Biography and History

Vicente Leñero was born on June 9, 1933, in Guadalajara, Mexico, though his family returned to Mexico City shortly after his birth. Leñero earned a degree as a civil engineer from the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México and later studied journalism. He married his wife Estela in 1959 and they had four daughters. In his essay “Vivir del cuento” Leñero describes the obsessive approach he took to writing when he was just starting out, when he wrote “without knowing, without thinking,” banging away at his brother’s Remington typewriter. He published his first collection of short stories, La polvareda, y otras cuentos in 1959, winning first prize in the Concurso Nacional del Cuento Universitario for the collection’s eponymous story. Four years later, in 1963, Leñero was awarded the Premio Biblioteca Breve for his novel, Los albañiles, which he later adapted for the stage.

In subsequent decades Leñero has produced a critically acclaimed and expansive body of work, including novels, plays, screenplays, television scripts and essays. Although he evolved independent of any specific literary circle or milieu, as co-founder of the magazine Proceso, Leñero's place as a leading intellectual in Mexico is undisputed. Considered a champion of documentary theater and fiction based in real-life events, Leñero has defied easy categorization as a writer, though among his many achievements Leñero is considered one of Mexico's most important playwrights of the twentieth century. In later years Leñero has written prodigiously for Mexican cinema, and his credits include: La ley de Herodes (1999); El crímen del Padre Amaro (2003); Fuera del cielo (2006); Desde dentro (2012).


Leñero, Vicente. De cuerpo entero. Mexico City: UNAM, 1992.

Day, Stuart A. "Vicente Leñero." Latin American Dramatists: First Series. Ed. Adam Versaenyi. Dictionary of Literary Biography Vol. 305. Detroit: Gale, 2005. From Literature Resource Center.

Source: From the finding aid for C1424

  • Vicente Leñero Papers. 1954-2011 (inclusive).

    Call Number: C1424

    The Vicente Leñero Papers contain materials pertaining to the Mexican playwright, novelist, and screenwriter Vicente Leñero (1933- ). Included are manuscripts, correspondence, and printed material.