José Manuel de Prada-Samper, Salamanca, 1963

Foto Jose
Photo by Joaquín de Prada

Writer, researcher, translator

Focused on oral traditions and narratives, African cultures, especially those of the peoples called San or Bushmen, and comparative literature

He studies, practices and spreads the art of telling stories

Bachelor of Arts in English Language and Literature, University of Barcelona, 1982-1988

Master of Arts in English and Comparative Literature, Columbia University, New York, 1991

Doctor in Comparative Literature, University of Alcalá de Henares, 2010

Free-lance literary translator since 1987

Sworn translator since 1992

Independent writer and researcher since 1994

Free-lance translator for UNICEF, 2001-2007

Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Centre for Curating the Archive, University of Cape Town, 2010-2012

Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Department of English, University of KwaZulu-Natal, 2012-2013

Research Fellow, Department of Archaeology, University of Cape Town, since 2014

Languages: Spanish, English, Catalan, Italian

fotos libros_1


Cuentos populares irlandeses [Irish Folktales]. Madrid: Ediciones Siruela, 1994.
Mitos, cuentos y leyendas de los cinco continentes [Myths, Folktales and Legends of Five Continents]. Barcelona: Editorial Juventud, 1996.
Las mil caras del Diablo: cuentos, leyendas y tradiciones [The Devil of a Thousand Faces: Folkales, legends and traditions]. Barcelona: Editorial Juventud, 1998.
Cuentos de las Tierras Altas escocesas [Folktales of the Scottish Highlands].  Madrid: Ediciones Siruela, 1999.
La niña que creó las estrellas: relatos orales de los bosquimanos /xam [The Girl who Made the Stars: Oral Tales of the /Xam Bushmen]. Madrid: Lengua de Trapo, 2001, enlarged and revised edition, 2011.
El pájaro que canta el bien y el mal: la vida y los cuentos tradicionales de Azcaria Prieto (1883-1970) [The Bird that Sings of Good and Evil: The Life and Traditional Stories of Azcaria Prieto (1883-1970)]. Madrid: Lengua de Trapo, 2004.
Cuentos del Pacífico: Islas Salomón, Palaos, Timor Oriental, Tonga, Vanuatu / Pacific Stories: East Timor, Palau, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Vanuatu, Madrid: Casa Asia, 2008 (with José Manuel Pedrosa).
Cuentos populares de África [Folktales of Africa]. Madrid: Siruela, 2012.

Selection of books translated

Gerald Brenan, A Life of Ones Own (1990)

Frances Steloff, In Touch with Genius (1996).
James Boswell, An Encounter with Rousseau and Voltaire (1997)

Herman Melville, White-Jacket (1998)

A selection of travel essays by Lafcadio Hearn (2002)

Since 2011, funded by Centre for Curating the Archive (University of Cape Town), the University of KwaZulu-Natal and the National Research Foundation of South Africa he has undertaken several trips to the Northern Cape to record the until recently virtually undocumented oral traditions of the communities of Khoisan descent living there.

Elands at Kamberg in Kwazulu Natal Reserve, SA


He has been a consultant, contributor and facilitator for the following events and exhibitions:

Art Made in Translation, Cape Town, Iziko-South African Museum, November 2011-September 2012

(Exhibition of photographs and copies of southern African rock art. Contributed to the companion book to the exhibition, and also participated in the selection of materials. Also contributed to the design of several video displays.)

The courage of ||kabbo and a century of Specimens – Bleek and Lloyd Conference 17-20 August 2011 University of Cape Town, Hiddingh Hall Campus.

(International conference to celebrate 100 years of the publication of Specimens of Bushman Folklore by W. H. I. Bleek and L. C. Lloyd. He delivered a paper, and participated, with Helena Cuesta and Marlene Winberg, in the organization and logistics of the storytelling events that took place during the conference).

Landscape to Literature. Exhibition at Michaelis Gallery, Hiddingh Campus, University of Cape Town, August-October 2011.

(Showing photographs of landscapes and documents connected to the Bleek-Lloyd Collection of /Xam Bushman ethnography. He contributed to the selection of materials and organized and guided a field trip to take some of the photographs and videos for the exhibition and contributed one photograph.)

Stories from Cave to Cave.

(European Union funded international project with the collaboration of libraries and instiutions from Guadalajara (Spain), Cologno  Monzese, (Italy) and Grenoble (France), and the South African Clanwilliam Living Landscape Project, the Centre for the Book of the National Library of South Africa in Cape Town, the !Xun and Khwe San Commnities of Platfontein, in South Africa.

The project organized meetings between South African and European storytellers as well as storytelling events in the Cederberg, Clanwilliam and Cape Town in South Africa, and in Guadalajara (Spain), Grenoble (France) and

Cologno  Monzese (Italy).)

With Helena Cuesta has facilitad the workshop “Once upon a time is still now” at the Healing Storytelling Symposium in Karjaa, Finland 27 July to 8 August, 2014

Shared Sky.

(International exhibition of astronomy-related art of the Yamaji and /xam peoples, in whose ancestral lands the largest radio-telescope in the world is being built; sponsored by the international Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project and by the SKA Organisation, SKA South Africa and SKA Australia. Launched in Perth on September 30, 2014, at the John Curtin Gallery, and then on 13 February, 2015, in the National Gallery of Cape Town, it is currently touring the world. He participated in the design of the exhibition and the selection of materials. He also directed the trip to the Northern Cape to film there several storytellers that he has been interviewing since 2011.)

Workshops and lectures about:

the aesthetics of storytelling


adaptation to contemporary Western audiences of myths from traditional cultures,

the oral tradition of the /xam Bushmen and their contemporary descendants,

the trickster figure,

the translation into Spanish of oral narratives,

the combination of archival and field research to study oral literature and ethnohistory,

the connections between narrative and the rock art of southern Africa,

the study of oral literature through the tradition-bearers,

the study linearity in narrative,

the structure of non-Western oral stories

gestures in traditional narrative

More information on the links bellow:




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