MEXICO CITY – Award-winning Mexican writer Ernesto de la Peña Muñoz died Monday, Mexico’s Conaculta culture and arts council said. He was 84.
His death represents a loss for the entire Spanish-speaking world, Conaculta chair Consuelo Saizar said on Twitter.
De la Peña died just days after the Mexican ambassador to Spain, Francisco Javier Ramirez Acuña, accepted on the writer’s behalf the Menendez Pelayo International Prize.
The writer’s failing health prevented him from traveling to Menendez Pelayo International University in the Spanish city of Santander to accept the honor in person.
Nonetheless, on campus at the College of Mexico, which co-sponsors the prize, De la Peña gave a teaching conference entitled “The Realities of Quixote,” which explored the differences between the perceptions of Don Quixote and of his squire Sancho Panza.
De la Peña said at the time that the Menendez Pelayo prize, aside from being a “stimulus” to continue acquiring knowledge, reaffirmed him in his “existential vocation” to study, the activity that truly drove his life.
A member of the Mexican Academy of the Language since 1993 and a gifted linguist whose knowledge extended to Sanscrit and Hebrew, De la Peña was a student of classical literature.
In the course of his life he received Mexico’s National Arts and Sciences Award in the field of linguistics, the Fine Arts Gold Medal and the National Jose Pages Llergo Prize for Cultural Journalism. EFE