Literary Mexico City
Mexico City has long attracted American and Latin American writers, many of whom have settled—some temporarily, others permanently—in the capital as expats. The city also hosts a robust community of homegrown writers in every genre. Their homes and haunts are a mix of public and private spaces; here are a few of their stories.

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Where William Burroughs' Fate Was Set in Motion

American writer William Burroughs moved to Mexico City in 1949 in an attempt to escape legal and financial troubles that plagued him in the U.S. He wasn't entirely successful; in fact, his problems grew exponentially in the capital, primarily after meeting a man who would change his life, and not for the better.

It was after an eavesdropping Italian heard Burroughs' conversation at a public phone in the Hotel Reforma that Burroughs was connected with a lawyer, Bernabe Jurado, whom Burroughs entrusted to remedy his legal woes. Instead, during a meeting at Juardo's office, Burroughs met a man who would reintroduce Burroughs to his archenemy-heroin.

Today, the Hotel Reforma is worn around its edges and has the air of having seen its fair share of Burroughs-esque stories. You can visit its lobby, but probably can only look from the outside at other Burroughs haunts in DF, including his former apartments at Reforma 210 and Medellín 37, the latter being where he wrote Junky. Burroughs also attended–albeit sporadically–Mexico City College at San Luís Potosí 154. The school is no longer there, replaced by another school of a different name.

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by Julie Schwietert Collazo
AFAR Local Expert
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