Ana María Matute

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Ana María Matute
Ana María Matute.jpg
Born(1925-07-26)26 July 1925
Barcelona, Spain
Died25 June 2014(2014-06-25) (aged 88)
Resting placeCemetery of Montjuïc
OrganizationMember of the Real Academia Española
AwardsCervantes Prize

Ana María Matute Ausejo (26 July 1925 – 25 June 2014) was an internationally acclaimed Spanish writer and member of the Real Academia Española.[1][2] The third woman to receive the Cervantes Prize for her literary oeuvre, she is considered one of the foremost novelists of the posguerra, the period immediately following the Spanish Civil War.[3]


Matute was born on 26 July 1925.[4] 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 her 1961 collection Historias de la Artámila ("Stories from Artámila"), 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.[5]

Matute was ten years old when the Spanish Civil War broke out in 1936, and this internecine 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".[6]

The war resulted in Francisco Franco's rise to power, starting in 1936 and escalating until 1939, when the Nationales won the war and Franco established the Francoist State, which lasted thirty-six years, until his death in 1975. Since Matute matured as a writer in this posguerra period under Franco's State, some of the most recurrent themes in her works are violence, alienation, misery, and especially the loss of innocence.[5][6] Her work was sometimes censored by the Francoist State, and at least once she was fined because of her writings.[4]

She published her first story, "The Boy Next Door," when she was only 17 years old.[4] Matute was 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.[7] She was outspoken about subjects such as the benefits of emotional suffering, the constant changing of a human being, and how innocence is never completely lost.[8]

Matute was a university professor. She studied at the international school at Hilversum, Netherlands, and traveled to various countries as a lecturer or guest instructor. Her academic work in the United States spanned four decades, beginning as early as 1966 when she spoke at Our Lady of Cincinnati College.[9]

She lectured at the Tatem Arts Center of Hood College in Maryland on 28 April 1969.[9] In 1978, she was a visiting professor at the University of Virginia.[10] She was invited to speak at Brigham Young University in Utah[11] on 12 March 1990, where she gave a lecture on "Working the Craft of Translation" in Spanish.[12] She was also a guest lecturer at the universities of Oklahoma, Indiana and Virginia.[citation needed]

She was an honorary member of the Hispanic Society of America[13] and a member of the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese.

She won the Premio Nadal in 1958 for the first novel of the trilogy, Los Mercaderes.[4] Her other literary prizes included the Planeta Prize and the Café Gijón Prize.[14]


On 25 June 2014, Matute died of a heart attack at the age of 88,[15][16] and was laid to rest on the Cemetery of Montjuïc.Barcelona.


Matute's bibliography includes:[17][18][19][20][21]


  • (1948) Los Abel (finalist for Premio Nadal)
  • (1949) Luciérnagas (blocked by censors, republished as En esta tierra in 1955) (semifinalist for Premio Nadal)
  • (1953) Fiesta al noroeste (translated as Celebration in the Northwest) (Premio Café Gijón)
  • (1954) Pequeño teatro (Premio Planeta)
  • (1955) En esta tierra (republished as Luciérnagas in 1993, translated as Fireflies)
  • (1958) Los hijos muertos (Premio de la Crítica, Premio Nacional de Literatura)
  • The semiautobiographical trilogy collected as Los mercaderes (1977):
    • (1960) Primera memoria (translated as School of the Sun) (Premio Nadal)
    • (1964) Los soldados lloran de noche (translated as Soldiers Cry By Night) (Premio Fastenrath)
    • (1969) La trampa (translated as The Trap)
  • (1964) Algunos muchachos
  • The medieval trilogy:
    • (1971) La torre vigía
    • (1996) Olvidado Rey Gudú (Premio de RNE Ojo Crítico Especial)
    • (2000) Aranmanoth
  • (2001) En el tren
  • (2008) Paraíso habitado
  • (2014) Demonios familiares (posthumous)

Story collections[edit]

  • (1953) La pequeña vida (later republished as El tiempo)
  • (1957) El tiempo
  • (1956) Los niños tontos
  • (1961) El arrepentido y otras narraciones
  • (1961) Historias de la Artámila
  • (1961) Tres y un sueño
  • (1961) Libro de juegos para los niños de los otros
  • (1963) El río (columns from weekly magazine Destino)
  • (1989) The Heliotrope Wall and Other Stories (translated by Michael Scott Doyle)
  • (1990) La virgen de Antioquía y otros relatos
  • (1991) El árbol de oro
  • (1993) De ninguna parte (Premio del Concurso Antonio Machado de Narraciones Breves)
  • (1997) Casa de juegos prohibidos (selected and introduced by Pedro Manuel Víllora)
  • (1998) Los de la tienda; El maestro; La brutalidad del mundo
  • (2000) Todos mis cuentos
  • (2002) Cuentos de infancia (collection of stories written as a child)
  • (2011) Las Artámilas
  • (2014) Demonios familiares
  • (2010) La puerta de la luna: Cuentos completos

Novels and stories for children[edit]

  • (1956) El país de la pizarra
  • (1960) Paulina, el mundo y las estrellas (Ministerio de Cultura libro de interés juvenil)
  • (1961) El saltamontes verde
  • (1961) El caballito loco
  • (1965) El Polizón Del Ulises (Premio Nacional de Literatura Infantil Lazarillo)
  • (1972) El aprendiz
  • (1972) Carnavalito
  • (1983) Sólo un pie descalzo (Premio Nacional de Literatura Infantil y Juvenil)
  • (1994) La oveja negra
  • (1995) El verdadero final de la Bella Durmiente (Premio Ciudad de Barcelona)
  • (2003) Tolín


  • (1961) A la mitad del camino (columns from the newspaper Solidaridad Nacional and weekly magazine Destino)
  • (2004) Suiza y la migración


  1. ^ Fiona Ortiz (25 June 2014). "Novelist Ana Maria Matute dies at 88". Washington Post. Reuters. Retrieved 26 June 2014.
  2. ^ "Ana Maria Matute, Spanish novelast, dies aged 88". BBC. 25 June 2014. Retrieved 26 June 2014.
  3. ^ "Estoy cansada de repetirlo: tengo 85 años, nací en 1925 y no en 1926 como se emperran en decir", El País, 16 November 2010.
  4. ^ a b c d William Yardley (27 July 2014). "Ana Maria Matute, Novelist, Dies at 88". The New York Times. Retrieved 4 July 2014.
  5. ^ 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.
  6. ^ a b Ballesteros, Jose; Mark Harpring; Francisca Paredes Mendezson Heinle (2005). Voces de España: AntologÃa Literaria. ISBN 0-7593-9666-3.
  7. ^ "Ana Maria Matute (Spanish author)". 26 July 1925. Retrieved 27 June 2014.
  8. ^ "Members of RAE". Real Academia Espanola. Archived from the original on 3 November 2013. Retrieved 16 April 2013.
  9. ^ a b "News in Brief". The Morning Herald. Hagerstown, Maryland. 21 April 1969. p. 15 – via
  10. ^ "Visiting Professors (1979-present)". University of Virginia. 20 August 2015. Retrieved 11 February 2017.
  11. ^ "AWARD-WINNING SPANISH NOVELIST WILL TALK AT BYU". 9 March 1990. Retrieved 11 February 2017.
  12. ^ Michael Scott Doyle (1993). "Translating Matute's Algunos Muchachos: Applied Critical Reading and Forms of Fidelity in The Heliotrope Wall and Other Stories".Translation Review. Schulte, Rainer and Dennis Kratz (eds.); ISSN 0737-4836. p. 30.
  13. ^ "Ana María Matute discusses her Life and 'Worlds of Fiction'". 19 October 2011. Retrieved 27 June 2014.
  14. ^ Barcelona, Universitat Autonoma de. "Ana María Matute discusses her Life and 'Worlds of Fiction'". Retrieved 11 February 2017.
  15. ^ Sergi Doria (25 June 2014). "Muere la escritora Ana María Matute". ABC.
  16. ^ Ana Maria Matute: Author who suffered under Franco and was acclaimed for her lyrical depictions of Spanish life in the Civil War,; accessed 15 June 2017.
  17. ^ "Cronología de obras de Ana María Matute – Departamento de Bibliotecas y Documentación del IC". August 2016. Retrieved 1 June 2018.
  18. ^ "Premios de Ana María Matute – Departamento de Bibliotecas y Documentación del IC". August 2016. Retrieved 1 June 2018.
  19. ^ Antonio Ayuso Pérez (29 June 2015). "Las colaboraciones en prensa de Ana María Matute (2). La columna «A la mitad del camino» en Destino". Retrieved 1 June 2018.
  20. ^ "Cuentos infantiles de Ana María Matute". 25 October 2014. Retrieved 1 June 2018.
  21. ^ "Ana María Matute". 25 June 2014. Retrieved 1 June 2018.

External links[edit]