Colombian Literature

For hundreds of years, literature has been a way for Colombian authors to comment on or condemn politics, religion, and other cultural aspects.

Colombian literature is as varied and changing as the country's history, where writers have a tradition of including strong political and cultural opinions in their works.

Under Spanish rule, the main topic of Colombian literature was religion. In 1588 Juan de Castellanos wrote the longest Spanish language poem ever penned: Elegías de Varones Ilustres de Indias. During the independence movement in the early 1800s, Colombian writers were politically outspoken. In 1871 the Colombian government established the first Academy of the Spanish language on the American continent. Tomas Carrasquilla and Jorge Isaacs were part of the costumbrista literature movement in the late 19th and early 20th centuries depicting peasant life and societal injustice, and poets Jose Eustasio Rivera and Leon de Greiff championed the following modernismo literary movement.

Industrialization in Latin American during the 20th century was reflected in Colombian literature, and the violent events during the 1940s and 50s resulted in the Nothing-ist movement, made famous by Colombian writer Gonzalo Arango.  The Latin American Boom of the 1960s saw works from young Latin American authors circulated throughout the world. Nobel Literature Prize winner Gabriel García Márquez is an internationally acclaimed Colombian author from this time; Love in the Time of Cholera and One Hundred Years of Solitude remain some of the most famous Colombian novels.