The Best Latin American writers in history

Latin American writers

The Latin American writers have been unknown until the beginning of the twentieth century, where his work was totally strange and little known to the general public. However, there are authors of Latin American literature – poets, novelists, essayists – who have influenced the world for their beauty and originality.

The Latin American boom and the post-Macondian novel earned a place in the literary world and created expectations thanks to its various currents, such as renovating realism, antinovel and magical realism , whose top novel was published in 1967 by Gabriel García Márquez. One Hundred Years of Soledad by the great ‘Gabo’ marked a milestone in Latin American literature and meant the Nobel Prize for Literature for its author.

List of Latin American writers who have made history

Gabriel García Márquez (1927-2014)

Colombian journalist and writer, he is perhaps the author most recognized for his magnificent work One Hundred Years of Solitude . His novels also included  The Colonel Has No One Writes Him , Chronicle of a Death Foretold , Love in the Times of Cholera , among others.

Leopoldo Marechal (1900-1970)

Leopoldo Marechal was the author of Adán Buenosayres , a modern and classic work on the metaphysical sufferings of an avant-garde writer. It is an antinovela or contranovela, since it can be read and interpreted from two points of view.

Marechal was also a playwright and essayist. After the fall of Peronism in 1955, Marechal’s works were banned due to his support for the regime and became popular only in the last decades of the 20th century.

Mario Vargas Llosa (1936-present)

The novelist and essayist Mario Vargas Llosa, winner of the 2010 Nobel Prize for Literature, is also one of the most important representatives of the Latin American boom.

His novels, such as The City and the Dogs and The Goat Party , have been critically acclaimed and the latter was brought to the big screen. This tells the story of the Dominican dictator Rafael Leónidas Trujillo and the butterflies, three sisters who opposed his regime and were cruelly murdered.

Vargas Llosa is a very controversial public figure due to his political activity and his private life. In 1990 he tried unsuccessfully to become president of Peru, his country of origin.

Jorge Luis Borges

Argentine Jorge Luis Borges was an essayist, short story writer and poet. It is considered that his unorthodox positions did not allow him to win the Nobel Prize for Literature, to which he was nominated for more than 30 years.

He is considered a scholar for the variety of his works, ranging from short stories and novels to studies and essays on history, literature, and politics. His most prominent book is Ficciones , which was considered one of the 100 best of the 20th century.

Isabel Allende

Another prominent Chilean writer is Isabel Allende. His bestseller The House of Spirits has sold more than 56 million copies. This writer, currently based in California, lived in Venezuela after her family went into exile when Salvador Allende passed away.

The work Paula is the story of the Allende family, which Isabel wrote to her daughter when she became ill and later died in Spain. Two of his works, La casa de los espíritus and De amor y de sombra , have been brought to the big screen.

Pablo Neruda (1904-1973)

Pablo Neruda is one of the most influential poets of the 20th century, and was also a Nobel Prize winner for Literature in 1971. His work Twenty love poems and a desperate song is one of the best-selling books written in Spanish.

Another important work is Canto General in which Neruda reflects the cosmogony of the American peoples. He is considered one of the most versatile poets, since his works ranged from love to humor, such as, for example, his Elemental Odes .

José Lezama (1910-1976)

He is considered the main representative of the American neo-baroque. His works include  Paradiso, The American Expression and Death of Narcissus .

Octavio Paz (1914-1998)

“A lot of light is like a lot of shadow: it doesn’t let you see,” Octavio Paz, a Mexican writer, winner of the 1990 Nobel Prize in Literature, once said. This poet and essayist was also an ambassador for his country in India, but resigned after the Tlatelolco massacre in 1968.

Paz was a bold poet , who liked to experiment. This led him to study and write following the canons of poetic genres of different countries, such as Japanese haiku. Many consider that understanding the poetry of Octavio Paz is understanding the Mexican idiosyncrasy.

José Donoso (19241 -1996)

Touching on social problems such as prostitution, José Donoso’s works El lugar sin Límites and El obscene bird of the night show the complex interactions between the rich and the poor, the north and the south, the country and the city, the lawyers and the communities. rural and popular culture.

The work Correr el dense veil , written by his adopted daughter Pilar Donoso, tells us how this formidable Chilean author wrote his works.

Alejo Carpentier (19042 -1980)

Although Alejo Carpentier was born in Lausanne (Switzerland), he spent part of his life in Cuba and notably influenced Latin American literature.

One of his best-known works is  The Kingdom of this World,  an X-ray of Latin American culture. This novel, which deals with historical themes such as the Haitian Revolution, is full of magic and romanticism.

Carpentier masterfully reflects in his work the African heritage of the peoples of the Caribbean. On the other hand, in his work El Siglo de las Luces , Carpentier talks about the influence of the French Revolution in the Caribbean region. His works are not just fiction, but important historical sources.

Elena Poniatowska (1932-present)

Although Elena was born in France, she came to Mexico at the age of 10 and has dual citizenship: French and Mexican.

Elena Poniatowska Amor has stood out for her historical novels such as La noche de Tlatelolco: Oral History Testimony , dedicated to the massacre of the students who protested in the Plaza de las Tres Cultures on October 2, 1968. The Best Latin American writers in history

Ernesto Sábato (1911-2011)

Argentine writer, physicist and painter. Ernesto Sábato’s work On heroes and tombs , which was partially made into the cinema by his son Mario Sabato in the film The Power of Darkness , is considered one of the best Argentine novels of the 20th century.

Fernando del Paso (1935-2018)

Another interesting author is Fernando del Paso, with his works Palínuro de México , José Trigo and Noticias del Imperio . Del Paso pays special attention in his works to the history of Mexico.

In 2015 he received the Cervantes Prize. He is considered one of the most important representatives of the new Latin American historical novel due to the detail of his works.

Miguel Ángel Asturias (1899-1974)

The 1967 Nobel Prize in Literature, Miguel Ángel Asturias, in his work Señor Presidente denounces the cruelties, corruption and injustice of the dictatorship of Manuel Estrada Cabrera, who ruled the country from 1898 to 1920.

This surreal and magical novel captures in its pages the relative passing of time during the dictatorship, in which “nothing really changed”.

The story shows how only the President could decide what was true and what was not, and how other characters assumed this truth even if it contradicted what their eyes saw.

Carlos Fuentes (1928-2012)

The Most Transparent Region , The Death of Artemio Cruz and other novels by the Mexican writer Carlos Fuentes are required reading. This novelist, screenwriter and politician was one of the most prolific authors of the 20th century in Latin America.

His novels are full of cultural references that allow the reader to soak up Mexican and Latin American culture. His novels are avant-garde and complex.

Jorge Isaacs (1837-1895)

The romantic and traditional novel María by the Colombian writer Jorge Issacs tells the story of two teenagers in love and their adventures, set in a region that could be anywhere in Colombia, and even Latin America.

This novel talks about idyllic and unattainable love, and is full of little stories about other couples, hunting and other economic activities.

In general, the novel is a song of love and lack of love, but it shows the way of life on a New World hacienda and important aspects that qualify it as a manners.

Miguel Otero Silva (1908-1985)

One of the most outstanding social novels is When I want to cry I do not cry by the Venezuelan writer Miguel Otero Silva. Silva tells the story of three young people with the same name, date of birth and day of death, but with very different life stories.

One is a common criminal, another is a guerrilla and the last one is a member of a gang of “riquitos.” This story is not out of date and reflects the inequality that still prevails in the region.

Another novel by Silva is  Casas Muertas , which reflects the transformation of Latin American peoples due to the interests of foreigners.

Jorge Enrique Adoum

The Ecuadorian writer Jorge Enrique Adoum stood out for his work Between Marx and a Naked Woman , which deals with different social issues. The work of Adoum, also a politician and diplomat, was brought to the big screen by the Ecuadorian director Camilo Luzuriaga.

Jorge Icaza

The novel by the Ecuadorian writer Jorge Icaza Coronel entitled Huasipungo is one of the main ones of the indigenous movement, which precedes magical realism. The story reflects the life of the Huasipungos Indians in the first half of the 20th century.

The huasipungos were the Indians entrusted to a territory and its owner. This novel shows the cruelty of colonization and Christianization in Latin America.

Gabriela Mistral

Chilean Gabriela Mistral is the only woman from a Spanish-speaking country to have received the Nobel Prize for Literature (1945). In his works he dealt with themes such as love, death and motherhood. He distinguished himself by the use of colloquial language in his works, which he preferred over the formal use of language.

Juan Rulfo

Juan Rulfo’s novel Pedro Páramo has been one of the most influential in Latin American literature. Despite the fact that the Mexican Juan Rulfo did not write many novels and stood out mainly for the aforementioned Pedro Páramo and El llano en llamas , it is considered that his work ended the Latin American revolutionary novel.

Rulfo was also a screenwriter and photographer. Scholars consider that the reason why he stopped writing novels was to avoid the suffering of evoking reality.

Augusto Roa Bastos

Author of the “Paraguayan Trilogy”, Augusto Roa Bastos was one of the most prominent writers of the 20th century in Latin America. In his novel Yo el Supremo , Roa recounts the life of Paraguayan dictator José Gaspar Rodríguez de Francia, who ruled the country for 26 years. Roa’s works vindicate Paraguay as a bilingual country, whose second language is Guaraní.

Juan Carlos Onetti

In the novels El Pozo and La vida breve , the Uruguayan Juan Carlos Onetti shows us how people escape from reality. In his novels, heroes and their nemesis represent the light and dark sides of the human being.

Julio Cortazar

La Hopscotch , a masterpiece of the antinovela genre, plays with the reader. It tells the story of Horacio Oliveira’s relationship with La Maga. The Argentine author, emblematic where they exist, made his surrealist works an invitation to choose a reading style and an ending.

José Eugenio Díaz Castro (1803-1865)

Another romantic novel is Manuela , written by Colombian author José Eugenio Díaz Castro. The novel tells the story of a peasant woman who went to work in a tobacco factory. This novel was brought to the small screen and its director endeavored to recreate the customs described in the book with rigor.

This story is considered a historical source for its rich and detailed description of the time. The novel was one of the most acclaimed of its time and was well received internationally.

Luis Rafael Sánchez (1936-present)

Puerto Rican Luis Rafael Sánchez is the author of  La guaracha del Macho Camach o, a novel that tells the story of people who represent different social classes and their interactions, while they wait for a traffic jam to pass in the streets of a city in Puerto Rico.

Sánchez is a short story writer, playwright and essayist. One of the central themes of his works is the Americanization of Puerto Rico. This fighter in defense of the roots of his people managed to get the RAE to add the term “Puerto Ricanness” to the dictionary in 2016.

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