Birthday: July 26, 1925
Who was Ana María Matute?
She was a world-renowned Spanish author and was considered one of the most prominent novelists in the period following the Spanish Civil War.
Five Facts About Ana María Matute
- She was born in Barcelona.
- She almost died of a kidney infection when she was just 4 years old.
- She was only 10 when the Spanish Civil War broke out.
- Her first story was published when she was only 17 years old.
- She traveled a lot and guest lectured at many universities.
Inspirational Quotes from Ana María Matute
“Literature is the magical meaning of life.”
“One has to fabricate their own world, we must create the steps that will move us forward, that will pull us out of the well. Let's invent life, because it ends up becoming the truth.”
“The word is the most beautiful thing that has been created, it is the most important of all what we humans have. The word is what saves us.”
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Ana María Matute’s Biography
Ana María Matute was born on July 26, 1925, in Barcelona, Spain. As a child, she constantly suffered from childhood illnesses which, combined with her family’s constant shifting from Barcelona to Madrid and the effects of the Spanish Civil War, disrupted her education greatly.
When she was 4 years old, her parents sent her to recover in a small town in the mountains called Mansilla de la Sierra due to a chronic kidney infection that almost killed her. She lived with her grandparents until she recovered.
Ana María Matute was greatly inspired by the small town’s villagers, a fact that can be seen in some of her works such as the Historias de la Artámila, a collection of stories about the people she met while recovering from her illness.
When she was 10 years old, the Spanish Civil War broke out, an event that had a great impact on her writing. Ana María Matute’s works reflected not just the two factions fighting against one another but also the internal conflicts each side was facing.
Husband and Children
Ana María Matute was married to her first husband, Ramon Eugenio de Goicoechea in 1952 and had a son with him named Juan Pablo de Goicoechea two years later. However, the marriage ended in divorce in 1963.
She later met and married her second husband, a French businessman named Julio Brocard. They stayed married until his death 28 years later in 1990.
As a teen, she and her family were mostly confined to the house due to the ongoing civil war and so, she broke the monotony of everyday life by writing and publishing stories. She published her first story, The Boy Next Door at only 17 years of age.
However, when the Nationalist party won in 1939 and their leader, Francisco Franco, established a military dictatorship, Matute found her works heavily censored and was even barred from working as a journalist due to the strict censorship policies during Franco’s regime.
Nevertheless, she continued writing, even when she was fined several times, and became one of Spain’s most prestigious novelists in the post-civil war era.
Mission and Work
Ana María Matute’s works were heavily influenced by her experiences during her childhood and the civil war as well as the subsequent censorship under the Franco regime.
She was known for being sympathetic to the many struggles of both children and adolescents, writing about their feelings and difficulties as they face the various challenges of life. She also incorporated many elements of fantasy and myth in her works even as they centered on the conflict present during the Spanish civil war.
Her unique writing style and ability to express the hardships of life has allowed her to win several of Spain’s most prestigious awards, one of them being the Cervantes Prize – one of the highest rewards an author could receive in Spain.
Her works have been translated into many of the world’s major languages, allowing both Spanish-speaking and non-Spanish-speaking readers to read and appreciate her work. Aside from being a prominent novelist, she was also an outstanding lecturer and guest professor in many of the world’s most prestigious universities.
Death and Legacy
On June 25, 2014, Ana María Matute died of a heart attack in her home in Barcelona. She was 88 years old. She was then laid to rest in her final resting place at the Cemetery of Montjuïc in her native Barcelona.
Although she is gone, her works will forever live on and the world will continue to recognize her as one of the most prominent Spanish novelists in the posguerra period. Her unique take on the various issues plaguing society, not just during the war but also today, has truly made her one of the most remarkable novelists in the world.