Ana María Matute Ausejo (26 July 1925 – 25 June 2014) was an internationally acclaimed Spanish writer and member of the Real Academia Española. She was the third woman to receive the Cervantes Prize for her literary oeuvre. She is considered to be one of the foremost novelists of the posguerra, the period immediately following the Spanish Civil War. She studied at the international school of Hilversum in the Netherlands. She has been a guest lecturer to the universities of Oklahoma, Indiana..
Matute was known for her sympathetic treatment of the lives of children and adolescents, their feelings of betrayal and isolation, and their rites of passage. She often interjected such elements as myth, fairy tale, the supernatural, and fantasy into her works.
She frequently used biblical allusion in her works and often used the story of Cain and Abel to symbolize the familial division caused by the Spanish Civil War; her first novel was titled Los Abel (1948; “The Abel Family”). She followed up withFiesta al noroeste (1953; Celebration in the Northwest), Pequeño teatro (1954; “Little Theatre”), and Los hijos muertos (1958; The Lost Children). Matute then wrote a trilogy consisting of Primera memoria (1959; U.K. title, Awakening; U.S. title, School of the Sun), about children thrust into an adult world by the Spanish Civil War; a war novel, Los soldados lloran de noche (1964; Soldiers Cry by Night); and La trampa (1969; “The Trap”), in which the children of Primera memoria are presented as adults. Matute set La torre vigía (1971; “The Watchtower”) in 10th-century Europe to examine the themes of chivalry, idealism, poverty, and prejudice. Her novel Olvidado Rey Gudú, a massive allegorical folk epic that spans four generations in the story of rulers, gnomes, witches, and other creatures in the mythical medieval kingdom of Olar, was published in 1996. Among her later works are Aranmanoth (2000) and Paraíso inhabitado (2008; “Uninhabited Paradise”).
In addition to the...