Biography and History

Augusto Monterroso was born in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, on December 21, 1921. An autodidact from the age of eleven, he spent his adolescence in Guatemala City, Guatemala, where he worked clandestinely against the dictatorship of Jorge Ubico and co-founded the newspaper El Espectador. His political activities led to his detainment and exile to Mexico City in 1944. Later that year, when Jacobo Arbenz became president of Guatemala, Monterroso was appointed to a position in the Guatemalan embassy in Mexico. In 1953, he was named Guatemalan consul to Bolivia and moved briefly to La Paz before relocating to Santiago, Chile, upon Arbenz's fall from power. In 1956, Monterroso returned to Mexico City, where he lived for the rest of his life.

Monterroso's first stories were published in 1941, in the periodicals Acento and El Imparcial. The short story remained his primary form, and his first book, Obras completas (y otros cuentos), includes what is widely regarded as the world's shortest story, "El dinosaurio," comprised of a single seven-word sentence. Other published works include La oveja negra y demás fabulas; La letra e; Monterroso's only novel, Lo demás es silencio; and his memoirs, Los buscadores de oro. In addition to his writing career, Monterroso taught at la Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México and Stanford University and held a variety of editorial positions.

Awards received by Monterroso during his lifetime include the Premio Javier Villaurrutia (1975), Premio Juan Rulfo (1996), Quetzal de Jade Maya (1996), Guatemala's Premio Nacional de Literatura (1997), and Premio Príncipe de Asturias de las Letras (2000). Additionally, la Universidad de San Carlos de Guatemala awarded Monterroso an honorary doctorate in 1996. Monterroso died in Mexico City in 2003.

Source: From the finding aid for C1109