Javier Amaya was born in Pereira, Colombia in 1956. He started his college studies in Colombia and Europe. He earned a Bachelor’s degree in Social Sciences, with a minor in History at the University of Washington. Amaya later completed his Master of Public Health (MPH), at the same university.

His thesis named “Exploratory study on HIV/AIDS knowledge among Spanish speakers” is a qualitative analysis on the role of health education to improve prevention efforts with immigrant communities.

He worked for several years as an interpreter-translator from English to Spanish for different agencies, and also as an assistant for the Seattle Public Library. Amaya has participated in human rights promotion and monitoring with the Colombia Human Rights Network .

As part of his professional activities he has coordinated several information campaigns, and translated and edited several publications into Spanish on the prevention of transmitted diseases. These include two editions of the well known guide “Vivir Positivamente” for people living with HIV.

Since 1986, Javier Amaya has been alternating his regular jobs with journalism and freelancing, addressing social justice, human rights and political analysis. His editorials have been published in Spanish in several magazines and newspapers from Colombia, England and the United States.


Javier Amaya has published four books in Spanish and one in English since 2001.

Tales of Love and Distance (Cuentos de amor y distancia), a book with 6 stories where the characters, mostly Latin-american, are forced into migration and exile. As they struggle to adapt to a new environment, they look for romance and love. In the foreword Juan Toledo, a cultural promoter with the British Council in London, wrote: “The author looks for vindication in love feelings, as a universal and central expression for being contemporary”. The book was launched in Seattle at Galerías on Broadway.

In 2008, the organization 4Culture in Seattle through an independent panel selected this book originally published in Spanish for translation into the English language. His proposal is one of 75 winners out of 220 applicants.

Published in 2004, Chronicles from Seattle (Crónicas desde Seattle), which is a compilation of 28 chronicles published previously in several places in America and Europe during a 17 year period. It includes editorials, analysis, reports on press conferences and interviews with personalities that have visited Seattle or have a personal connection with the city.

The list includes Nobel laureates Rigoberta Menchu and former president Nelson Mandela, authors like Carlos Fuentes from Mexico and the Brazilian best-seller Paulo Coelho, the sculptor-painter Jose Luis Cuevas, and political leaders like Rodrigo Asturias from Guatemala and Lucho Garzon from Colombia, among others.

The foreword for this book was prepared by the Colombian author and well known novelist Gustavo Alvarez Gardeazabal. The book was presented in Paris at Cafe Babalu and in Seattle at the Richard Hugo House.

A Machine Gun What For (El fusil para qué), is his first novel released in 2006. This book tells the story of young Latin-Americans who join guerrilla groups hoping to push for needed social change and to challenge misery and oppression. As they discover the corruption among their own leadership, they feel betrayed and decide to abandon armed violence as a credible way to change the society. It also narrates, how violence destroys other characters in the armed conflict, who defend faithfully an anti-popular and repressive government.

To support the completion of this novel, the author, received an award from the City of Seattle Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs under the program 2006 CityArtist Projects, after voting the recommendation of a peer review panel. He was one of 31 recipients, out of 127 applicants.

Tales of Love and Distance, the English version, was edited and published in 2008 with the support of a grant from the arts organization 4Culture. It was translated by House of Writers/Casa de Escritores Inc. from Seattle. This book was designed and illustrated by art photographer Hugo Ludeña and presented at the Seattle Public Library-central building with the addtiional support of Latino Cultural Magazine.

Vacaciones en Sunnyland.Vacation in Sunnyland. At the beginning of the 80s, Arnulfo Lopez a young undocumented worker crosses de south border of the United States, hoping to make a future for himself and help his family income in his home town. Lopez works in several temporary jobs and when he finally believes that he can earn a steady income with an acquitance, he is betrayed and ends up in jail. During his arrest, Lopez gets to know the other face of the “American Dream” through local and foreign characters that interact with him and share their stories behind bars. While Arnulfo proves his innocence, he tries to hide his situation from his mother who is very worried. Another family twist puts Lopez heading back to his native town after getting freedom on probation. This novel was originally presented at the Mexican Consulate in Seattle in November of 2010.

If you want to contact the author, please write to:

Javier Amaya
P O Box 47433
Seattle WA 98146


Spanish language writer's blog and website