Ana María Matute

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Ana María Matute

Ana María Matute Ausejo (born 26 July 1925[1] in Barcelona) is an internationally acclaimed Spanish writer and member of the Real Academia Española. She was the third woman to receive the Cervantes Prize for her literary oeuvre. She is considered to be one of the best novelists of the posguerra, the period immediately following the Spanish Civil War. She studied at the international school of Hilversum in the Netherlands. She has been a guest lecturer to the universities of Oklahoma, Indiana and Virginia.


At the age of four she almost died from a chronic kidney infection, and was taken to live with her grandparents in Mansilla de la Sierra, a small town in the mountains, for a period of recovery. Matute says that she was profoundly influenced by the villagers whom she met during her time there. This influence can be seen in such works as those published in the 1961 anthology Historias de la Artamila ("Stories about the Artamila", all of which deal with the people that Matute met during her recovery). Settings reminiscent of that town are also often used as settings for her other work.[2]

She was ten years old when the Spanish Civil War broke out in 1936, and this conflict is said to have had the greatest impact on Matute's writing. She considered not only "the battles between the two factions, but also the internal aggression within each one".[3] The war resulted in Francisco Franco's rise to power, starting in 1936 and escalating until 1939, when he took control of the entire country. Franco established a dictatorship which lasted thirty-six years, until his death in 1975. The violence brought on by the war continued through much of his reign. Since Matute matured as a writer in this posguerra period under Franco's oppressive regime, some of the most recurrent themes in her works are violence, alienation, misery, and especially the loss of innocence.[2][3]

She is known for her sympathetic treatment of the lives of children and adolescents, their feelings of betrayal and isolation, and their rites of passage. She often interjected such elements as myth, fairy tale, the supernatural, and fantasy into her works.[4]

Matute is currently a university professor. She travels in various countries, especially the United States, as a lecturer. She is outspoken about subjects such as the benefits of emotional suffering, the constant changing of a human being, and how innocence is never completely lost.


Awards and honors[edit]

  • Cervantes Award
  • Hispanic Society of America
  • American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese

She was made a member of the RAE (Royal Spanish Academy) in 1998. She was the third woman to be elected as a member of the RAE.

Select List of Works[edit]

  • En esta tierra
  • Los Abel
  • El arrepentido y otras narraciones
  • Pequeño teatro
  • Los hijos muertos
  • Fiesta al noroeste (Fiesta al noroeste)
  • Historias de la Artamila
  • Don Payasito
  • Algunos muchachos
  • The semiautobiographical trilogy Los mercaderes:
    • Primera memoria
    • La trampa
    • Los soldados lloran de noche
  • Luciérnagas
  • Olvidado rey Gudú
  • Aranmanoth (novel, 2000)
  • El árbol de oro
  • Los Chicos
  • Rafael
  • El ausente
  • Bernardino
  • La Conciencia
  • El Salvamento
  • Navidad para Carnavalito
  • La Rama Seca
  • Paraíso habitado
  • El Polizón Del Ulises (novel,1965) (Premio Lazarillo)


  1. ^ "Estoy cansada de repetirlo: tengo 85 años, nací en 1925 y no en 1926 como se emperran en decir", El País, 16.11.2010.
  2. ^ a b Virgillo, Carmelo; L. Teresa Valdivieso, Edward H. Friedman (2004). Aproximaciones al estudio de la literatura hispanica. McGraw Hill. ISBN 0-07-255846-6. 
  3. ^ a b Ballesteros, Jose; Mark Harpring, Francisca Paredes Mendezson Heinle (2005). Voces de España: AntologÃa Literaria. ISBN 0-7593-9666-3. 
  4. ^
  5. ^ "Members of RAE". Real Academia Espanola. Retrieved 16 April 2013. 

External links[edit]