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Juan Eduardo Zúñiga was born in Madrid and in college studied philosophy and fine art, specializing in Slavic languages. His first book, Inútiles totals, came out in 1951, the next, El coral y las aguas, in 1962, and Artículos sociales de Mariano José de Larra in 1976. A proponent of the novel as a tool for memory, Zúñiga set his collection of stories Largo noviembre de Madrid (1980) in and around the Spanish Civil War and its aftermath, and these themes have recurred throughout his later work: La tierra será un paraíso (1989), Misterios de las noches y los días (1992), Flores de plomo (Ramón Gómez de la Serna prizewinner, 1999) and Capital de la gloria (2003), which won Spain's Nacional de la Critica Prize and the prestigious Salambó. His most recent collection of stories is Brillan monedas oxidadas (Galaxia Gutenberg, 2010). His knowledge of Russian and Bulgarian culture—in 1990 he published Sofia, an essay on the Bulgarian capital—prompted him to look deeper into celebrated writers from Eastern Europe. Desde los bosques nevados (Galaxia Gutenberg), a study of Pushkin, Turgenev, and Chekhov, came out in 2010 and won the International Terenci Moix Prize.