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Nélida Piñón

Prince of Asturias Award for Literature 2005

Nélida Piñon (Río de Janeiro, Brazil, 1937 - Lisbon, Portugal, 2022), in the bosom of a family of Galician origins, studied journalism in the Faculty of Philosophy at Rio de Janeiro's Pontificial Catholic University, and furthered her studies at the University of Columbia, U.S.A. She inaugurated the first Chair in Literary Creation at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro in 1970, and held the Dr. Henry King Stanford Chair in Humanities at the University of Miami (1990 - 2003). She has also lectured at universities in France, Spain and Peru, as well as being a regular contributor to the Brazilian media. She began to write at the tender age of ten and was acclaimed worldwide in 1961 when she published 'Guide Map of Archangel Gabriel', a novel. 'Season of Fruit' (1966), 'Founder' (1969), 'The House of Passion' (1972), 'Weapons Room' (1973), 'Thebes of my Heart' (1974), 'The Force of Destiny' (1977), 'The Republic of Dreams' (1984), 'The Presumed Heart of America' (2002) and 'Voices of the Desert' (2004) all figure outstandingly amongst her literary production.

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A stalwart of human rights, particularly women's rights, she has been dubbed Brazil's best writer by the New York Review of Books, and the journal World Literature Today dedicated its first issue of 2005 to her. She has been a member of the Brazilian Academy of Letters since 1989, and also chaired the institution for a year (1996 - 1997), thereby becoming the first woman to hold the post in its hundred years of history, and the first woman in the world to chair a national literary academy. She has also been a corresponding member of the Academy of Sciences of Lisbon since 1999. She was elected member of the Brazilian Academy of Philosophy in 2004. In her work as an academic, she has stood out for her efforts to forge closer links between the Spanish - and Portuguese - speaking literary communities. Nélida Piñon is also doctor honoris causa at such universities as Poitiers (France), Montreal (Canada), and Santiago de Compostela (1995), where she became the first woman to receive such an accolade in five hundred years.

She has received honorary distinctions and many literary accolades, including Brazil's Walmap Prize, the Mario Andrade, the Pen Club Award, the Juan Rulfo literary award, the Jorge Isaacs Ibero-American Narrative Award (2001), the Rosalía de Castro Award, the Menéndez Pelayo International Prize, and Brazil's Association of Art Critics' Award for her novel, 'The Republic of Dreams', which is inspired by her outlook on Galician emigration to Brazil. She also holds Portugal's Don Alfonso Enrique Medal, and Chile's Gabriella Mistral Medal. She boasts the Medal of the Orden de Río Branco, awarded by the President of the Republic of Brazil. In 2000, she was given the Isabel la Católica Award. The government of Río de Janeiro bestowed the Order of Feminine Merit on her in 2004. In 2007, she was elected a corresponding member of the Mexican Academy of the Spanish Language.

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