William Castaño-Bedoya

William is a profound and experiential writer who portrays the uniqueness of humanity throughout his literature. 

The story of William Castaño-Bedoya (1959) starts off in native Armenia, a coffee enclave in Colombia that gave him a happy childhood until an impromptu exodus, from the countryside to the city, in the sixties, led to proletarian family life in Bogotá. Suffocated by deprivation and social disadvantage, William was only six years old.

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1970 – 1975

His adolescence was spent amid great adventure and exploration. Departing from home at the age of 14, William was able to find the face of kindness in a family named Cujia, who resided in a school founded by Belgian priests in the northwest of Bogotá. When he came to realize that his parents could not round up enough money for his second-year school enrollment, the Cujia’s welcomed him, and took him in to study a few years under scholarship.

In his early teens, his writings swarmed in an anarchic and careless production, in which he almost always wrote in pencil so that he could erase and correct. Primarily utilizing forty-page notebooks and small pieces of paper, he preferred to write with tiny letters to be able to yield more to the spaces that each small page offered.

Throughout high school, William custom drew the faces of the vivacious girls around him. He would use Chinese ink and the technique of pointillism, drawing his inspiration from his admiration for Salvador Dalí, or charcoal, to boldly emulate the mastery of Omar Gordillo and his series Faces of street children. However, plastic was his primary medium of aspiration.

The creation of acrostics dedicated to his idyllic suitors and those of his friends or of those who requested them, little by little aided with his sustenance as a novice for many years. His prestige within the collegiate circle grew as a draftsman, as each acrostic wore fine hand-painted ornaments with some sonnets or poetry. He created them, drew them, and then handed them out looking like rolled papyrus. It was a very judicious work, which he executed until the early mornings, accompanied by his brothers, who would inevitably succumb to sleep at the table. They, his parents — Gilberto and María Sucel— and his seven siblings— Gilberto, Luz Helena, María Eugenia, Gloria Teresa, Cesar Augusto, José Elías and Juan Carlos—, were his squires. To this day, they have kept some paintings from that era.

1976 – 1977

The literary bohemian in William had grown since his adolescence, when he was in eleventh grade and competed every year to win the best literary billboard, along with his classmates José Wólfran and Carlos Alberto. Around this time, he was sought after to paint, write poems, and help his friends with the literary analysis of works they were supposed to read. During his last year of high school, William was fortunate enough to be a student of an enlightened teacher, due to his nobility and passion for letters. Fernando Parra Gallego was a fascinating character that was anointed as the professor of literature and philosophy in Paulo VI. 

His whole high school experience took place during those bohemian years, where he found a group, which included the teacher, that drank aguardiente or beer while speaking about a novel. The youthful gatherings wandered through Virgil and his Aeneid, through Dante and The Divine Comedy and Its Worlds, through Homer and his not easy Iliad, as well as characters such as Jesus Christ, Don Quixote, Muhammad, Laotse and Confucius, to name a few. There was no shortage of leaps into great contemporaries such as Pasternak and his Doctor Zhivago, to Dostoevsky and his Crime and Punishment. There, he found his great admiration for Victor Hugo and the delight of the simplicity and genius of El lazarillo de Tormes. Immersing himself in the creative genius of authors of works, such as John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath and social affiness, Isaac Bashevis’ Singer’s The Slave in seventeenth century Poland, gave him the impulse to plan his own work decades later. In his young years, he did not lack acting in the improvised theater of the literary centers, in some fragments of La celestina by Fernando de Rojas.

1978- 1983

At the age of 17, William joined an important national company based in the center of Bogotá, just minutes from the Jorge Tadeo Lozano University, where he was advancing his higher education. Pressed by the need for sustenance not only for himself, but for his large family, of whom he was one of the oldest, William made his introduction to the corporate world. On the one hand, Gilberto was selling merchandise in the streets of Bogotá, and on the other, Maria Sucel was cleaning flats in high-rise companies or in the homes of wealthy families in Bogotá. In a way, the fruit of his labor accompanied the effort made by his parents. Later, William added specializations such as Scenography and Television Production at the Javeriana University of Bogotá, that he complemented with training in analysis of statistical packages in research and markets, commercial and advertising writing, and management of middle managers among other specializations. Immersing himself in his studies, while alternating with work, helped form him as a communicator and publicist marketer.

His work as a wage earner in Colombia, allowed him to know the business world and its frivolities. However, and no less important, in his creative nature he managed to delve into the practice of folklore, which led him to understand in depth the fusions and influences that make up the identity of Colombians. Thus, while working and studying, he became a dancer for several years and absorbed himself in the atmosphere of rehearsals, which culminated in attendance at national festivals and competitions as a preamble to a great annual show usually offered at the Jorge Eliecer Gaitán Theater in Bogotá.

Although he was never a professional dancer, he had the privilege of dancing alongside great figures who came for seasonal collaborations from the Ballet de Colombia of Sonia Osorio (1928-2011) and the Colombian Folkloric Ballet of Ligia de Granados. The rehearsal experiences, directed by the Colombian choreographer Óscar Armando Jiménez, was fundamental in his value for the grave extent of art and its preliminaries.

Throughout his university days, William also experienced the theater by attending groups of enthusiasts. He even came to participate in the staging of The Rifles of Mother Carrar, by Bertolt Bretch, playing a pyrrhic role of wounded that made him an actor for all of two minutes in a theater of Chapinero in Bogotá.

During that experience, Gilberto Castaño, his father, succumbed to the world in 1983 at the age of 62, leaving his family acephalous of patriarchy and María Sucel widowed at 42 years old, commanding the lives of eight children. William was the second son and only 24 years old then, while the eldest, Gilberto, was only 25.

William had relatively matured as a painter. One day, he dared to present his paintings to a gallery near the newly opened Unicentro in Bogotá, as recommended by a company official in public relations. The gallery proposed that he take them one work per week in exchange for thirty thousand Colombian pesos, but at that time the change did not justify leaving everything simply to paint. The livelihood of his family enlarged, so beset by necessity, he decided to remain in the shadow of the private company that paid him comparatively more.  In the company he worked as a systems encoder and then as an auto insurance claims adjuster. He gradually started taking part in writing literary collaborations for the magazine of the institution, where he became notorious for drawing management presentations, after being called by the management of the Marketing department. William later became a marketing analyst. His goal at that time was to be General Manager of Advertising, a position to which he bet unsuccessfully. Ironically, they linked a political lucky one to that vacant position.

1980 – 2010

His early years in the United States were like that of millions of immigrants living undocumented. They consisted of sweeping and mopping floors in malls at dawn, washing dishes in Jewish golf clubs while bussing tables, as well as covering the night shift of convenient groceries businesses, from which he had to leave due to the immigration raids occurring in those years. After several months and a stubborn request for opportunity, he was allowed to be part of a group of technicians and communicators that made up La Voz de Colombia, a radio segment with a flavor of Colombia for Colombians. The main voice of the program was led by Don Eucario Bermúdez (1924-2019), a prestigious journalist and one of the pioneers of Colombian radio in the United States, to whom, years later William edited two of his autobiographical books. William’s role in The Voice of Colombia was to write commercials that he produced daily. Little by little, the additional opportunity to aesthetically improve their logos and revamp their advertising pamphlets became known among radio clients.

For more than three decades, William’s corporate career grew and specialized in the United States. In the last decade he managed to understand the fusion of technology and marketing, leading him to manage e-commerce platforms in multiple countries and to develop and service multinational platforms for American and Latin American corporations.

At the end of the eighties, WIlliam met Dora-Luz Longas, a publicist, great entrepreneur, and granddaughter of the master Horacio Longas (1898-1981), a prestigious painter of older days in Colombia and Antioquia of the early twentieth century. Dora Luz has accompanied him since then, and together they are now the parents of Willie Jr. and Camila.

2012 – Present

Throughout the progression of his corporate work, in 2012 William founded the literary group Book&Bilias. All within the arid literary environment of Miami, the group sought to help several Latin American writers to delve into their works and tend some minstrel steps. Besides the in depth work done between the literary weekly meetings, Book&Bilias left an important mark on William, as he explored the world of publishing novels, inlcuding the management of the design, to the edition of novels such as La música del olvido, Fuga en sol menor para cuarteto Imperfecto, Niño de agua y las Mariposas by the Colombian writer Janiel Humberto Pemberty; La chica del Nogaró and Las alas del condor (second edition) by the Chilean writer Hernán Orrego; the poetry collection Paraíso by John Jairo Palomino; Por el revés somos de mentiras, tribute in life of poet Martha Sepúlveda Góngora; the adventure chronicles: Te espero en la frontera by Enrique Córdoba Rocha; the autobiographic books: Crónicas de un exilio voluntario and El talento no se jubila by Eucario Bermúdez; as well as the book of short stories Isabela y el abuelo de Manuel Gómez Sabogal.

After pleasant and productive moments, and perhaps fatigued by enormous efforts to find publishers for its novels, Book&Bilias went silent in 2016. Nevertheless, in the years 2020 & 2021, William and his daughter, Camila Castaño, proposed to rescue Book&Bilias as a company that would give visibility to William’s literary work. The goal was to open spaces to his literary creation that has rested on shelves without any collection of activity. The new stage of Book&Bilias is based on a plan including the search for results in the short, medium, and long term.

2015 – 2022

«When the human condition is what directly induces the success or failure of the human being’s endeavor, whoever does not evolve goes backwards… Likewise, although supposedly frivolous freedom is currently what governs the global market, its results are ultimately the consequence of man’s influence.» This is the essence of the corporate world, as William Castaño-Bedoya puts it, in a novel where the lives of the characters are systematically affected by the weight of extremist ideologies and the omnipresence of an underhanded double standard. HansennBox surfs life at the pace which has been imposed by circumstances, by destiny, in a historical era in which e-commerce is embarking on its crushing advance with no return.

2012 – 2016

Los Monólogos de Ludovico demonstrates the great impact of frustration and its generalities, and how impotence and fate recreate the absurd and the uncertain. William manages to stage the impact of the arrival of beings with differences to the spectrum of that normality that are commonly known. Ludovico would not have been possible if the author had not studied similar characters for many years before undertaking the work of his novel.

A psychological fictional novel, which recreates Ludovico, a character who narrates in monologues his vision of the world despite having mental limitations due to a hereditary condition of mental damage. Los Monólogos de Ludovico is the second novel with which William Castaño-Bedoya surprises us, reaffirming his talents as a recreator of human depth.

In 2021, the novel was adapted as a playwright, where William Castaño-Bedoya takes us through the world of Ludovico. At first the reader may think that Ludovico is a character who intends to show us his limited and boring world, but as the story progresses, we discover a primary and elementary orb that does not lack its interpretations, its feelings, its compassion, and its passions. However, the reader faces the great and painful paradox of this novel, that Ludovico suffers and tells unconsciously. The drama of his life, restricted by his poor comprehension, his disobedient vision, and his clumsy ear, condemn him to a fractional understanding that he tries to fill with his fantasy. The story of the one who carries within him an unopened irony and whose simplicity leads us unexpectedly to the borders of laughter and crying. Ludovico lives, like an invisible veil, the double lack of expressing his world and of understanding the one around him.

2012 – 2016

In Flores para María Sucel, through the setting of the exiles of being, represented by Gilberto in his frequent escapes from his reality, he delivers a novel that teaches the transfer of several generations through a difficult Colombia. There is always a continuous observance of the causes that make the characters unique, without losing their universality. María Sucel represents the Latin American woman who fights for the survival of her family, sacrificing her own right to be happy.

Flores began to be structured in the emergency room of the hospital where María Sucel passed away, and then continued in old Caldas, where William traveled in 1994 to investigate the life of a generation passed to Maria Sucel and Gilberto, following in the footsteps of his great-grandparents. He mostly wrote between the fragments of time allowed during his constant travel to countries in the continent, writing on the planes and in the hotels where he stayed. William decided to incorporate the novel with a high content of fiction because he did not want to make it autobiographical, but simply with the intention to highlight aspects of the human condition. Hence, Flores para María Sucel became a piece of historical fiction that preserves real moments in which the death of María Sucel, who died in 1993 as a victim of medical malpractice at a high-ranking clinic in Bogotá, stands out. The malpractice occurred when performing routine exams prior to her trip to the United States, where she would join William. The novel was completed in 2006. A very short printing of copies served for its presentation among friends in the Books & Books bookstore of Coral Gables. The novel was saved, and it was with Book&Bilias that it was dusted off, and it had some style tweaks made, helped by his friends.


William’s literary work has deepened on different fronts. In evolution are several works of corporate fiction and political fiction, the most advanced being the novel We the Other People, which has been worked on for several years and will be published by the end of May 2023. For Ludovico, William has already made the adaptation for theater, with aspiration as a classical theater project that will be proposed to producers in the United States and Latin America. Likewise, William made the narration of Los Monólogos de Ludovico, in a work that catapults this novel as an indispensable piece within the modality of audiobooks.

Although his work has not been exhibited commercially or distributed until now, William was recognized in 2016 with the Medal of Literary Merit that the Government of Quindío, confers on its citizens. In 2019 William decides to leave the entire corporate world and immerse himself completely in literature, a profession he exercises with care from the freedom of his thoughts. William’s works are in the process of translation to English as they will be presented to the American public in the winter of 2022.  William is a Colombian American citizen and resides, with his family, in the city of Coral Gables in the State of Florida.

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