Reinaldo Arenas was born in Holguín, Cuba, in 1943. His first novel, Singing from the Well, was awarded First Mention in Cuba´s Cirilo Villaverde National Competition. It was to be his only book published in his native country. Both as a gay man and a writer, he found himself persecuted by the Cuban government, and had to smuggle his work out of the country for publication in France. He left Cuba in 1980 and settled in New York, where he lived until his death in 1990.