“Literature overtakes history, for literature gives you more than one life. It expands experience and opens new opportunities to readers.” – Carlos Fuentes
Born on this date in 1928, Fuentes was one of Mexico’s most celebrated authors and always liked to say that he was “a literary animal” and that reading was at the forefront of everything he did. “For me,” he once said, “everything ends in literature.”
Both a novelist and an essayist, his most recognizable works in the English-speaking world were The Old Gringo (also made into a movie) and Christopher Unborn. When he died in 2012, the New York Times described him as "one of the most admired writers in the Spanish-speaking world" and an important influence on the Latin American Boom, the "explosion of Latin American literature in the 1960s and '70s.
The son of a Mexican diplomat, he literally traveled the globe with his parents before the age of 18. For 6 of those years he lived in Washington, DC, becoming fluent in English in the process. It was there he first became interested in writing and even wrote and published his own magazine, developing his essay writing style in the process.
When asked for his advice on the writing process, he said the first question every writer should ask himself or herself is “Who am I writing for?” Once that is established, he added, the rest is easy. “Writing requires the total concentration of the writer; demands that nothing else be done except for that.”
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