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Hispanic Heritage Month: Did You Know …?


Exploring Hispanic authors

Want to know more about Hispanic writers? Their unique styles, themes and voice are an important part of the distinctive Hispanic heritage.   Today, so many names resonate in the long list of Hispanic authors whose prolific work is present across all literary genres. The Alvin Sherman Library is a good place to explore the work of the authors listed here.

If you have listened or sung Guantanamera, then you already know one of Jose Marti’s poems, a Cuban national hero, poet and writer.  His poem Un hombre sincero [A sincere man], became the lyrics of that famous song that continues to captivate everyone.

Nicaraguan Ruben Dario, author of the poem A Margarita is credited for initiating the Spanish-American literary modernism.

Puerto Rican Julia de Burgos’ poetry vividly addressed social justice issues. Her poem Rio Grande de Loíza brilliantly reflects her style.

The poetry of Argentinian Jorge Luis Borges is highly regarded, considered by many as one of the major poets in Latin America.  Borges’ writing crossed over many genres that also included essay and short story.

A Sample of Hispanic Novelists

With so many talented Hispanic writers, here is just a glance at some of these distinguished authors.

The fascinating style of Venezuelan Romulo Gallegos’ novel, Doña Barbara made this work into one of the most iconic ones in the Americas.  Many considered Pedro Páramo, a novel authored by Mexican Juan Rulfo, as one the most influential literary works. Cien años de Soledad, One hundred years of solitude by Colombian Gabriel Garcia Márquez, has been translated into 37 languages. Garcia Márquez is considered by many as one of the main representatives of Latin American literature. Isabel Allende is a prolific Chilean author and one of the most read writers in the world. Her first novel, La casa de los espiritus [The house of spirits], launched her career.

Hispanic Nobel Literature  winners

Did you know that Hispanic authors have also been recipients of the Nobel Prize?

Six Hispanic writers are among the world’s distinguished winners of the Nobel prize for literature. In 1945, poet Gabriela Mistral from Chile became the first Hispanic recipient of the Nobel prize. Mistral, also known as la Maestra de America [America’s teacher], continues to be the only Hispanic woman who has won the renowned award. Poet, novelist and diplomat, Guatemalan Miguel Angel Asturias won the prize in 1967. Poet Pablo Neruda, also from Chile and known for his romantic poetry received the prestigious award in 1971.

The 1982 Nobel prize went to Colombian Gabriel Garcia Márquez, author of One hundred years of solitude among many other works. Poet Octavio Paz, born in Mexico, became the recipient in 1990. Among his work, the Labyrinth of solitude and Sun stone. Peruvian novelist and essayist Mario Vargas Llosa, was the recipient in 2010. Some of his best-known works, like Pantaleón y las visitadoras [Pantaleón and the visitors] were adapted for the movie screen.

Hispanic Women poets

The extensive legacy of Hispanic women authors encompasses all the literary genres. The long tradition of women writers can be traced to the 17th Century with the poetry of Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, a Mexican nun considered by many as a scholar and an exceptional writer.  The poetry of Lola Rodriguez de Tió led her to become the first Puerto Rican woman to be recognized as a talented writer throughout 19th Century Latin America.

The poetry of 20th century Uruguayan writer, Juana de Ibarbourou, continues today as one of the most emblematic. Called Juana de America [Juana of America], she is recognized for her lyricism and sensitive writing style that gained her the distinction of being nominated four times for the Nobel prize in literature.

Hispanic Children’s literature authors

Many Hispanic writers have shared their voices writing for the youngest ones. Some of the names in this growing list of Hispanic children’s literature authors include Matt de la Pena, author of Last stop on Market Street, the first book authored by a Hispanic to win the prestigious Newbery award. Pat Mora has extensively written for children with titles such as The rainbow tulip and Pablo’s tree. Alma Flor Ada’s stories I love Saturday y Domingos and My name is Maria Isabel are two among her many books. Gary Soto’s Too many tamales gives insights into Hispanic traditions. A similar line is found in the writings of Lulu Delacre  author of  Arroz con leche: Popular songs and rhymes from Latin America and Salsa stories.