The Nicaraguan author Sergio Ramírez has been named the 2017 winner of the prestigious Cervantes Prize in Spanish Literature (Premio de Literatura en Lengua Castellana Miguel de Cervantes). He is the prolific author of more than twenty novels, including Margarita, está linda la mar (1998) and Mil y una muertes (2004), as well as short stories, essays, and journalistic writings. Ramírez was a long-time member of Frente Sandinista de Liberación Nacional (FSLN), a democratic socialist organization, which opposed the dictatorship of Anastasio Somoza (1925-80) and his family. Ramírez served as vice president of Nicaragua under President Daniel Ortega, 1984-90, but retired from politics in 1997 and wrote Adiós muchachos (1998) as a personal memoir and analysis of the Sandinista Revolution. Since then, he has devoted himself almost entirely to the world of literature, winning wide critical acclaim. The Sergio Ramírez Papers (C1123), which have been in the Manuscripts Division since 2005, contain more than 165 boxes of manuscripts and drafts, correspondence, political files, photographs, and other papers documenting his creative work and public life since the 1950s. For a full description, see the finding aid.
The Spanish Ministry of Education and Culture created the Cervantes Prize in 1975 for lifetime achievement and began awarding it a year later. The forty-three authors so honored since 1976 are almost equally split between Spain and Latin America. It is interesting to note that Princeton holds some or all of the papers of a third of the twenty-one prize-winning Latin American authors, including Carlos Fuentes, Mexico (1987), Mario Vargas Llosa, Peru (1994), Guillermo Cabrera Infante, Cuba (1997), Jorge Edwards, Chile (1999), Juan Gelman, Argentina (2007), Sergio Pitol, Mexico (2008), and now Sergio Ramírez. In addition, Princeton holds extensive personal and editorial correspondence of Octavio Paz, Mexico (1981); and the Charles Scribner’s Sons publishing files for Juan Carlos Onetti, Uruguay (1980). Two of these authors are also winners of the Nobel Prize for Literature: Octavio Paz (1990) and Mario Vargas Llosa (2010). Many of the Cervantes prize-winners are represented in the correspondence files of more than eighty Latin American literary archives in the Manuscripts Division. Politics is a frequent theme in these collections and is complemented by the Library’s excellent holdings of Latin American political ephemera, a collecting effort and digital project coordinated by Fernando Acosta-Rodriguez, Librarian for Latin American Studies and related areas.