Francisco Ignacio Taibo Mahojo, better known as Paco Ignacio Taibo II, was born in Gijon, Spain, on 11 January, 1949. Since 1958, when his father decided to leave Francoist Spain, he has lived in Mexico City.
Taibo studied sociology, literature and history, and played a very active rôle in the dramatic events in Mexico in 1968.
In 1969, he began working as a journalist, and was soon contributing to a number of magazines. He also taught History and Athropology at the University of City of Mexico. In 1971 he published his first book, Nacimiento de la memoria. In the same year, he married Paloma Saiz and the couple later had a daughter, Marina.
Taibo is considered to be one of Mexico’s foremost historians, and has published numerous essays; however, he is best known – both at home and around the world – as a prolific and versatile writer of novels, mainly detective stories and historical novels. His more than fifty works have been translated in more than twenty countries.
His literary awards include the Grijalbo Prize (1982), the INAH National History Prize (1986), the Francisco Javier Clavijero Prize (1987), the Hammet Prize (three times: 1987, 1991 and 1994), the Latin-American Prize for crime fiction and spy stories (1992), the Planeta – Joaquin Mortiz International Award (1992) and the Premio Bancarella (1998).
Novels published in Italy include La banda dei quattro (1989 and 2000) – which also contains contributions by Daniel Chavarria, Rolo Diez and Leonardo Padura Fuentes, Ombre nell’ombra (The Shadow of the Shadow) (1990, 1996 and 2002), Come la vita (Life Itself) (1994 and 2004), La bicicletta di Leonardo (Leonardo’s bicycle) (1994, 1998 and 1999), A quattro mani (Four Hands) (1995, 1997 and 1999), La lontananza del tesoro (The Remoteness of the Treasure) (1995 and 2003), Rivoluzionario di passaggio (Just Passing Through) (1996), Sentendo che il campo di battaglia (1996), Ma tu lo sai che è impossibile (1997), Te li do io i Tropici (2000), Ritornano le ombre (Returning as Shadows) (2002), as well as the hugely-popular series featuring investigator Héctor Belascoran Shayne, Giorni di battaglia (1998), Il fantasma di Zapata (1998), Qualche nuvola (1992, 1995 and 1998), Niente lieto fine (2001), Stessa città, stessa pioggia (2003), Sogni di frontiera (2004) and Fantasmi d’amore (2004).
His essays include: L’anno in cui non siamo stati da nessuna parte (1994 and 1996), edited jointly with Froilán Escobar and Félix Guerra, Senza perdere la tenerezza. Vita e morte di Ernesto Che Guevara (1997, 2002 and 2004 in a revised and updated edition), Arcangeli (1998 and 2001) and E Doña Eustolia brandì il coltello per le cipolle (2005).
Among Taibo’s numerous interests, he is also an organizer of cultural events, and is the creator and artistic director of the Semana Negra in Gijón (Black Week of Gijón), an original and popular event dedicated to detective and adventure stories from all over the world. He is also president of the Asociacion Internacional de Escritores Policiacos (International Association of Writers of Detective Stories).