Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Nobel Prize in Literature: Which Latin American Writers Have Won?

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Nobel Prize in Literature: Which Latin American Writers Have Won?

Article excerpt

Mario Vargas Llosa is the first Latin American to win the honored literary prize in 12 years. Of the 102 awards presented since 1901, only seven have gone to Latin American writers.

Mario Vargas Llosa is the first Latin American to win the honored literary prize in 12 years. Of the 102 awards presented since 1901, only seven have gone to Latin American writers.

#7 Gabriela Mistral, Chile (1945)

The fifth of 12 female Nobel Laureates in Literature, Gabriela Mistral was the first Latin American winner ever. She began writing poetry while working as a village schoolteacher, after her lover committed suicide. The tragedy, and later work in education reform, inspired Mistral to write several volumes of poetry, including "Sonetros de la muerte" (1914), "Desolacion" (1922) and "Ternura" (1924). Mistral won "for her lyric poetry which, inspired by powerful emotions, has made her name a symbol of the idealistic aspirations of the entire Latin American world."

#6 Miguel Angel Asturias, Guatemala (1967)

Miguel Angel Asturias' impact on Guatemalan culture went well beyond his powerful literature. He helped found an affordable university, traveled as a correspondent for Latin American newspapers, served as a foreign diplomat, and eventually won the prominent Lenin peace prize. His novels tackle dictatorship, defend Mayan culture, and illuminate Indian legend. The Academy awarded Asturias the Nobel Prize "for his vivid literary achievement, deep- rooted in the national traits and traditions of Indian peoples of Latin America."

#5 Pablo Neruda, Chile (1971)

Called "the greatest poet of the 20th century - in any language" by fellow Latin American Nobel Laureate Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Pablo Neruda's famous love poems indeed strike a chord. Also politically involved, Nerudo served as a senator for the Chilean Communist Party, was eventually hunted for arrest, and escaped to exile in Argentina. He returned to Chile after winning the award "for a poetry that with the action of an elemental force brings alive a continent's destiny and dreams."

#4 Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Colombia (1982)

Considered one of the most influential writers of the 20th century, Gabriel Garcia Marquez reaffirmed the vigor of Latin American literature. …

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