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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.

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. 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.

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