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The Princess of Asturias Foundation

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Álvaro Mutis

Prince of Asturias Award for Literature 1997

Álvaro Mutis (Bogota, Colombia, 1923 – Mexico City, Mexico, 2013) spent most of his childhood in Belgium. In 1956 he moved to Mexico, where he has lived since then. Recognized by the Spanish-speaking world´s critical establishment as one of the best poets and narrators of his generation, the Colombian Álvaro Mutis was also one of the driving forces behind the so-called "investigative journalism" while he engaged in the profession in Colombia and Mexico. He has done public relations work for companies such as Esso, Standard Oil, Panamerican, Columbia Pictures, etc.

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Like Gabriel García Márquez, he published his first works of poetry and criticism in "El Espectador" newspaper of Bogotá -winner of the 1987 Prince of Asturias Award for Communications-. Since his first book of poems, "La Balanza" (in collaboration with Carlos Patinos), was published in 1947, many more of his works of poetry have appeared, notably "Los trabajos perdidos", "Caravansay", "Los emisarios", and "Los trabajos prohibidos", in addition to novels such as "La mansión de Araucaíma", "Amirbar", "Un bel morir", and "Iona llega con la lluvia". Some of these books have been translated into various languages (English, French, Italian, German, Portuguese, etc.). In 1953 "Los elementos del desastre" was published in Buenos Aires, for the first time introducing Maqroll el Gaviero, a personage who would continue to occupy a place in almost all of Mutis´s later poetic and narrative work. In 1996 a compilation of the Maqroll stories was presented in Mexico under the title of "Empresas y tribulaciones de Maqroll el Gaviero".

Winner of France´s Prix Medicis and Colombia´s National Award for Letters, among many other honors, Álvaro Mutis was a honorary doctor of the Universidad del Valle (Colombia) and received distinctions as the Order of Arts and Letters of France, the Águila Azteca of Mexico, and the Grand Cross of Alfonso X the Wise of Spain.

Álvaro Mutis died on 23 September, 2013.

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