiz Zafón who will appear also at the 2016 National Book Festival on September 24 in Washington, D.C.

  • Literature
  • Washington, D.C.
  • Wed, September 28, 2016
  • 6:30 pm — 8:00 pm


Venue map

Former Residence of the Ambassadors of Spain, 2801 16th St NW Washington, DC 20009



Organized by SPAIN arts & culture



Don't miss events like this one! Subscribe to our bimonthly newsletter to stay informed. Our subscribers also get exclusive access to select online content such as free screenings or concerts.

Sign up for our newsletter