MEXICO CITY – Mexican intellectual Carlos Montemayor, a member of his nation’s academy of the language, died over the weekend in Mexico from a cancer he has been fighting for several months, publisher Random House Mondadori said. He was 62.
“With profound sadness, we confirm the death this Sunday before dawn of the novelist, essayist, translator, poet and promoter of indigenous literature,” the publisher said in a statement.
Montemayor, born in Parral, a town in the northern state of Chihuahua, on June 13,1947, was a renowned writer and journalist who contributed regularly to the daily La Jornada and the weekly Proceso.
Montemayor, a member of the Mexican Academy of the Language and of the Writers of Indigenous Languages Association, worked for years on social causes in his country and defended social activists, Indians and other minorities and underprivileged groups.
He was also dedicated to poetry as an author and translator of works in various languages such as Greek and Portuguese, and was an opera singer.
Notable among his novels were “Mal de Piedra” (Stone Sickness) in 1980, and “Guerra en Paraiso” (War in Paradise) in 1991, a tragic tale of the violence associated with guerrilla groups and the repression that afflicted Mexico at the beginning of the 1970s, which won him the Colima Prize for the novel.
He also won the Juan Rulfo International Prize for his story “Operativo en el Tropico” (Operation in the Tropics) in 1994, the Xavier Villaurrutia Prize for “Las Llaves de Urgell” (The Keys of Urgell) in 1971 and the Jose Fuentes Mares Prize for his volume of poetry “Abril y Otras Estacions” (April and Other Seasons) in 1979.
Montemayor’s latest book, entitled “La Violencia de Estado in Mexico” (State Violence in Mexico), is expected to hit the bookstores on Tuesday. EFE