Mexican Journalist & Author Elena Poniatowska Wins 2013 Cervantes Prize

Image Elena Poniatowska
Book Cover Image: Massacre in Mexico Book Cover Image: Here's to You, Jesusa! Book Cover Image: The Skin of the Sky

This week Mexican journalist and author Elena Poniatowska became the fourth woman, first Mexican woman, and fifth Mexican to win the highest literary honor in the Spanish-speaking world, the 2013 Cervantes Prize (Premio Cervantes).

She is recognized for her lifelong career as a journalist, essayist, novelist and poet whose work addresses Mexican socio-political movements and themes, many focusing on history and the disenfranchised and poor.

In our collection, we have these titles in English:

  • Massacre in Mexico (La noche de Tlatelolco) which exposed the 1968 massacre of 325 unarmed students protesting police repression in the Plaza de las Tres Culturas in the Tlatelolco area of Mexico City, one week prior to the 1968 Olympics.
  • Here's to You, Jesusa! (Hasta no verte, Jesús Mío in Obras reunidas II: Novelas I), Poniatowska's best-known novel which recounts the life of a woman born in Oaxaca in the early 1900s, from early losses as a child through her work as a maid and then as one of the many soldaderas, women soldiers in the Mexican Revolution. The novel serves as a lens through which to view the immense changes that took place in 20th century Mexico.
  • The Skin of the Sky (La piel del cielo), winner of the Premio Alfaguara in 2001, a story of a Mexican astronomer, a man caught between traditional Mexico and the movement of the country into a modern era.
  • Dear Diego (Querido Diego, te abraza Quiela in Obras reunidas I: Narrativa breve) a fictional account of Mexican muralist Diego Rivera's relationship with his first wife, the Russian painter Angelina Beloff, as recreated from his letters.
  • Tinisima, the story of the dramatic life of Tina Modotti, an Italian refugee and accomplished photographer who portrayed Mexico's working class in the 1920s, became a member of Mexico's Communist Party and was eventually deported--fleeing to the U.S.S.R.
  • Guerrero Viejo: Essay Non-circulating Reference Item.

We have these works in Spanish, including a collection of three novels and another with short stories.

As a winner of the Cervantes Prize, she is in illustrious company, joining Mexican writers Carlos Fuentes, José Emilio Pacheco, Octavio Paz, and Sergio Pitol, plus other Cervantes Prize-winning notables of Spanish-language letters.

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