Hispanic Heritage Month: Seven Nobel Laureates and a Might-Have-Been

Cover Art: La Casa Verde by Mario Vargas LlosaThey don’t hand out the Nobel Prize in Literature to just anybody. Unlike the Pulitzer and National Book Award, which are given for a single work, the Nobel is awarded for an author’s entire body of work. The result is that the prize isn't given out to the latest hot young thing, the flavor of the month, the flash-in-the-pan, the one-hit-wonder. The Nobel is awarded for sustained excellence.

Below is a list of Nobel Laureates of Hispanic descent and the holdings of their work in the Harris County Public Library collection.

Gabriela Mistral, Chile 1945Cover Art: Madwomen: The Mujeres Locas Poems of Gabriela Mistral
Miguel Angel Asturias, Guatemala 1967
Pablo Neruda, Chile 1971
Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Colombia 1982
Camilo José Cela, Spain 1989
Octavio Paz, México 1990
Mario Vargas Llosa, Peru 2010

The Argentine, Jorge Luis Borges, deserved to have won, but he was primarily a short story writer and essayist and the Nobel tends to go to Novelists (and the occasional poet). But if greatness is measured by one’s influence on succeeding generations, then Borges more than measures up to those listed above.