Mexican nun Juana Inés de la Cruz was one of the finest authors of the Latin American colonial era. Initially the lady-in-waiting of Mexico’s viceroy, she later took her vows. She built a huge library and penned masterpieces such as the poem Primero sueño and the religious drama El divino Narciso.
Known as the king of Mexican rodeo, for performing in concerts on horseback, Mexican singer Joan Sebastian won the highest number of Grammy awards from his country. Over 20 of his songs made it to the Billboard Hot Latin Songs chart. An actor, too, he was seen in the telenovela Tú y yo.
Mexican poet and author Rosario Castellanos was one of the most prominent literary voices of Mexico and perhaps the most significant Mexican woman writer of the last century. Her literary work on cultural and gender oppression has greatly influenced Mexican feminist theory and cultural studies. Her notable works include her master’s thesis, Sobre cultura femenina and the poem Valium 10.
Best known for his coming-of-age novel Bless Me, Ultima, American author Rudolfo Anaya mostly includes elements of Spanish folklore and Mexican American heritage in his works. Initially a school teacher, he later taught at the University of New Mexico. He has also penned children’s books and the travelogue A Chicano in China.
One of the greatest chroniclers of the Mexican Revolution, Gregorio López y Fuentes was initially a teacher and then a journalist who wrote using the pseudonym Tulio F. Peseenz. He soared to fame with his iconic work Campamento (Encampment), followed by Tierra (Earth) and El indio (The Indian).
Internationally renowned poet, playwright, and essayist Cherríe Moraga is also a true-blue feminist, who is openly lesbian. A founder-member of La Red Chicana Indígena, she works to preserve indigenous rights. She co-edited the feminist anthology This Bridge Called My Back and also teaches dramatic arts and writing.
Amado Nervo was a Mexican poet, educator, and journalist. Widely regarded as one of the most prominent poets of 19th century Mexico, Nervo was renowned for using metaphor as well as his references to mysticism in his poetry. Apart from being a respected literary figure, Amado Nervo also served as Mexican Ambassador to Uruguay and Argentina.
Scholar Alfonso Reyes had been a Mexican diplomat in Spain, Argentina, and Brazil. An expert in classical Greek and Spanish literature, he penned works such as La experiencia literaria and was also a 5-time Nobel Prize nominee. He had also translated works of authors such as G.K. Chesterton and Anton Chekhov.
One of Mexico’s finest poets from the 20th century, José Emilio Pacheco was a Cervantes Prize winner. Initially an editor for publications such as La Cultura en Mexico, he later taught literature at the University of Essex. He had also translated the works of literary icons such as Samuel Beckett and Albert Einstein.
11 Juan Gelman
Argentine poet Juan Gelman was also a left-wing activist and later moved to Mexico, hounded by the military junta. He tragically also lost both his son and his daughter-in-law to the killings by the junta. His poems depicted the socio-political scenario in Argentina and even won him awards like the Cervantes Prize.
Fernando del Paso was a Mexican poet, novelist, and essayist. He is best remembered for his 1986 novel Noticias del Imperio, which was chosen as the best Mexican novel of the last three decades by Nexos magazine in 2007. An admired and respected figure, Fernando del Paso won many prestigious awards such as the Premio Miguel de Cervantes.
Ramón López Velarde was a Mexican poet whose work was viewed as a fitting reply to the French-influenced modernismo. A respected figure, López Velarde achieved great fame in Mexico and is often referred to as the national poet of Mexico.
Manuel Gutiérrez Nájera was a Mexican political figure and writer. He is remembered for his contribution as a writer, which bridged the gap between romanticism and the contemporaneous movements of Symbolism and modernismo in North America. His essay Art and Materialism is regarded as the first modernist manifesto. Manuel Gutiérrez Nájera is also credited with co-founding the magazine Revista Azul.
Jaime Torres Bodet was a Mexican writer and politician who served important positions in the executive cabinet of President Manuel Ávila Camacho, President Miguel Alemán Valdés, and President Adolfo López Mateos. In 1971, the Mexican Senate honored Jaime Torres Bodet with its highest award, the Medal of Honor Belisario Domínguez.
Initially a physician and a professor of physiology, Enrique González Martínez later became one of the finest poets of Mexico, drawing on Modernism and French Symbolism. Best remembered for his iconic sonnet Wring the Neck of the Swan, he had also been a diplomat and had served in the Ministry of Education.
One of the finest cultural icons of Mexico, Ricardo Garibay was a dedicated journalist and a talented author and screenplay writer. Known for creating TV programs such as Autores y libros, he also penned the award-winning novel The House that Burns at Night. He was also known for his reckless lifestyle.