Poetess Gabriela Mistral was Latin America’s first (and thus far only) woman to receive a Nobel Prize in Literature. Born in Vicuña, Chile on April 7, 1889, her given name was Lucila Godoy y Alcayaga. At 15 years old, she became a schoolteacher and began composing poetry; several of her early poems concerned the suicide of her lover. Gabriela continued publishing verse as she taught elementary and secondary students in Chile, the United States, and Mexico.
In 1925, she retired from education and earned money writing editorials and lecturing. That same year, Gabriela was chosen to speak for Latin America on the League of Nations’ International Committee on Intellectual Cooperation. From 1930-1933, she taught at Barnard College, Middlebury College, Vassar College, and the University of Puerto Rico. On November 15, 1945, Gabriela was bestowed the Nobel Prize in Literature "for her lyric poetry which, inspired by powerful emotions, has made her name a symbol of the idealistic aspirations of the entire Latin American world." She passed-away on January 10, 1957 from pancreatic cancer. She was 67 years old.
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