Leñero, Vicente (1933–)

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Leñero, Vicente (1933–)

Vicente Leñero is a Mexican writer and journalist. Leñero was born on June 9, 1933, in Guadalajara, Jalisco. He earned a degree in engineering, which he practiced very briefly. During the early 1960s Leñero was a full-time journalist, and subsequently he continued working in that profession. He has published short stories, novels, dramas, and cultural reports, and he has made decisive contributions to some of the most important journalistic and cultural enterprises in recent Mexican history. Since 1976 he has served on the board of the magazine Proceso.

Inspired by the exemplary works of Juan Rulfo and Juan José Arreola, Leñero published his first book, La polvareda y otros cuentos, in 1959. Published two years later was his first novel, La voz adolorida, a revised version of which later appeared under the definitive title A fuerza de palabras. This work began a novelistic career unique in Mexican literature. Perhaps because of his engineering background, Leñero is very conscious of the structure of his novels and in each of them displays a will to master a radically different and complex structure. This formal preoccupation has produced at least one masterpiece, Los albañiles (1964), winner of the Biblioteca Breve Prize for a novel in 1963, at that time the most prestigious recognition that existed in the Spanish language.

Although some critics consider the spontaneity of Leñero's works excessive and even distracting, his approach has led him to explore the most diverse novelistic subgenres while reflecting with clarity and honesty on some of the most critical moral problems of our time. His screenplays for El callejón de los Milagros (1995) and El Crimen del Padre Amaro (2002), one of Mexico's highest-grossing films, have earned him great acclaim in that genre.

See alsoArreola, Juan José; Cinema: Since 1990; Journalism; Literature: Spanish America; Rulfo, Juan.


Danny J. Anderson, Vicente Leñero: The Novelist as Critic (1989).

Additional Bibliography

Rea, Joan. "El conflicto de conciencias en los dramas de Vicente Leñero." Latin American Theater Review (Spring 1998): 97-105.

                                    Jorge Aguilar Mora