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Spanish-speaking winners of the Nobel Prize for Literature

With the awarding of the 2010 Nobel Prize for Literature to Mario Vargas Llosa of Peru, a total of 11 Spanish-speaking writers have won the award, five from Spain and the rest from Latin America.

Here is a short factfile:


— Mario Vargas Llosa, Peru.

Prolific 74-year-old novelist who once ran for the president of his country. The Nobel committee hailed “his cartography of structures of power and his trenchant images of the individual’s resistance, revolt, and defeat.”


— Octavio Paz, Mexico:

Poet, novelist and diplomat who wins the prize at age 76, and dies in 1998. The Committee cites his “impassioned writing with wide horizons, characterized by sensuous intelligence and humanistic integrity.”


— Camilo Jose Cela, Spain:

Novelist, poet, essayist and travel writer who wins the award at 63, and dies in 2002. The Nobel Committee praises “a rich and intensive prose, which with restrained compassion forms a challenging vision of man’s vulnerability.”


— Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Colombia:

His “Hundred Years of Solitude” is the best-known of all Latin American novels, and has sold some 30 million copies worldwide. “The fantastic and the realistic are combined in a richly composed world of imagination,” said the committee. Garcia Marquez is 54 when he wins the prize.


— Vicente Aleixandre, Spain:

Poet who wins the prize at age 79, and dies in 1984. Honored “for a creative poetic writing which illuminates man’s condition in the cosmos and in present-day society.”


— Pablo Neruda, Chile:

The most famous Chilean poet, who wins the prize at age 67, and dies in 1973, just 12 days after his country’s democratic government is overthrown and replaced by a military dictatorship.

The Nobel Committee praises “poetry that with the action of an elemental force brings alive a continent’s destiny and dreams.”


— Miguel Angel Asturias, Guatemala:

Student of his country’s native Indian populations, who works for many years in France and wins the prize at age 67. Is honored for “his vivid literary achievement, deep-rooted in the national traits and traditions of Indian peoples of Latin America.” Dies in 1974.


— Juan Ramon Jimenez, Spain:

Lyrical poet who leads a revival of Spanish literature. Wins the prize at age 66 and dies two years later.

The committee praises him for “lyrical poetry, which in Spanish language constitutes an example of high spirit and artistical purity.”


— Gabriela Mistral, Chile:

Poet who becomes the fifth woman to carry off the prize at at age 47, and also leads a diplomatic career. Dies in 1957; is cited by the Nobel Committee for “her lyric poetry which… has made her name a symbol of the idealistic aspirations of the entire Latin American world.”


— Jacinto Benavente, Spain:

Playwright and poet renowned for the purity of his style. Wins the Nobel Prize at 56, and dies in 1954.

Is cited for “the happy manner in which he has continued the illustrious traditions of Spanish drama.”


— Jose Echegaray y Eizaguirre, Spain (with Frederic Mistral of France):

Romantic playwright who also had a career as a scientist and government minister. Wins the award at 82, and dies in 1916.

Is praised by the Nobel Committee for “the numerous and brilliant compositions which, in an individual and original manner, have revived the great traditions of the Spanish drama.”