Miguel de Cervantes was a Spanish writer best known for his work Don Quixote, which is considered one of the high points of world literature. He is regarded as one of the greatest novelists of all time and the greatest writer to ever write in the Spanish language. His works have influenced other works of art like music and paintings.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Ferran Adria is a Spanish chef counted among the best chefs in the world. He was the head chef of the elBulli restaurant in Roses. He began his career as a dishwasher at the Hotel Playafels and worked his way up to become the head chef at elBulli within a few years. He also runs a product line called Texturas.
Miguel de Unamuno was a Spanish essayist, poet, playwright, novelist, and philosopher. His most famous novel was Abel Sánchez: The History of a Passion, a modern retelling of the Biblical Cain and Abel story. He was a significant figure in the Spanish literary and intellectual circles and served as rector of the University of Salamanca.
10 Álex Pina
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.
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.
12 Lope de Vega
Spanish Baroque dramatist Lope de Vega was one of the most significant figures of the Spanish Golden Age. He had initially aspired to be a priest but abandoned his plans after falling in love with a married woman. He is best remembered for works such as The Dog in the Manger.
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.
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.
15 Nacho Vidal
Nacho Vidal is a Spanish pornographic actor, producer, director, writer, and camera operator. A protégé of popular Italian pornographic actor Rocco Siffredi, Vidal has appeared in more than 1,500 films. Over the course of his career, Vidal has won several awards like XBIZ Awards and Ninfa Awards. In 2012, he was made an inductee of the AVN Hall of Fame.
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.
The second-born son of Christopher Columbus, Ferdinand Columbus introduced technologies such as the printing press to Seville. He gathered a huge collection of books from all over Europe and established a personal library. The accomplished bibliographer also penned a biography of his father, which became a valuable source of information.
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.
A prominent figure of the Hebrew school of poetry and a Neoplatonic philosopher, Solomon ibn Gabirol lived during the Jewish Golden Age of Spain. His works include elegies, religious and secular poems, proverbs, and philosophical treatises. Legends claim that he was either murdered by another poet or by a horseman.
Philippine politician Pedro Paterno was educated in Spain, where he graduated in philosophy and theology. He later became the prime minister of his country. A poet and novelist, too, he eventually became infamous as a traitor after supporting the U.S. and favoring American dominion during the Philippine–American War.
Spanish Romantic poet Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer was orphaned at age 11. Inspired by his painter brother Valeriano, he embarked on a literary career, writing for El Contemporáneo in Madrid. His Rimas (Rhymes) and Leyendas (Legends) gained popularity only after his death at 34 due to tuberculosis.
Known for her roles in the popular television series like Locked Up and in films like Isla Bonita and Lejos del mar, Olivia Delcan is a popular Spanish actress, who is proficient in English, Spanish and Catalan. An alumnus from William Esper Studio (Manhattan) and William Layton Studio (Madrid), she also wrote and directed a play entitled About Last Night
Best known for iconic works such as Oratorum et Rhetorum Sententiae Divisiones Colores, of which only remnants remain, Seneca the Elder was a 1st-century Latin rhetorician. A prominent figure of the Silver Age of Latin, he was the father of Lucius Annaeus Seneca, or Seneca the Younger.
Spanish nobleman, politician and writer Francisco Gómez de Quevedo y Santibáñez Villegas, KOS of the Baroque era is counted among the most prominent writers of Spain's Golden Age. Quevedo adhered to the conceptismo style compared to his lifelong rival, Luis de Góngora’s culteranismo style. His notable works include the picaresque novel El Buscón and the satirical prose Los Sueños.
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.
Spanish baroque author and philosopher Baltasar Gracian was a leading proponent of the conceptismo style. Inspired by his priest uncle, he took Jesuit vows. His notable works include Subtlety and the Art of Genius and the three-part novel The Critick, with the latter written under a pseudonym.
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.
Nobel Prize-winning Spanish poet Juan Ramón Jiménez mostly dealt with erotic themes in his works. He was also once hospitalized for depression. A master of lyrical poetry, he later deviated to free verse. He is best known for poetic masterpieces such as Distant Gardens and his prose Platero and I.
The Goya Award-winning director of cult films such as The Day of the Beast and Dance with the Devil, Álex de la Iglesia deals with macabre themes and dark comedy. Initially a comic book artist, he worked as a TV show decorator and art director before stepping into filmmaking.
A pioneer of modern anthropology and a renowned ethnographer, 16th-century Spanish priest and missionary Bernardino de Sahagún remains one of the greatest resources of the history of ancient Mexico. Best remembered for compiling Historia General and its manuscript the Florentine Codex, he developed the Aztec language Nahuatl.
34 Ibn Tufail
Ibn Tufail was a 12th-century Arab polymath from Andalusia and a significant figure of the Islamic Golden Age. Best known for his philosophical romance Ḥayy ibn Yaqẓān, he had also penned medical works in Arab and had been the court physician of Abū Yaʿqūb Yūsuf.
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.
36 Judah Halevi
Spanish Jewish poet, physician, and philosopher Judah Halevi is remembered for his significant contributions to the development of Hebrew poetry. Best known for Sefer ha-Kuzari and his poems in Dīwān, he was greatly influenced by Arabian literature. His travels eventually took him to Egypt, where he died.
One of the most significant Baroque playwrights of the Spanish Golden Age, Pedro Calderon de la Barca had penned iconic dramas such as Life Is a Dream and many religious plays and operas, too. Many of his works reflected the issues of a dysfunctional family, probably inspired by his own life.
Jewish traveller Benjamin of Tudela who visited Europe, Africa and Asia in the 12th century was a prominent figure in medieval geography and Jewish history. His book The Travels of Benjamin sheds light on situation of Jews and diversity of Jewish communities in Europe and Asia during the 12th century and also on the geography and ethnography of the Middle Ages.
Best known for his detailed works on agriculture and farming, his 12-volume treatise De re rustica and the smaller De arboribus, Columella was a Roman soldier who later focused on farming at his multiple estates in Italy. He had previously also been a legal official in Syria.
41 David trueba
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.
Franciscan abbess and spiritual-writer María de Agreda was a noted mystic of her era. She served as the spiritual and at times political advisor to King Philip IV of Spain for over two decades and is best-known for the correspondence she had with the King besides reports of her bilocation. She penned 14 books, including the most notable Mystical City of God.
43 Risto Mejide
Risto Mejide is a Spanish author, publicist, music producer, songwriter, talent show judge, and TV presenter. He is best known for appearing as a judge on popular talent shows like Factor X, Got Talent España, and Operación Triunfo.
Born into a noble Spanish family, Garcilaso de la Vega grew up to be one of the greatest poets of the Golden Age of Spanish literature. Most of his mature writings were inspired by the Italian Renaissance and carried themes such as failed love. His notable works include Dialoghi di amore.
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.
46 Ibn Jubayr
Ibn Jubayr was an Arab geographer, traveler, and poet from al-Andalus. In the years preceding the Third Crusade, he made a famous pilgrimage to Mecca from 1183 to 1185, which he wrote about in great detail in his chronicles. He was a member of an Arab family of the Kinanah tribe and also traveled to Damascus, Mosul, Acre, and Baghdad.
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.
Spanish Baroque dramatist, poet and Roman Catholic monk Tirso de Molina is best known for writing the play The Trickster of Seville and the Stone Guest which first introduced the legendary fictional character of Don Juan. Other notable works of Molina includes the comedy sitcom Don Gil of the green tights and the trilogy of The Santa Juana.
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.