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Rubén David González Gallego



His parents met at Lomonosov Moscow State University. Ruben was born in Moscow, Soviet Union, with severe cerebral palsy. When he was one year old, the officials sent him to a state orphanage. His mother was told that her son has died.


Being an orphan diagnosed with cerebral palsy, he spent his childhood and teenage years in orphanages for disabled children. His teachers remember him as a smart student. He had a unique memory and read the entire school library.


Ruben met the woman who would become his first wife. She had “smuggled” Gallego out of the institution so they can start new life together.


When he was 33 years old, he met his mother for the first time at a conscious age. He stayed with her in Spain. Then he started traveling around Europe and the world.

White on Black

In 2002 Ruben wrote and published his first book — “White and Black“. The book was translated into 25 and won the Booker prize.


In 2005, he released another novel — “Chess”. The Russian edition title was “I am sitting on the shore“.

Washington DC

In 2007 Ruben has moved to USA. There he met a young Jewish fan and married her. They had daugter Sofia.


In 2014, a few years after their daughter was diagnosed with autism, they moved to Israel.

Eternal Guest

In 2018 Ruben wrote his third book — “Eternal Guest”.


Ruben's Novells

  • “White on Black” (2002). While abrupt shifts from first to third person and past to present are sometimes jarring, Gallego has produced a harrowing and graceful memoir that consistently emphasizes empowerment and endurance over self-pity.
  • “Chess” (2005). In this life, you are either a player or a chess piece. To be a player, you need to take responsibility for your decisions. Will you help another one even if you are helpless yourself? Will you betray your friend to save his life? Once you enter the game, you must keep playing it.
  • “Eternal Guest” (2016). His third book, “Eternal Guest,” also a fictionalized authobiography, is due to be published in Russia, in Russian, in the next few weeks. Coming 13 years after “Chess,” part of the new work is devoted to Israel, including its politics. “Everyone loves me, but no one wants me on his turf,” says Gallego, who is not Jewish. “And the Jews say, ‘You’re here – welcome,’” he says.

Book awards and recognitions


Russian Booker Prize

«White on Black» is the winner of Russian Booker Prize in 2003

Russian Booker of the Decade

In 2011 nominated to Russian Booker of the Decade

Golden Pawn Award

“Chess” is the The 2019 Golden Pawn Awards Winner for the Best European Book


The latest update

Best European Book: “Chess” by Ruben David Gonzalez Gallego

Dec 1, 2019. The first ever European Chess Award Ceremony in Hôtel De Paris, Monte Carlo, Monaco. Winner in the nomination - Best European Book (Fiction): “Chess” by Rubén David González Gallego.

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