Latin America has produced a lot of wonders in the world of arts and literature is no different, having come out with some of the best authors of their respective generations.
The Long Brew
The best Latin American authors have managed to push the boundaries of the medium while adding a level of personality and voice to their work that is very representative of the countries they came from.
So, who are the best Latin American authors per country? Why are they the most popular Latin American authors? We are going to answer that and many other questions with the following list, so let’s begin.
Gabriel Garcia Marquez (Colombia)
Born: 6 March 1927
Death: 17 April 2014 (aged 87)
“What matters in life is not what happens to you but what you remember and how you remember it.”― Gabriel Garcia Marquez
If we are talking about the best and most popular Latin American authors, one of the first names to be mentioned is always going to be Gabriel Garcia Marquez. The Colombian was a novelist, a short story writer, a journalist, and one of the most popular writers of his time, having cemented Latin American literature as one of the most interesting and ambitious of the medium.
As we mentioned in the introduction, a lot of Latin American writers tend to focus on making realistic stories, these being novels or short stories whose events could actually happen in real life. In case of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, he was one of the innovators of the genre known as “magic realism”, which is centered around the concept of adding supernatural elements to mundane events through the story.
The Colombian has produced some of the best Latin American literature out there, with some of his most notorious works being 1967’s Cien Años de Soledad (One Hundred Years of Solitude), 1987’s Crónica de una Muerte Anunciada (Chronicle of a Death Foretold), and 1985’s El Amor en los Tiempos del Cólera (Love in the Time of Cholera).
Definitely one of the titans of Latin American storytelling and there is a very strong argument that he is the best writer that continent has ever produced.
Monica Ojeda (Ecuador)
Born: 17 May 1988
“We are convinced that destruction is progress, that running towards death is life, that this hive of flies, like dirty river water, is poetry; that we are poetry because we are covered in shit.”– Monica Ojeda
The youngest author on our list (only in her early 30s), Monica Ojeda is not only one of Ecuador’s finest artistic representatives but also an interesting example of how the best Latin American literature has progressed over the years while keeping some of its roots.
In the case of Ojeda, she leans towards gothic horror while keeping that socially aware element that has always defined Latin American literature. In that regard, her novel Mandibula (Jawbone), released in 2018, was a very good example of this, as it deals with topics such as gender violence, abortion, and a lot more while having that horror approach to things.
Other works of hers are 2015’s La Desfiguración Silva (The Silva Disfiguration), 2016’s Nefando, and 2019’s Historia de la Leche (The History of Milk).
Mario Vargas Llosa (Peru)
Born: 28 March 1936 (age 86)
“Almost seventy years later I remember clearly how the magic of translating the words in books into images enriched my life, breaking the barriers of time and space…”― Mario Vargas Llosa
Mario Vargas Llosa has a very interesting place when it comes to the most popular Latin American authors. While he is still chugging along and producing new books, he is someone that you can view from a different generation, thus making him feel as a bit of a connection between two very different points of Latin American literature.
Regardless, the Peruvian has proven time and time again that he has superb writing skills and some of his work is downright legendary. He started to gain notoriety in the 1960s through stories that were a representation of Peruvian society and his experiences as a Peruvian, with works such as 1963’s La Ciudad y los Perros (The City and the Dogs), 1965’s La Casa Verde (The Green House), and 1969’s Conversación en la Catedral (Conversation in the Cathedral) being some of his most celebrated books.
A common trend among the most popular Latin American authors is the fact that most of them started out as journalists and some of the experience doing work in that field permeated their output as fiction writers. In that regard, Llosa’s time as a journalist helped inform some of the stuff he wrote during his prime as a writer, and as time went on, he became a lot more prone to explore society in other countries.
The Long Pour
Most popular Latin American authors usually focus on real-life storylines, focusing more on the daily struggles of the human being. Having said that, they always find a way to make it interesting and original, producing the best Latin American literature that you can find.
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