English  |  Español  |  中文

FCG International Literature 2005: JOSÉ MANUEL CABALLERO BONALD


“In deciding this award, the Jury considered the huge and splendid work of Caballero Bonald in its totality, with his permanent dedication to ethics, his profound commitment to literature, having published fundamental books as a poet, novelist and prose writer, having also taken into account his teaching work, as well as this creative activity. Throughout his life Caballero Bonald has been an example of a man who is deeply devoted to creativity from his absolute inner freedom and the decency of his message”. According to the jury that met in Valladolid on July 11, 2005, chaired by Mr. Andrés Quintanilla Buey, President of the Castilla Leon Academy of Poetry; and made up by the following members, Ms. Rosa Pereda de Castro, writer and journalist; Ms. Paz Ramos Pérez, journaist at Radio Nacional de España (RNE); Mr. Ángel Sánchez Harguindey, deputy editor of El País newspaper; and Mr. José Miguel Santiago Castelo, deputy editor of ABC newspaper.




1926. Born on November 11th in Jerez (Spain), in Caballeros Street -where his Foundation is currently located-, José Manuel Caballero Bonald is the son of Plácido Caballero, a Cuban whose mother was of European descent and whose father was from Santander; and of Julia Bonald, belonging to a branch of the family of the viscount of Bonald, a traditional French philosopher who settled in Andalucia in the middle of the 19th century.


1936-1943. He studied at the Marianistas de Jerez School. The Spanish Civil war broke out.  Caballero Bonald spent some time in the Sierra de Cádiz and in Sanlúcar de Barrameda.  He read the first books that were to influence him:  Jack London, Emilio Salgari, Robert Stevenson, José de Espronceda.


1944-1948. He undertook nautical studies in Cadiz.  He wrote his first poems.  He made friends with members of the Cadiz magazine Platero: Fernando Quiñones, Pilar Paz Pasamar, Felipe Sordo Lamadrid, Serafín Pro Hesles, Julio Mariscal, José Luis Tejada, Francisco Pleguezuelo, Pedro Ardoy...  He did his military service in the Milicia Naval Universitaria and spent two summers  sailing in the waters of the Canaries, Morocco and Galicia.  He then got a lung illness and therefore had to spend some time in the Jerez countryside.


1949-1952. He studied philosophy and literatura in Seville.  He made friends with members of the Cordoba magazine Cántico. He receive dthe Platero Poetry Award for his poem "Mendigo" [Beggar]  (1950).

He continued his studies of Literature in Madrid and worked on the First Biennial Hispano-American Art Festival. His first poetry anthology was published, Las Adivinaciones [The Prophecies], runner-up in the Adonais Award (1952).


1953-1959. He poetry anthologies were published, entitled Memorias de Poco Tiempo [Memories of a Little While] (1954) and Anteo (1956).  He served as Secretary and later as Deputy Editor of the Papeles de Son Armadans magazine.  These were  his first clandestine activities through his connection with Dionisio Ridruejo. H lived in paris for six months.  

He published Las Horas Muertas [The Dead Hours] (1959), a book for which he was given the Boscán and Critics’ Awards.


1959-1962.  His friendship started with poets who would later make up the 50s Group.  In February 1959 in Collioure (France), he attented the 20th Aniversary of the death of  Antonio Machado, along with Blas de Otero, José Agustín Goytisolo, Ángel González, José Ángel Valente, Jaime Gil de Biedma, Alfonso Costafreda and Carlos Barral.

He moved to Bogota, where he taught Spanish Literatura and Humanities in the Universidad Nacional de Colombia.  There he started his friendship with the Columbian group of the Mito magazine (composed of Jorge Gaitán Durán, Gabriel García Márquez, Eduardo Cote, Hernando Valencia, Pedro Gómez Valderrama y Fernando Charry Lara, among others), who published hi poetry anthology entitled El Papel del Coro [The Choir’s Role], in 1961.

He travelled through several South American countries.  In 1962, he published his first novel, Dos Días de Setiembre [Two September Days], which received the Biblioteca Breve Award from the Seix Barral pubishing company..


1963-1964. He returned to Spain and took up several publishing posts.  He was arrested and fined for political reasons.  In 1963 he published the poetry anthology entitled Pliegos de Cordel [Sheets of String], and his travel book on Cádiz, Jerez and the Harbours.


1965-1968. He spent some time in Cuba and became part of an organization aimed at paying homage to Antonio Machado in Baeza, in 1966, which was finally prohibited by government order.  He published the Narrativa Cubana de la Revolución [Cuban Narrative of the Revolution] (1968), and he was once again arrested for political rehaznos and imprisoned for one month in Carabanchel Jail.


1969-1970.  A complete volume of his poetry was published, under the title Vivir para Contarlo [Live to Tell It] along with the Archivo del Cante Flamenco [File of a Flamenco Singer], an album of six discs and a preliminary studym, which was awarded the National Album Award. 

He travelled through several European countries.  His book Dos Días de Setiembre [Two September Days], which had alredy been translated into French and Czech, was also Publisher in Romanian.


1971-1972. He started working for the Lexicography Seminar of the Royal Spanish Academy, where he stayed until 1975. In 1973 he also started working as literary editor for Júcar Publications, a positions which he also occupied unti 1975.  He gave courses on narrative in several European universities and attended literary symposiums.


1973-1975. His novel entitled Ágata Ojo de Gato [Agatha Cat’s Eyes] was published in 1974 and was given the Barral Award (which José Manuel Caballero Bonald rejected) and the Critics’ Award.


He worked as as Contemporary Spanish Literature Professor athe the Centre for Hispanic Studies at Bryn Mawr College, from 1974 to 1978.  In 1975 he published the essay entitled Luces y Sombras del Flamenco [Lights and Shades of Flamenco].  He participated in the setting up of the Democratic Board, and he was therefore tried by the Court of Public Order. He once again travelled to Cuba.


1976-1977. He participated in several literary encounters in Europe. 

He spent long periods of time in Sanlúcar de Barrameda, and got the Shipping Patron licence. 

In 1977 his book entitled Descrédito del Héroe [The Discrediting of a Hero], for which he was once again awarded the Critic’s Prize.


1978-1979. He was appointed President of the PEN Club Español (from which he resigned in 1980). 

In Madrid, the National Drama Center performed his version of Abre el Ojo [Open Your Eye], by Rojas Zorrilla. His poetry anthology Poesía, 1951-1977, was published. His novel Ágata Ojo de Gato was translated into Romanian.

He continued participating in seminars and congresses within Spain and abroad and also travelled throughout South America. 

He was awarded the "Pablo Iglesias" Literatura Award.


1980-1982.  In 1980 he published Breviario del vino [Wine Breviary]. In 1981, his novel Toda la Noche Oyeron pasar Pájaros [They Heard Birds Passing By All Night], was published and it was awarded the "Ateneo de Sevilla" Prize.  In 1982, he took charge of publishing an anthology of Góngora’s poems.  He continued participating in lectures in several American universities.


1983-1984. His poetry anthology, Selección Natural [Natural Selection] and his book Laberinto de Fortuna [Maze of Fortune] were published.


1985-1988. He once again spent some time in the United States.  He published Los Personajes de Fajardo [The Fajardo Characters] (1986) and De la Sierra al Mar de Cádiz [From the Mountain Range to the Cadiz Sea] (1988).   He received the "Ibn-al-Jatib" Poetry Award. 

His work En La Casa del Padre [In the Father’s House] was published and it received the Plaza y Janés Award, also in 1988.


1989-1992. A High School bearing his name was inaugurated in Jerez.  The poetry anthology entitled Doble Vida [Double Life] was published (1989) as well as the books entitled Andalucía (1989) and Sevilla en Tiempos de Cervantes [Seville at the Time of Cervantes] (1992). 

A public library bearing his name was inaugurated in Marbella. 

He travelled through several countries, participating in lectures, gatherings and congresses.


1993-1994. The first edition of the novel Campo de Agramante [The Agramante Field] was published.  He won the Andalucía Literature Award. He was appointed corresponding member of the North American Spanoish Language Academy. 

The National Classic Theatre Company performs his version of Don Gil de las Calzas Verdes [Sir Gil of the Green Stockings] by Tirso de Molina. 

The Sanlúcar de Barrameda Town Council named a street after him. 

Newly revised editions of Descrédito del Héroe and Laberinto de Fortuna were published in one volume (1993).


1995-1997. His work Tiempo de Guerras Perdidas [Time of Lost Wars], the first volume of his memoirs, was published in 1995, along with his anthology of poetry entitled El Imposible Oficio de Escribir [The Impossible Profession of Writing] (in 1997).

He resided during most of this time in Montijo, in fron of the Doñana natural park, on the Atlantic coast of Cadiz.  

The Antonio Gades Company performed his ballet adaptation of Fuenteovejuna.  

The Jerez City Council created the Caballero Bonald Foundation. He was awarded the title of Favourite Son of Andalucía.  His poetry collection Diario de Argónida was published.


1998-2000. In 1999, he published the poetry anthology Poesía Amatoria and the prose selection entitled Copias del Natural [Copies of the Natural].

He was awarded the title of Favourite Son of the Province of Cadiz.  He received the Golden Medal of the Fine Arts Circle amd the Julián Besteiro Award for Arts and Literature.

He travelled throughout Japan, Italy and Morocco, living courses and participating in several seminars. He was awarded the title of Favourite Son of Jerez.


2001. The second volume of his memoirs was Publisher under the title La Costumbre de Vivir [The Custom of Living].


2002. His prose anthology Mar Adentro [The Sea Inside] was published along with a study on José de Espronceda.


2003. He wrote the script for 250 programs of the documentary series “Andalucía de Cine”, directed by Manuel Gutiérrez Aragón and poduced by Juan Lebrón, for the Andalusean Radio and Television.  His Personal Anthology was published by the Visor Publishing Company, accompanied by a CD of poems recited by its author.


2004. A complete volume of his poetry works was published, under the title Somos el Tiempo que nos Queda [We are the Time We Have Left], published by the Seix Barral Publishing Company.

He was awarded a Doctor Honoris Causa by the University of Cádiz. The awarding ceremony took place on the new university campus at Jerez de la Frontera.

He also won the Queen Sofía de Iber-American Poetry Award.


You may also find infomation at: www.fcbonald.com