Álvaro Cunqueiro (1911-1981) was a Galician writer and journalist who wrote in both Galician and Spanish. He published poetry, fiction and essays and remains a cult figure in Spain. His works have been translated into ten languages.
Cunqueiro was born in the small cathedral city of Mondoñedo in 1911. His father was the town chemist, with a shop in the main square that was also a social hub. His mother is remembered as being a gifted storyteller. Alvaro’s happy childhood was linguistically enriched by both his father’s Castilian and his mother’s Galician.
He read History at the University of Santiago and was involved in literary matters from an early age, publishing his first volumes of verse in 1932 and reading avidly in several languages. After the Spanish Civil War he worked as a journalist, finding time to travel widely. He died in Vigo in 1981.
Though a fine essayist and poet, Cunqueiro is best known as a supreme cultivator of literary prose, marked by irony and gentle humour. His narratives in both Galician and Spanish are characterized by their richly imaginative historical settings.
His work has been seen by some as presaging the boom of Latin American magic realism.