Claribel Alegría, born Clara Isabel Alegría Vides, is an exceptionally talented writer and journalist from Nicaragua and El Salvador. She began composing poetry when she was six. She would dictate her poetry and her mother would write them down for her. She was inspired by Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke and is quoted saying that collection of writing inspired her to become a poet. Besides poetry she also writes children’s stories and novels.
She published her first piece at seventeen and has since written over thirty other works. She received the Neustadt International Prize for Literature in 2006. This particular prize is won based solely on literary merit and any writer is eligible, regardless of language written in.
Claribel moved temporarily to the United States in the 1940’sto attend George Washington University where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy and Letters.
In addition to her literary work, Claribel was also a bit of a freedom warrior. She was part of a non-violent resistance movement against American occupation of Nicaragua and was closely associated with the Sandinista National Liberation Front that took control of the government in 1979.
Claribel has lived in Nicaragua, El Salvador, the USA, Mexico, Chile, Uruguay and Majorca. She was married to fellow writer, Darwin Flakoll until his passing in 1995. She returned to Nicaragua in 1985 and currently lives there in Managua.
Claribel is truly a literary legend and a talented, formative voice in contemporary Central American literature.
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