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Francisco Umbral

Prince of Asturias Award for Literature 1996

Francisco Umbral -Francisco Pérez Martínez (Madrid, Spain, 1935 - Madrid, Spain, 2007 ), even though Valladolid is a "central coordinate" in his work. Self-educated, he met Miguel Delibes and, under his influence, took what were to be his first steps in journalism in "El norte de Castilla". At the start of the sixties he moved to Madrid where he began to frequent the gatherings in the café Gijón and to collaborate in some magazines such as "La estafeta literaria" and "Mundo Hispánico", later going on to the newspaper "Ya".

Among the media in which he collaborated are the magazine "Interviú" and the newspapers "El País", "Diario 16" and "El Mundo". He published more than seventy books, outstanding among which are titles such as "Larra, anatomía de un dandy", "Lorca, poeta maldito", "Amar en Madrid", "Diccionario Cheli", "Las ninfas", "Madrid 1940. Memorias de un joven fascista" and "Las palabras de la tribu". Umbral was a writer who is difficult to classify although, according to many critics, he was outstanding because of his extraordinary capacity to create stunning images and startling metaphors, and also his agility in narration, his rich and biting baroque language and his sense of humour and irony.

Among the prizes which he attained throughout his career we can highlight the Gabriel Miró National prize for short stories (1964), the Carlos Arniches from the Sociedad General de Autores (1975) and the Eugenio Nadal for novels with "Las ninfas". He has also been the César Ruano prizewinner for journalism in 1980, runner-up for the Planeta in 1985 with his novel "Pío XII, la escolta mora y el general sin un ojo", the Mariano de Cavia prizewinner for journalism in 1990 and the 1991 Critics prizewinner with "Leyenda del César visionario". He has also received the Antonio Machado prize for short stories with "Tatuaje" (1990) and the 1995 Francisco Cerecedo prize from the Asociación de Periodistas Europeos.

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