Latinos and writing are a couple made in heaven. Our passion and heritage provide for fantastic literary universes once and again recognized worldwide. We have among us countless great prose writers and poets, but these eight are perhaps the crème de la crème of Latino writers — ever.
8 of the best Latino writers
Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Gabriel Garcia Marquez, also known as Gabo, is a Colombian novelist, short-story writer and journalist. He is one of the most significant Latino writers of the 20th century known for popularizing a literary style labeled as magic realism, which treats magical elements and events as ordinary life situations. Garcia Marquez was awarded with the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1982. Among all his work, he is best known for his novels, such as “One Hundred Years of Solitude” (1967), “Autumn of the Patriarch” (1975) and “Love in the Time of Cholera” (1985).
Mario Vargas Llosa
Mario Vargas Llosa is a Peruvian-Spanish writer — plus a politician, journalist and essayist. He won the 2010 Nobel Prize in Literature and is one of Latin America’s most significant writers — if not the one who has had the largest international impact. Vargas Llosa is the author of novels such as “The Time of the Hero” (“La ciudad y los perros”), “The Green House” (“La casa verde”), “Conversation in the Cathedral” (“Conversación en la catedral”) and “Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter” (“La Tía Julia y el Escribidor”).
Isabel Allende is a Chilean writer who also pens in the “magic realist” tradition — but in a very particular way where she uses her personal experience to create stories where she pays homage to the lives of brave and special women. Her unique style can be enjoyed in books like “The House of the Spirits” (“La casa de los espíritus”) and “City of the Beasts” (“La ciudad de las bestias”). In 2004, Allende was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and she received Chile’s National Literature Prize in 2010.
Jorge Luis Borges
Jorge Luis Borges was an Argentine short-story writer, essayist, poet and translator. But he was much more than that. Borges contributed to the so-called philosophical literature movement, and he became a literary icon beyond frontiers, though never recognized with a Nobel Prize. His most famous books, “Ficciones” (1944) and “The Aleph” (1949), are compilations of short, interconnected stories with common themes. In 1961, he shared the first ever Prix International with Samuel Beckett. His work has been translated and published widely across the U.S. and in Europe.
Julio Cortazar was also an Argentine novelist, short story writer, and essayist. He belonged to and was one of the founders of the Latin American Boom. Cortazar was an expert in writing short stories and influenced a whole generation of readers and writers in the Americas and Europe. This Latino writer also published relevant novels like the famous “Hopscotch” (“Rayuela”) and “Model Kit” (“Modelo para Armar”).
Carlos Fuentes was a Mexican novelist and essayist. The New York Times said about him, “He is one of the most admired authors in the Spanish-speaking world.” This great author was honored with the Miguel de Cervantes Prize as well as Mexico’s highest award, the Belisario Dominguez Medal of Honor. Fuentes, like Borges, never won the Nobel Prize in Literature — despite deserving the recognition. Among his works are “The Death of Artemio Cruz,” “Aura,” “The Old Gringo” and “Christopher Unborn.”
Juan Rulfo is another Mexican writer and photographer. Rulfo has only two books in his repertoire: the novel “Pedro Paramo” and “El Llano en Llamas,” which is a collection of short stories. Fifteen of his 17 short stories have been translated into English and published as “The Burning Plain and Other Stories.” Rulfo is an extraordinary example of how talent can be so immense that a writer’s two slim books are enough to be named him one of the most important Latino writers of the 20th century.
Ernesto Sabato was an Argentine writer labeled as the last major writer in Argentine literature. Sabato’s work includes three major novels: “El Túnel,” “Sobre héroes y tumbas” and “Abaddón el exterminador.” He is also the author of the book “Nunca Más” (“Never Again”) that he wrote as president of the CONADEP during which time there were thousands of disappearances investigated during the Dirty War (1970s). He was honored with international prizes including the Legion of Honour, the Prix Médicis and the Miguel de Cervantes Prize.