Isabel posing in front of a plum tree in Ealing, London, in the summer of 2019


Q. And who is she?
A. Isabel del Rio is a British-Spanish 
writer and linguist.

Q. And where was she born?
A. She was born in Madrid during the long aftershocks of the Spanish Civil War and grew up in London, where she has lived most of her life.

Q. And her languages?
A. Being bilingual, she is equally at ease in both English and Spanish. Spanish is her language of nostalgia, memory and exile; English is her language of freedom, action and dissent. When it was suggested that she should give up one of her two languages to make her life as a writer easier, she decided that she would write in both, even at the expense of surrendering her identity. She never really identified with a particular culture anyway, she says, but only with Language itself. Thus, she embraced her bilingualism and turned to writing in two languages. 

Q. Is she a fiction writer or a poet?
A. She sees herself as both, depending on the subject that disturbs or captivates her. Most of all, she considers herself an emissary of dire tidings –because someone has to do it, she says.

Q. And what does she write about?
A. Her vision is noir and dystopian, and she claims this is because her beginnings included darkly difficult experiences from which the only way out was the world of make-believe. She writes fiction about historical events and potentially destructive occurrences, poetry of both evocation and provocation, and memoirs bringing everything together. Her works are indictments against injury and injustice, she claims, bearing witness to lives lived on the edge, through the haunting voices from the past and the bewildered voices yet to call out from the future. She likes going for the kill in her writing, reaching dramatic and even melodramatic climaxes, preferring anti-heroes to heroes and satire to solemn writing. 

Q. And so is there humour in her stories?
A. All her stories include an element of humour, although it is mostly grim, straight-faced and sometimes a little macabre.

Q. And have other Arts or disciplines influenced her?
A. There is an undeniable plasticity to her writing; in fact, her texts might appear to be more visual than the amateur photography she dabbles in. That is how she writes anyway: by carefully applying strokes and layers on a preliminary canvas of words. She enjoys dialogues most of all, from her years as a broadcaster; and from her many years as a linguist, she prefers a narrative that allows for multiple interpretations.

Q. And what are her stories about?
A. She believes that you can write a story on almost any subject, it is all a matter of viewpoint, style and word usage: from the plight of women through the centuries to bloodshed in its many forms; from a ritual killing in the Stone Age to the universal war that never ceases to erupt, regardless of time and place; from death in the bullring to death imposed by the Inquisition; from Don Quixote's romantic encounter to a day in the 
life of a palindromist; from Hell as your regular workplace to Paradise as the name of a spaceship that manages to reach the outer limits of the universe.  Her most iconic tale is about the destruction of the cosmos that exists inside a pencil, whilst a woman is writing the story of the end of the world...  

Q. Thank you for your answers.
A. Thank you for your questions!

Interview with IdR by IdR about IdR, 2022



This website includes several of Isabel's published stories and poems under the tabs 'Short Stories' (in English and Spanish) and 'Poetry' (in English and Spanish), as well as audio and video
files under 'Recordings'.

All texts and images on this website are under copyright.


Apart from my autobiographical memoir, all my stories are entirely works of fiction. Any similarity between the characters depicted and real people can only be the result of coincidence, accident or human error. If anyone sees herself or himself portrayed in some way in one of my stories, or can somehow identify with one of my characters, it will make me very happy to learn that what I have written can be comparable to the real and the tangible, and thus I will thank the reader for making such generous correlations…