(escritor, poeta, docente, Salto, Uruguay, 1949)
The remarkable Uruguayan writer Leonardo Garet was born on November 22nd 1949, he was the son of Julio Garet Mas and Carmen Crescionini.
His father was a poet and a critic of literature; he was one of the pioneers of Uruguayan Literature for many years in which his earnings came from his conferences in Uruguay, Argentina, Brazil and Peru.
His mother was a teacher and professor of Spanish Language and Geography.
In 1951, the Garet-Crescionini family moved to the house that would be their home for twenty years, in the suburbs of Salto.
This change had a deep meaning in the writer’s future, since the narrative of Leoonardo Garet has its sources in the surroundings of the Calafí district.
Leonardo Garet went to Schools No. 1 and 5. He attended the only two public schools that existed by those years in Salto, the Osimani and Llerena, where he discovered his passion for writing.
He attended the first year of the Medicine College, in Montevideo, in 1968. This year, he went to the student’s dining hall “Casa de Salto” and was one of the precursors of the magazine “Adelante”, issued by the Association of Resident Students from Salto in Montevideo, in which he published his first texts.
In 1969 he entered the Humanities and Sciences College where he got his degree in Spanish Literature.
In 1972 he had to drop out his studies and began to work, in a sugar factory CALNU, in Bella Unión, district of Artigas, next to the limit between Uruguay with Brazil.
That same year he started teaching at Secondary Schools in Bella Unión.
In 1972, still living in that town, he published his first book of poems “Pentalogía”. The work was praised by the poet Clara Silva, who published a bibliographical article in the newspaper El País de Montevideo. In Salto as well, Artigas Milans Martinez talked about this work in the media.
In Montevideo, in 1973 he started to work in the Institute of Superior Studies as professor of Uruguayan Literature and in the Philosophy, Sciencies and Letters College (today this college depends on the Catholic University), as professor of Spanish Literature.
In 1974 he returned to Salto and entered the Polytechnical Institute Osimani and Llerena where he has been working uninterruptedly until now.
Since then, literary meetings have been carried out in the houses of the painter Artigas Milans Martinez and Professor Walter Peralta, where they also get together with Marosa di Giorgio, Jorge Real, Chingola Muñoa, Baby Rosete, Carlos García and Osvaldo Paz.
In 1975 when sharing a board of examinations, he met the woman who would become his wife in 1977, Maria Cristina Reyes. Their favourite readings those years were: poetry from all times and languages, Latin American narrative and science fiction novels.
In 1976 the magazine “Arbol de Fuego” from Caracas, published his second book of poems, First Scenario. In 1976 the Technical Publisher asked him to write a manual for students on Cervantes.
He got to know other writers from different cities and in 1978 he published his third book of poems, “Máquina Final” (Final Machine), that was presented in Montevideo, by the literary critic, actor and theater director, Alfredo de la Peña. The same year Garet won the national contest on Horacio Quiroga.
In 1979 his only daughter, Aline, was born.
During the years of dictatorship and insecurity he had to remain in silence to avoid being dismissed of his educational job, and together with Maria Cristina they lived on the sale of books and later run their own stall, called Macondo.
Ten years passed until Mario Aiello encouraged him to publish his fiction work in 1988, “Pájaros Extranjeros” (Foreign Birds).
Aiello also published that year “Los Hombres del Agua” “Men of Water), his first approach to narrative.
After the return of the democracy he created the Association of Workers of Secondary Education of Salto and was the first president of the trade union in 1985 and the first vice-president of the National Federation of Teachers in 1986.
He participated in the design of the Literature syllabus for Secondary Education, and in the assemblies on technical education, as departmental representative, chosen in two consecutive periods.
1990 was a decisive year because it meant the return to an intense literary activity. His biography turned into a bibliography, or the succession of literary works.
That year, two books were published: a critical book, “La Pasión Creadora de Enrique Amorim” (Enrique Amorim’s Creative Passion) and the other one that is an anthology of writers called “LIteratura de Salto” (Literature of Salto).
The following year two books of critics were issued, “Viaje por la Novela Picaresca” (Tour by the Picaresque Novel) and an essay on Vicente Aleixandre.
Also in 1991 he wrote an anthology of his poetry called “Palabra sobre Palabra” (Word On Word) with prologue by Marosa di Giorgio. This work gave him the possibility of a wide distribution for the first time. The book was presented in Montevideo, in the bookstore Linardi y Risso, by Marosa di Giorgio and Napoleón Baccino.
In 1988 he directed the literary workshops of the Ministry of Education and Culture.
He developed this activity first in Artigas, later in Bella Union and Paysandú. The weekly trips were a constant in his life and inspired him to write “Anabákoros”, one of Garret’s most well known works.
Later he became also the supervisor of the literary workshops of the Ministry of Education and Culture.
After his works he was included in the book “Narradores y Poetas Contemporáneos” (Narrators and Contemporary Poets) by Ricardo Pallares (National Academy of Letters, Montevideo, 2000), in which two chapters were about Leonardo Garet’s works.
He published “Los Hombres de Fuego” (Men of Fire) in Ediciones de la Banda Oriental (prologue by Elbio Rodriguez Barilari, short stories, 1993) and “Octubre” (October) (back cover by Washington Benavides, poetry, 1994) and “La Casa del Juglar” (The House of the Minstrel), (narrative, 1996).
In 1998 it was issued “Las Hojas de Par en Par” (Pages Wide Open), then in 2000 “Cantos y Desencantos” (Chants and Disenchantments) (back cover by Osvaldo Pol) and “Saída” in 2001. These books got prizes in national contests as well as Anabákoros.
“Vela de Armas” (Candle of Weapons) (prologue by Hebert Benítez Pezzolano) was published in Córdoba (Argentina) by Editorial Alción. And the same year it was issued “80 Noches y un Sueño” (80 Nights and a Dream) , published by Linardi y Risso, in their compilation “La hoja que piensa” (The page that thinks).
The book “Bares en lluvia” (Bars When Raining) is an experience of integration of different languages of expression carried out jointly with the plastic artist César Rodríguez Musmanno.
Later on, “El Libro de los Suicidas” (The Book of the Suicides) was released and it started a collection of Uruguayan Short Stories published by Cruz del Sur, and “La Sencilla Espiral de los Sucesos” (The Simple Spiral of Events) (back cover by Rafael Courtoisie), was published by the magazine Hermes Criollo.
In 2001, he became Illustrious Visitor of Gualeguaychú (20-X-2001 ), after his participation in a Poetry Meeting.
Since the appearance of the first sample (August-November 2001) of the magazine Hermes Criollo he has become a member of the National Advisory Council in charge of the cultural and literary critics and theories.
In 2002 the Departmental Counsel of Salto paid tribute to him, “in recognition for his contribution to the culture”.
In 2002 he got the prize Fraternidad, Cr. Máximo Brenner, granted by the B' nai B' rith from Uruguay, to the different expressions of the art. Every four years the prize goes to the Literature.
In 2003 he was given the prize “Fausto” to the Culture, granted by the professionals of Communication of Salto.
In 2005 he received from Town Hall of Canelones the Prize Julio Sosa to Literature.
Since 2001, in Salto, he has been devoted to promote the activities of his group Literary Workshop Horacio Quiroga, which depends on the Town Hall of that district.
He is responsible for the Collection of Writers Salteños, a plan of his own that comprises 20 books, that rescues the most important authors of the district, with prologue and notes by himself.
This collection has been issued since 2003 and eleven volumes have already been issued until October 2006.
On October 4 2006 it was presented in the historical Theater Larrañaga in Salto the book that evokes the life of Marosa di Giorgio, who died in 2004. The name of the book is “El Milagro Incesante: Vida y Obra de Marosa di Giorgio” (The Unending Miracle: Life and Work of Marosa di Giorgio).