Tag Archives: Gabrriela Mistral

Happy Birthday, Gabriela Mistral!

Poet Gabriela Mistral was born on this day in 1889 in Vicuña, Chile, and died in 1956. She is the only Latina – and one of a dozen Latinos – to win the Nobel Prize in Literature.

Her first books covered mourning the loss of loved ones – Sonetos de la muerte, released in 1914 and inspired by the death of her lover, and Desolación (Despair), published in 1922. But the former schoolteacher is best known for her poems that touch on the subjects of children and motherhood, such as in the book Ternura (Tenderness).

Her legacy lives on in the Gabriela Mistral Foundation, which funds grants to Chilean children in need. Mistral is even the subject of her own children’s book, My Name Is Gabriela: The Life of Gabriela Mistral, written by Monica Brown.

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Filed under Author Profiles, Poetry

Latinos and the Nobel Prize

Sometime this month, the Nobel Prize will be awarded for literature. Only a dozen of the 107 recipients – including 2010 recipient, Peruvian Mario Vargas Llosa (right) – have Hispanic and/or Latino roots.

The Nobel Prize is considered the most prestigious literary award in the world, given for lifetime achievement. So, who are some possible Latino contenders for the Nobel? Chile’s Isabel Allende seems like a great candidate – she has accumulated a large amount of work with critical acclaim. Other possible contenders could include Oscar Hijuelos and Victor Villasenor (as Felix Sanchez noted in this Huffington Post article about the Kennedy Center honors).

But since Llosa won his award fairly recently, the committee may give the honor to a writer from another part of the world. The committee can be unpredictable, as The Guardian pointed out in a recent article: “Some of their choices are so leftfield as to barely register.” The Washington Post speculates that Canadian Margaret Atwood, Syrian Adonis or American Phillip Roth could win the literary prize. By the way, no American has won the award since Toni Morrison took the prize in1993.

Here’s a list at the past Latino Nobel Prize winners. Click on this link to learn more about them.

1904 – José Echegaray, Spain

1922 – Jacinto Benavente, Spain

1945 – Gabriela Mistral, Chile

1956 – Juan Ramón Jiménez, Spain

1967 – Miguel Ángel Asturias, Guatemala

1971 – Pablo Neruda, Chile

1977 – Vicente Aleixandre, Spain

1982 – Gabriel García Márquez, Colombia

1989 – Camilo José Cela, Spain

1990 – Octavio Paz, Mexico

1998 – José Saramago, Portugal

2010 – Mario Vargas Llosa, Peru/Spain

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Filed under Author Profiles, Awards, Fiction