Reinaldo Arenas (b. 1943, Oriente countryside – d. 1990 New York City): Arenas’ extensive body of work – novels, poetry, essays and plays – has been translated into a dozen languages and acclaimed the world over. He first won critical attention with the novel Celestino antes del alba, translated as Singing from the Well. The novel was followed by El mundo alucinante (Hallucinations), which was banned in Cuba but published in Mexico in 1969 and honored in France with the Medici Prize as the finest foreign novel of the year. He served two years in a Cuban prison and came to the United States on the Mariel boatlift in 1980. Among his other novels are Otra vez del mar, (Farewell to the Sea), El Central: A Cuban Sugar Mill, and Old Rosa: A Novel in Two Stories. The director Julian Schnabel captured the writers’ life in the 2000 film Before Night Falls, based on Arenas’ book of the same title. (Cintas for literature, 1981-82, 1986-87)

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