- Umbral, Francisco
- b. 1935, MadridWriter and journalistUmbral is one of the most notable examples of how the profession of journalism has developed in contemporary Spain, and how frequently it is exercised by persons who also enjoy a solid reputation in other genres of writing, such as the novel and literary criticism. He began his career on the Valladolid newspaper El Norte de Castilla, moving to Madrid in the 1960s to work on the magazine Vida Mundial, as well as contributing to the monarchist newspaper ABC, and the illustrated weeklies Blanco y Negro and La Gaceta Ilustrada. Since 1989 he has contributed a lively regular column to the controversial daily El Mundo, which has further consolidated his reputation as one of the most original stylists writing in Spanish.In parallel with his journalistic writing, Umbral has produced some 75 books, predominantly novels, but also poetry and political commentary, for instance Guía irracional de España (Irrational Guide to Spain) (1989) and El socialfelipismo: la democracia detenida (Felipe's Brand of Socialism: Democracy on Hold) (1991). Among his most notable publications in book form are Balada de gamberros (Ballad of Ruffians) (1965), Travesía de Madrid (Across Madrid) (1966), A Mortal Spring (Mortal y rosa) (1975), inspired by the death of his 5-year-old son, the volume of poems Crímenes y baladas (1981), Leyenda del César visionario (Legend of the Visionary Caesar) (1991) and Las señoritas de Aviñón (The Demoiselles of Avignon) (1994). Umbral's contribution to Spanish letters has been recognized by the award of numerous prizes. In 1975, he was awarded the Nadal Prize, and in 1990 the Mariano de Cavía Prize for Journalism. The Critics" Prize for Narrative followed in 1992, and the Francisco Cerecedo Prize for Journalism in 1995. His most notable achievement was the award of the highly prestigious Prince of Asturias Prize for Literature in 1996.EAMONN RODGERS
Encyclopedia of contemporary Spanish culture. 2013.