Spanish Literature

This article is focused on Spanish-language literature rather than the literature of Spain, so that it includes writers from Spain and Latin America.


Spanish and Latin American writers have a long literary tradition both in Spain as well as in countries of Latin America. Miguel de Cervantes, author of one of the most important books in international literature, El ingenioso hidalgo Don Quijote de la Mancha (The Ingenious Hidalgo Don Quixote of La Mancha); or Colombian Nobel Prize winner Gabriel García Márquez, writer of Cien Años de Soledad (One Hundred Years of Solitude) are writers whose names, among others, are fabled around the world.

Artists, and especially writers, use words as the main tool to create their work. So, when we study a new tongue, we must also get to know its main literary works, which have contributed to the evolution of the language. The Spanish language would not be as it is now if Miguel de Cervantes had not written El Quijote, his masterpiece. This novel has contributed with a lot of sayings and idioms that are still used in the spoken Spanish language that we use today.

In this section, we have included some basic details about some essential writers in the Spanish language. Click on their names to find more information.

Miguel de Cervantes (September 29, 1547)

This Spanish author is one of the most relevant in all the history of international literature. It was thanks to his work Don Quijote de la Mancha that he began to spread his works throughout the world. So much so, that this work is, as some say, the second most translated work only behind the Bible.

Federico García Lorca (June 5, 1898)

Federico García Lorca is one of the most important Spanish poets ever. It belonged to the so-called Generation of 27, but was shot during the Spanish Civil War. Some of his outstanding works are Gypsy Ballads (Spanish: Romancero Gitano) and Poet in New York (Spanish: Poeta en Nueva York).

Jorge Luis Borges (August 24, 1899)

Poet, essayist, narrator and one of the best known writers of the entire history of the Argentinian literature: Jorge Luis Borges. The Garden of Forking Paths (Spanish: El jardín de senderos que se bifurcan) and El Aleph are two of his most famous works, but you will find dozens of his texts that will make you love his writing at the same time you discover the Argentinian culture.

Julio Cortázar (August 26, 1914)

He was born in Belgium, grew up in Argentina and lived half of his life in France. House Taken Over (Spanish: Casa tomada) and Rayuela are two of Julio Cortázar's many works that show the great culture and wisdom that this author possesses. In addition, for staying firm in his political ideas, contrary to the government, he spent a short time in jail.

Gabriel García Márquez (March 6, 1927)

Gabriel García Márquez was the father of magical realism and an artist presenting fantastic elements as typical of everyday life. Gabriel García Márquez showed the wonders of Colombia to the world through One Hundred Years of Solitude (Spanish: Cien años de soledad), among many other works.

Mario Vargas Llosa (March 28, 1936)

He decided to devote his life to writing as a way to flee to the authoritarianism of his father. Such was his dedication that, in 2010, he received the Nobel Prize for Literature. Among its wide collection, we must discover works such as The Time of the Hero (Spanish: La ciudad y los perros) or Conversation in the Cathedral (Spanish: Conversación en la catedral). He is one of the best known writers in Peru.

Isabel Allende (August 2, 1942)

Through the genre of magical realism, the works of this author modified a great sensitivity for the political and social conditions that prevail in her country . He was born in Peru, but lived in Chile until she made California his home. You can learn many more about her by reading The House of the Spirits (Spanish: La casa de los espíritus) or Island Beneath the Sea (Spanish: La isla bajo el mar).

Laura Esquivel (September 30, 1950)

Laura Esquivel is one of the best known authors in Mexico. She was a children's teacher before becoming a writer. She discovered her true vocation by writing plays for her students. Among all her works, we must read Like Water for Chocolate (Spanish: Como agua para chocolate), which won the Book of the Year Award from the American Booksellers and has been translated to more than thirty languages.