Miguel Angel Asturias
The Nobel Prize in Literature 1967
Born: 19 October 1899, Guatemala City, Guatemala
Died: 9 June 1974, Madrid, Spain
Residence at the time of the award: Guatemala
Prize motivation: “for his vivid literary achievement, deep-rooted in the national traits and traditions of Indian peoples of Latin America”
Prize share: 1/1
Miguel Angel Asturias grew up and studied to become a lawyer in Guatemala. He participated in founding Universidad Popular de Guatemala. He lived for 10 years in Paris and travelled as a correspondent for several Latin American newspapers in western Europe and the middle east. He also had posts as ambassador and cultural attache for Guatemala, but went into exile to Argentine in 1954. He opposed the military dictatorship in Guatemala at several occasions. Asturias was married twice and had two sons.
Miguel Angel Asturias first book Leyendas de Guatemala (1930) is a compilation of stories originating from Mayan legends. His first novel, El Senor Presidente (The President), was published 1946, and was a brutal depiction of a latin American dictatorship in the early 20th century. During the 1950s he published Viento Fuerte (Strong Wind), El Papa Verde (The Green Pope) and Los ojos de los enterrados (The Eyes of the Buried), a trilogy about the rampage of the company United Fruits in Guatemala. Asturias works are pervaded with social pathos, and a powerful language combining myth and reality.