Miguel Ángel Asturias, (born October 19, 1899, Guatemala City, Guatemala—died June 9, 1974, Madrid, Spain), Guatemalan poet, novelist, and diplomat, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1967 and the Soviet Union’s Lenin Peace Prize in 1966.
His writings, which combine the mysticism of the Maya with an epic impulse toward social protest, are seen as summing up the social and moral aspirations of his people.
He earned a law degree at Guatemala’s University of San Carlos and later studied history and anthropology at Paris’ Sorbonne between 1923 and 1926.
It was there that he was influenced by the work of great French writer André Bretón.
Leyendas de Guatemala, a study of early Guatemalan folklore, was published in 1930, followed three years later, after Asturias’ return to Guatemala, by the publication of his famed novel El señor Presidente, which earned him a place among the great writers of Latin America.
Active in his country’s political life, he was ambassador to Mexico, Argentina, El Salvador and France.
He received several awards for his literary work, the most important of which was the 1967 Nobel Prize in Literature. At the time, Gabriela Mistral was the only Latin American author to have won that prestigious honor.
Asturias died in Madrid in 1974.