For Spanish novelist Ana Maria Matute, writing is an expression of life.

"To write is to live, to live in a world of my own creation," she says.Matute - winner of the Nadal, Spain's equivalent to the Pulitzer - will speak at Brigham Young University Monday, March 12, at 3:30 p.m. Her lecture, in Room 2084 of the Jesse Knight Humanities Building, will be in Spanish.

John R. Rosenberg, associate chair of the BYU Spanish and Portugese department, said they are anxious to have her come and share her experiences with those in the BYU


"She has been under consideration for the Nobel Prize, and she is certainly one of the three or four top Spanish novelists of the 20th century," he said. "She is also one of the first women writers in all of Spanish literature."

Michael Doyle, professor at the University of Notre Dame and Matute's translator, said writing is a way for her to express her sense of malaise and uneasiness with the real world.

She writes to remember, to neutralize oblivion by giving new voice to what was or might have been, he said.

Matute has published 26 fiction books - nine novels, nine collections of short stories and eight children's books.

She was born in Barcelona, Spain, in 1925 and began to write when she was 5 years old. Part of her youth was spent in Madrid as well, something that Doyle said caused her to feel like an outcast.

Illnesses at an early age, witnessing the Spanish civil war and other experiences may be the reason for a recurring theme in her works of alienation, solitude, illness, wretchedness, injustice, indignation, lost innocence, compassion, violence and death, he said.

Her writing is an attempt to recapture and comprehend the past effectively whether it be through stark realism or poetic prose, he said.

More recently Matute has concentrated her efforts on children's literature because "they understand me better. There is no deception, no tricks. I feel good when I write a book for children," she said.

Doyle said, "Much of her literature is a cautionary tale about children and adolescents who are forced to cross the threshold from innocence to the other side of the coin."

Matute has won nine literary awards in Spain, including the National Book Award, once for her adult fiction and once for her children's literature. Her books have been translated into 23 languages.

She is a writer-in-residence at the universities of Indiana, Oklahoma and Virginia.