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Ana Maria Matute Ausejo (Barcelona, Spain, July 26, 1925 – Barcelona, June 25, 2014) was a Spanish novelist and member of the Royal Spanish Academy (where she held the “K” seat) that in 2010 won the Cervantes Prize. Matute was one of the most personal voices of Spanish literature of the XX century and is considered by many to be one of the best novelists of the Spanish post-war period.
Ana María Matute was the second daughter of four descendants of a family of the Catalan petty bourgeoisie, conservative and religious. His father, Facundo Matute Torres, was a Catalan owner of the Matute SA umbrella factory, and his mother was María Ausejo Matute.His childhood, Matute lived a considerable time in Madrid, but few of his stories speak about his experiences lived in the capital of Spain.
When Ana María Matute was four years old, she fell seriously ill. For this reason, her family takes her to live with her grandparents in Mansilla de la Sierra, a small town in the Sierra de La Rioja. Matute says that the people of that town influenced her deeply. This influence can be seen in the anthological work Historias de la Artámila (1961), which deals with people that Matute met in Mansilla.
Ana María Matute was eleven years old when the Spanish Civil War of 1936 began. The violence, hatred, death, misery, anguish and extreme poverty that followed the war deeply marked her person and her narrative. The one of Matute is the childhood stolen by the trauma of the war and the psychological consequences of the conflict and the postwar period in the mentality of a girl, and a youth marked by the War, are reflected in her first literary works focused on “amazed children “They saw and, in spite of themselves, had to understand the nonsense that surrounded them. Neo-realist characteristics can be observed in works such as Los Abel (1948), Fiesta al Noroeste (1953), Pequeño teatro (1954), Los hijos muertos (1958) or Los cruares de noche (1964). In all these works, which begin with great lyricism and little by little become immersed in an exacerbated realism, the protagonist child or adolescent gaze is the most outstanding and marks an affective distancing between reality and feeling or understanding.
While he lived in Madrid he attended a religious school. He wrote his first novel, Pequeño teatro, at 17 years of age, although it was not published until 11 years later. In 1949, his work Luciérnagas is semifinalist of the Nadal Prize; however, censorship prevents publication.
On November 17, 1952, Matute married the writer Ramón Eugenio de Goicoechea. In 1954 his only son, Juan Pablo, was born, to whom he devoted a large part of his children’s works. She separates from her husband in 1963. As a result of Spanish law, Matute had no right to see her son after the separation, since her husband obtained the guardianship of the child, and this caused emotional problems.
He found love years later, next to the French businessman Julio Brocard, with whom he shared the passion to travel. Brocard died in 1990, on July 26, Matute’s birthday. She already suffered depression, and the loss of her great love plunged her deeper into her.
In 1976 he was nominated for the Nobel Prize for Literature. After several years of great narrative silence, in 1984 he won the National Prize for Children’s and Young People’s Literature with the work Just a bare foot. In 1996, she published Olvidado Rey Gudú and that same year she was elected academic of the Royal Spanish Academy where she occupied the “K” seat, becoming the third woman to be part of this institution. He read his entry speech in 1998.
Matute was also an honorary member of the Hispanic Society of America. There is a literary prize that bears his name and his books have been translated into 23 languages. In 2007 he received the National Prize of Spanish Literature for all his literary work. Also, in November 2010 he was awarded the Cervantes Prize, the most prestigious of the Spanish language, which was delivered to him in Alcalá de Henares on April 27, 2011.
On March 12, 2009, the writer deposited in the Caja de las Letras of the Instituto Cervantes the first edition of the book Forgotten King Gudú.
In 2012 he was part of the jury of the Miguel de Cervantes Prize.
Matute was a professor at the university and traveled to many cities to give lectures, especially to the United States. In his speeches he spoke about the benefits of emotional changes, the constant changes of the human being and how innocence is never completely lost. She said that although her body was old, her heart was still young.
Died at dawn on June 25, 2014 after several days with cardiorespiratory problems.
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