Famous 20th Century Spanish Writers

Right IconThis ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

Vote for Your Favourite 20th Century Spanish Writers
 1 
Federico García Lorca
(Spanish Poet, Playwright, and Theatre Director.)
Federico García Lorca
5
Birthdate: June 5, 1898
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Fuente Vaqueros, Spain
Died: August 19, 1936

Federico García Lorca was a Spanish poet, playwright, and theater director. He was a prominent member of the Generation of '27, a group of poets who essentially worked with avant-garde forms of art and poetry. He was homosexual and had a love affair with sculptor Emilio Aladrén. He mysteriously disappeared at the beginning of the Spanish Civil War.

 2 
Luis Buñuel
(Film director, Screenwriter, Actor, Film editor, Writer)
Luis Buñuel
4
Birthdate: February 22, 1900
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Calanda, Spain
Died: July 29, 1983

Luis Buñuel was a Spanish-Mexican filmmaker with a brilliant career spanning almost half a century. He worked in France, Mexico, and Spain and directed films spanning various genres. His filmmaking technique was strongly influenced by mise-en-scène. He was hailed as a leader of avant-garde surrealism and is considered one of the top directors of the 20th century.  

 3 
George Santayana
(Regarded as One of the Most Important Thinkers of the First Half of the 20th Century)
George Santayana
6
Birthdate: December 16, 1863
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Madrid, Spain
Died: September 26, 1952

One of George Santayana’s initial works, The Sense of Beauty, spoke about aesthetics, an oft-repeated topic in his later works. The Spanish-born American philosopher and Harvard professor is remembered for his quote “Only the dead have seen the end of war,” which has often been misattributed to Plato.

Recommended Lists:
Juan Antonio Bayona
4
Birthdate: May 9, 1975
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Barcelona

Juan Antonio Bayona is a Spanish film director. He is known for directing films across genres, including horror, drama, science fiction, and fantasy. He studied at the Escola Superior de Cinema i Audiovisuals de Catalunya (ESCAC) before beginning his career. He won the Goya Best Director Award for the disaster film The Impossible.  

 5 
Carlos Ruiz Zafón
(Spanish Novelist Known for His 2001 Novel 'La sombra del viento')
Carlos Ruiz Zafón
3
Birthdate: September 25, 1964
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Barcelona, Spain
Died: June 19, 2020

Spanish author Carlos Ruiz Zafón gained international fame with his first adult novel, The Shadow of the Wind. Previously, he had dabbled in the young-adult genre, with novels such as The Prince of Mist. He had initially been associated with the advertising industry and later also wrote scripts.

 6 
Álex Pina
(Director, Writer)
Álex Pina
4
Birthdate: June 23, 1967
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Pamplona, Spain

Álex Pina is a Spanish TV personality, writer, producer, director, and series creator. He is best known for creating one of the most popular heist crime drama series of all time, Money Heist. In 2019, Pina was named in The Hollywood Reporter magazine's Top International Showrunners of the Year list.

 7 
José Ortega y Gasset
(Spanish Philosopher and Essayist)
José Ortega y Gasset
3
Birthdate: May 9, 1883
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Madrid, Spain
Died: October 18, 1955

Philosopher and humanist José Ortega y Gasset was a major figure of the 20th-century Spanish literary renaissance. Apart from introducing concepts such as ratiovitalism, he also believed in the philosophy "I am I and my circumstance." Invertebrate Spain and The Revolt of the Masses remain his best works.

 8 
Arturo Pérez-Reverte
(Spanish Novelist and Journalist Known for His 'Captain Alatriste' Novel Series)
Arturo Pérez-Reverte
3
Birthdate: November 25, 1951
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Cartagena, Spain

A retired war correspondent and best-selling author, Arturo Pérez-Reverte Gutiérrez began his writing career while serving as a journalist, publishing his first novel, El hussar, set during the Napoleon Wars, at the age of thirty-five. Outside Spain, he is best known for his Captain Alatriste series, which contains seven novels set around a seventeenth century soldier of the same name.

 9 
Camilo José Cela
(Winner of 1989 Nobel Prize in Literature)
Camilo José Cela
3
Birthdate: May 11, 1916
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Iria Flavia, Spain
Died: January 17, 2002

Camilo José Cela was a Spanish novelist, essayist, story writer, and poet. One of the most respected Spanish writers of his generation, Camilo José Cela received a number of prestigious awards, including the 1987 Prince of Asturias Award for Literature. In 1989, he won the Nobel Prize in Literature. In 1994, he was honored with the Premio Planeta de Novela.

 10 
Joaquín Sabina
(Singer-songwriter, Poet)
Joaquín Sabina
3
Birthdate: February 12, 1949
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Úbeda, Spain

Joaquín Sabina had begun writing lyrics at age 14. The legendary Spanish singer and songwriter mostly sings on heartbreak and love. Apart from releasing triple-platinum tracks such as Vinagre y Rosas, he has also penned books on poetry. He once went on a 4-year hiatus after a stroke.

 11 
Sergio Aragonés
(Cartoonist and writer best known for his contributions to Mad magazine and creating the comic book Groo the Wanderer)
Sergio Aragonés
3
Birthdate: September 6, 1937
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Sant Mateu, Spain

Best known for co-authoring the sword-and-sorcery comic book Groo The Wanderer, Spanish-Mexican cartoonist Sergio Aragonés had initially soared to fame with his margin cartoon insertions in MAD Magazine. He also became the first Mexican to win the Eisner Award and inspired the Comic Art Professional Society’s award The Sergio.

 12 
Antonio Machado
(Poet and one of the leading figures of the Spanish literary movement known as the Generation of '98)
Antonio Machado
3
Birthdate: July 26, 1875
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Seville, Spain
Died: February 22, 1939

A leading member of the Spanish literary movement known as the Generation of '98, Antonio Machado was a legendary poet and playwright. He was educated at the Sorbonne and had also taught French. A proponent of eternal poetry, he penned masterpieces such as Soledades and Campos de Castilla.

 13 
Ramón Sampedro
3
Birthdate: January 5, 1943
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Porto do Son, Galicia, Spain
Died: January 12, 1998
 14 
Javier Marías
(Novelist)
Javier Marías
3
Birthdate: September 20, 1951
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Madrid, Spain

Born to banned educator Julián Marías, Javier Marías had begun writing at age 14 and penned his first novel, The Dominions of the Wolf, at 17. His depiction of John Gawsworth, the king of the Caribbean island Redonda, led him to inherit the kingship. He also writes columns for El Pais.

 15 
Emilia Pardo Bazán
(Writer Known for Introducing Naturalism Into Spanish Literature)
Emilia Pardo Bazán
3
Birthdate: September 16, 1851
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: A Coruña, Spain
Died: May 12, 1921

Spanish countess and novelist Emilia Pardo Bazán had initially gained fame with the essay The Critical Issue. She was an advocate of naturalism and free will. Known for novels such as The House of Ulloa, she also taught Romance literature and was divorced by her husband because of her literary success.

 16 
David trueba
2
Birthdate: September 10, 1969
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Madrid

David Trueba is a Spanish film director, novelist, and screenwriter. He is known for directing movies like The Good Life, Madrid, 1987, and Living Is Easy with Eyes Closed. The younger brother of Oscar-winning filmmaker Fernando Trueba, David Trueba has also directed several TV series. He is also known as the ex-husband of popular Spanish actress Ariadna Gil.

 17 
Miguel Hernández
(Spanish Poet and Playwright)
Miguel Hernández
2
Birthdate: October 30, 1910
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Orihuela, Spain
Died: March 28, 1942

Miguel Hernández was a 20th-century Spanish-language poet and playwright. He was associated with the Generation of '27 and the Generation of '36 movements. He had a difficult childhood and was mostly self-taught. He became a prominent literary figure at a young age. His poems are counted among the finest pieces of Spanish poetry of the 20th century. 

 18 
Benito Pérez Galdós
(Spanish Realist Novelist and a Leading Literary Figure in 19th-Century Spain)
Benito Pérez Galdós
3
Birthdate: May 10, 1843
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Municipality of Las Palmas, Spain
Died: January 4, 1920

One of the greatest Spanish novelists ever, Benito Pérez Galdós had initially aspired to become a lawyer but later switched to journalism. His novel The Fountain of Gold was the first in a series of 46 novels known as National Episodes. He also penned plays such as Realidad.

 19 
Rafael Alberti
(Spanish Writer Who Was Regarded as One of the Major Spanish Poets of the 20th Century)
Rafael Alberti
2
Birthdate: December 16, 1902
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Municipality of El Puerto de Santa María, Spain
Died: October 28, 1999

Rafael Alberti, part of the Spanish poets’ group called the Generation of 1927, redefined Spanish literature. The Cervantes Prize-winning poet had also been a Communist Party member but was expelled later and launched the politically motivated magazine Octubre. He had also fought in the Spanish Civil War.

 20 
Luis Eduardo Aute
2
Birthdate: September 13, 1943
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Manila, Philippines
Died: April 4, 2020
 21 
Vicente Blasco Ibáñez
(Bestselling Spanish Novelist Known for His Novel ‘Blood and Sand')
Vicente Blasco Ibáñez
2
Birthdate: January 29, 1867
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Valencia, Spain
Died: January 28, 1928

Best known for his war novels, such as The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, Vicente Blasco Ibáñez was a prominent member of the Spanish Generation of ’98 movement. Though he had been elected to the parliament, he later went into self-exile. Many of his novels were later adapted into films.

 22 
Fernando Fernán Gómez
2
Birthdate: August 28, 1921
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Lima, Peru
Died: November 21, 2007
 23 
Fernando Arrabal
(Playwright, Screenwriter, Film Director, Novelist, and Poet)
Fernando Arrabal
2
Birthdate: August 11, 1932
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Melilla, Spain

Spanish-born French author and playwright Fernando Arrabal is best known for his absurdist plays. While he initially studied law, he later switched to drama. He has written and directed films such as Viva la Muerte, and his characters are often murderers or prostitutes amid cruel and pornographic themes.

 24 
Corín Tellado
(Spanish Novelist)
Corín Tellado
2
Birthdate: April 25, 1927
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: El Franco, Asturias, Spain
Died: April 11, 2009

Corín Tellado held a Guinness World Record for selling the most titles in the Spanish language. The author of over 4,000 titles, Tellado specialized in romance novels and photonovels. She included feminist elements, such as working women, and also penned several erotic novels under the pseudonym Ada Miller.

 25 
Albert Espinosa
(Writer, Screenwriter, Engineer, Film director)
Albert Espinosa
2
Birthdate: November 5, 1973
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Barcelona

A qualified industrial engineer, Albert Espinosa was diagnosed with cancer at age 14 and lost a leg, among other body parts, to the disease. Following his recovery, he ventured into screenwriting and also penned bestsellers such as The Yellow World. His life inspired the series The Red Band Society.

 26 
Ildefonso Falcones
2
Birthdate: 1959 AD
Birthplace: Barcelona, Spain
 27 
Salvador de Madariaga
(Spanish Diplomat, Writer, Historian, and Pacifist)
Salvador de Madariaga
2
Birthdate: July 23, 1886
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: A Coruña, Spain
Died: December 14, 1978

Spanish diplomat, writer, historian, and pacifist Salvador de Madariaga is best-remembered for his service at the League of Nations and for his books and essays. He was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize and Nobel Prize in Literature, and received the Karlspreis. One of his novels, The Heart of Jade is widely regarded as a remarkable work of modern Spanish-language literature.

 28 
Pío Baroja
(Former Spanish writer, one of the key novelists of the Generation of '98)
Pío Baroja
2
Birthdate: December 28, 1872
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Donostia-San Sebastian, Spain
Died: October 30, 1956

Spanish Basque writer Pío Baroja was a qualified doctor and practiced medicine in northern Spain for a few years before returning to Madrid to manage his family bakery. Part of the Generation of ’98, he penned iconic works such as the series Memoirs of a Man of Action.

 29 
Ana María Matute
(Spanish Novelist)
Ana María Matute
2
Birthdate: July 26, 1925
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Barcelona, Spain
Died: June 25, 2014

Spanish writer Ana María Matute is counted among leading novelists of the posguerra. A member of Real Academia Española, Matute’s rich body of work, including novels like Fiesta al noroeste and short stories like El árbol de oro, helped her become the third woman to receive the Cervantes Prize. She also received Premio Nadal for the novel Primera memoria.

 30 
Quique Dacosta
0
Birthdate: 1972 AD
Birthplace: Jarandilla de la Vera, Spain
 31 
Juan Goytisolo
(Spanish Poet & Novelist Who was Considered Spain's Greatest Living Writer at the Beginning of the 21st Century)
Juan Goytisolo
2
Birthdate: January 6, 1931
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Barcelona, Spain
Died: June 4, 2017

Spanish poet, short-story writer, essayist, and novelist Juan Goytisolo was regarded as the greatest living writer of Spain at the beginning of the 21st century. A critique of Francoist Spain, works of Goytisolo, which includes the novels Marks of Identity, Count Julian, and Juan the Landless, were banned in Spain until after Francisco Franco’s death.

Luisa Isabel Álvarez de Toledo, 21st Duchess of Medina Sidonia
2
Birthdate: August 21, 1936
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Villa Guzmán el Bueno, Estoril, Portugal
Died: March 7, 2008
 33 
María Zambrano
(Spanish Philosopher and Essayist)
María Zambrano
2
Birthdate: April 22, 1904
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Vélez-Málaga, Spain
Died: February 6, 1991

María Zambrano was a Spanish philosopher and essayist. She was part of the Generation of '36, a group of writers and artists who were active during the Spanish Civil War. María Zambrano's work achieved popularity in the late-20th century and she was honored with several prestigious awards such as the Miguel de Cervantes Prize and the Prince of Asturias Award.

 34 
Jacinto Benavente
2
Birthdate: August 12, 1866
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Madrid, Spain
Died: July 14, 1954

Jacinto Benavente was one of the foremost Spanish dramatists of the 20th century. The son of a popular pediatrician, he developed an early interest in literature but was expected to pursue a more conventional professional. He began studying law but abandoned it to become a dramatist. He received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1922. 

 35 
Luis Cernuda
(Spanish Poet and Critic, a Member of the Generation of 1927)
Luis Cernuda
2
Birthdate: September 21, 1902
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Seville, Spain
Died: November 5, 1963

Spanish poet and critic Luis Cernuda was a qualified lawyer and later became a significant member of the Generation of '27. After gaining prominence with poem collections such as Los placeres prohibidos, he also taught at universities in Britain and the U.S., and eventually settled in Mexico. He was openly homosexual.

 36 
Jorge Semprún
(Former Minister of Culture of Spain and Writer)
Jorge Semprún
2
Birthdate: December 10, 1923
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Madrid, Spain
Died: June 7, 2011

Spanish-born author and politician Jorge Semprún mostly wrote in French. He was educated at the Sorbonne and mostly lived in France. He soared to fame with the autobiographical novel The Cattle Truck, while his scripts for the films Z and The War Is Over earned him Academy Award nominations.

 37 
Carmen Laforet
2
Birthdate: September 6, 1921
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Barcelona, Spain
Died: February 28, 2004

Premio Nadal-winning Spanish author Carmen Laforet is remembered for developing Spanish Existentialist literature. Best known for her first and most popular novel, Nada, she used the tremendismo narrative in her works. Suffering from Alzheimer's disease in later years, she eventually lost the ability to speak.

 38 
Rosa Montero
(Journalist)
Rosa Montero
2
Birthdate: January 3, 1951
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Madrid
 39 
Miguel Delibes
(One of the Leading Figures of Post-Civil War Spanish Literature)
Miguel Delibes
2
Birthdate: October 17, 1920
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Valladolid, Spain
Died: March 12, 2010

Spanish author Miguel Delibes was a significant member of the Generation of '36 movement and is remembered for his realist fiction. He had been part of the Spanish navy and initially worked as a newspaper caricaturist. Many of his works, such as El camino, were later made into films.

 40 
Ramón del Valle-Inclán
(Dramatist, novelist and member of the Spanish Generation of 98)
Ramón del Valle-Inclán
2
Birthdate: October 28, 1866
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Vilanova de Arousa, Spain
Died: January 5, 1936

Spanish dramatist and novelist Ramón del Valle-Inclán, a member of the Spanish Generation of 98, was a noted radical dramatist who despised literary realism and created esperpento, expressionist theatre. Major works of Valle-Inclán includes plays like Divine Words (Divinas palabras) and Bohemian Lights (Luces de Bohemia), the novel Tyrant Banderas (Tirano Banderas) and the four novelettes known as the Sonatas.

 41 
José Echegaray
(One of the Leading Spanish Dramatists of the Last Quarter of the 19th Century)
José Echegaray
2
Birthdate: April 19, 1832
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Madrid, Spain
Died: September 14, 1916

Initially a math professor, José Echegaray later held several government posts. As the minister of finance, he developed the Banco de España. He later established himself as a prominent dramatist, with plays such as El gran Galeoto, and became the first Spanish to win the Nobel Prize for Literature.

 42 
Manuel Vázquez Montalbán
(Novelist and Creator of Spain’s Most Famous Fictional Detective, ‘José “Pepe” Carvalho')
Manuel Vázquez Montalbán
2
Birthdate: June 14, 1939
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Barcelona, Spain
Died: October 18, 2003

Renowned Spanish author and poet Manuel Vázquez Montalbán was a regular columnist for El Pais. A gastronome, he displayed his knowledge of cooking in the Detective Pepe Carvalho series and in Contra los Gourmets. He was a football lover, too, and often wrote essays on topics such as sports and music.

 43 
Federica Montseny
(Spanish Intellectual & Anarchist Who Served as One of Western Europe's First Female Ministers)
Federica Montseny
2
Birthdate: February 12, 1905
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Madrid, Spain
Died: January 14, 1994

Federica Montseny was a Spanish intellectual and anarchist. She is best remembered for her service as the Minister of Health and Social Policy from 4 November 1936 to 17 May 1937. One of Western Europe's first female ministers, Federica Montseny was also known as an essayist and novelist. 

 44 
Mercè Rodoreda
2
Birthdate: October 10, 1908
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Barcelona, Spain
Died: April 13, 1983

Spanish Catalan novelist Mercè Rodoreda is best remembered for her novel The Time of the Doves. While she had initially begun writing to escape her unhappy marriage, she took it up as a serious career while in exile in France and Switzerland after the Spanish Civil War.

 45 
Gloria Fuertes
2
Birthdate: July 28, 1917
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Madrid, Spain
Died: November 27, 1998
 46 
José Martínez Ruiz
2
Birthdate: June 8, 1873
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Monòver, Spain
Died: March 6, 1967

José Martínez Ruiz, better known as Azorin, was a prominent Spanish literary critic. He was also credited with naming his group of Spanish writers the Generation of ’98. Though educated in law, he later became a journalist and penned works such as An Hour of Spain, 1560–1590.

 47 
Ramón Gómez de la Serna
(Spanish Writer and Inventor of the Literary Genre 'Greguería', a Short Form of Poetry)
Ramón Gómez de la Serna
2
Birthdate: July 3, 1888
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Madrid, Spain
Died: January 13, 1963

The Spanish avant-garde author Ramón Gómez de la Serna is best remembered for his greguerías, or short poems. Though he had studied law, he never practiced and ventured into literature instead. He also launched his own literary magazine, Prometeo, and penned numerous articles, novels, and plays.

 48 
Fernando Aramburu
1
Birthdate: 1959 AD
Birthplace: Donostia-San Sebastian, Spain
 49 
Pedro Salinas
(Spanish Poet, Scholar, Dramatist, and Essayist)
Pedro Salinas
1
Birthdate: November 27, 1891
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Madrid, Spain
Died: December 4, 1951

Part of the Generation of '27, renowned Spanish poet Pedro Salinas y Serrano had also been a professor at the Johns Hopkins University. Educated at the Sorbonne, he also taught Spanish at Seville and later joined Cambridge, too. He is also known for his research on Rubén Darío and Jorge Manrique.

 50 
Ramiro de Maeztu
(Most Prominent Defender of Spanish Dictator Miguel Primo de Rivera)
Ramiro de Maeztu
1
Birthdate: May 4, 1875
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain
Died: October 29, 1936

Part of the Spanish Generation of ’98, essayist Ramiro de Maeztu was the son of a Cuban father and a British mother. His fluency in English helped him become the London correspondent of various Spanish newspapers. He later launched the Acción Española movement but was shot dead by Republicans.