BUENOS AIRES – Argentine writer and composer Maria Elena Walsh died Monday in Buenos Aires after a long illness, media outlets said. She was 80.
Walsh, who in recent months had cut her public appearances to a minimum, gained international fame for her creation of kiddy characters like “Manuelita la Tortuga” (Manuelita the Turtle).
Born in Buenos Aires in 1930, she published her first poem at 15 and her first book, “Otońo Imperdonable” (Unpardonable Autumn) two years later.
She wrote more than 40 children’s books and composed songs performed by popular singers like Mercedes Sosa and Joan Manuel Serrat.
In the 1950s she went into exile in Paris with her compatriot Leda Valladares, with whom she formed the duo Leda and Maria, and recorded the disc “Le Chant du Monde.”
During her four years in the French capital, she began writing poems and children’s stories, creations that eventually made her a household name throughout Latin America.
In the 1960s and 1970s she published most of her books for children.
In 1985 she was honored with the title of Illustrious Citizen of the City of Buenos Aires, and in 1990 was named Doctor Honoris Cause of the National University of Cordoba and Illustrious Personage of Buenos Aires Province.
In 1991 she was given the Highly Commended ranking in winning the Hans Cristian Andersen Prize awarded by the International Board on Books for Young People. EFE