Top 10 Best Mexican Authors Of All Time

Mexican authors craft narratives that tell both the stories of their own experiences and others around the world. Here is a round-up of the best Mexican authors.

Mexico is known for its great literature, and readers worldwide are familiar with many Mexican authors. Before the country was colonized, indigenous people in Mexico relied on storytelling to keep their history and traditions alive. Post-colonization, Mexican literature began to take on a quality known as mestizaje, which combined colonial Mexican language with European subject matter.

Today, Mexican literature is recognized for its rich, descriptive nature and its commitment to making the reader or listener feel as though they’re present in the described environment. We’ll explore the magical realism present in many Mexican literary works and discuss how Latin American literature has affected the world today.

Best Mexican Authors

1. Juan Rulfo

Juan Rulfo is a Mexican author best-known for his 1955 novel Pedro Páramo and El Llano en llamas, a collection of short stories he released in 1953. 

Rulfo had a difficult upbringing, losing both of his parents at a young age. Raised by his grandmother, Rulfo continued to struggle throughout his youth, as his family’s fortune fell at the hands of Roman Catholics during the Mexican Revolution.

Likely, Rulfo did not begin writing until well into his adult years. Rulfo’s books explore Mexican culture and ideas, helping readers worldwide feel as if they’re in rural Mexico alongside Rulfo’s protagonists.

El llano en llamas/ The Burned Plain (Idiomas Y Literatura) (Spanish Edition)
  • Juan Rulfo (Author)
  • Spanish (Publication Language)
  • 176 Pages - 01/01/2006 (Publication Date) - Editorial RM (Publisher)

2. Octavio Paz

Winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1990, Octavio Paz was an activist, author, and journalist known as a progressive figure in Mexico. Paz is known for his poems and essays, many of which take a critical lens of literature and art. Selected works are featured in the collection entitled The Collected Poems of Octavio Paz, published in 1952.

While Mexico was a prominent setting in most of Paz’s works, literary experts praise his essays and poems as international, allowing readers from around the world to identify with the themes and emotions Paz described.

On Poets and Others
  • Paz, Octavio (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 240 Pages - 08/05/2014 (Publication Date) - Arcade (Publisher)

3. Carlos Fuentes

Noted by The Guardian as Mexico’s most celebrated novelist, Carlos Fuentes was a much-loved Latino author. His works include The Old Gringo (1985) and Christopher Unborn (1987). Fuentes was awarded the Belisario Domínguez Medal of Honor in 1999. 

In addition to writing game-changing literature, Fuentes was the Mexican ambassador to France in the mid-1970s. Fuentes carefully considered his audience as he wrote and only used pen and paper to write his works.

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Aura: A Novel (English and Spanish Edition)
  • Great product!
  • Fuentes, Carlos (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 160 Pages - 09/01/1986 (Publication Date) - Farrar, Straus and Giroux (Publisher)

4. Laura Esquivel

Latin America-born Laura Esquivel is well-known for her bestseller, Like Water for Chocolate, later made a box office hit film. The novel focused on food, providing traditional Mexican recipes while connecting each recipe to an event in the narrator’s life. 

Esquivel has long said that she feels the kitchen is the essential part of the home, a thought which her writing. In addition to her literary work, Esquival has also served the people of Mexico as a Morena Party Federal Representative.

You might also be interested in our round-up of the best feminist authors.

Malinche: A Novel
  • Used Book in Good Condition
  • Laura Esquivel (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 191 Pages - 04/17/2007 (Publication Date) - Atria (Publisher)

5. Valeria Luiselli

Best Mexican authors: Valeria Luiselli
Ángel Soto Saldivar, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Born in Mexico City, Valeria Luiselli is a Latina author known for many literary works, including her bestselling novel Faces in the Crowd. Luiselli was the recipient of the MacArthur “Genius Grant” in 2015 and was awarded the Vilcek Prize for Creative Promise in Literature in 2020. 

The author founded a literacy program for female inmates in New York prisons committed to giving back. Currently, Luiselli teaches creative writing at Bard College. Luiselli now lives in New York.

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Lost Children Archive: A novel
  • Luiselli, Valeria (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 384 Pages - 02/04/2020 (Publication Date) - Vintage (Publisher)

6. Guadalupe Nettel

Contemporary Mexican author Guadalupe Nettel‘s debut novel, The Body Where I Was Born, was published in 2015 and met with widespread critical acclaim. Nettel was born with vision problems and was often the victim of bullying as a child, which caused her to retreat into the world of books.

After earning her Ph.D. in linguistics, Nettel wrote novels and short stories. The Body Where I Was Born was celebrated as a Neustadt International Prize for Literature Finalist.

La hija única (Narrativas hispánicas nº 652) (Spanish Edition)
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Nettel, Guadalupe (Author) - Nettel, Guadalupe (Narrator)
  • Spanish (Publication Language)
  • 202 Pages - 09/16/2020 (Publication Date) - Editorial Anagrama (Publisher)

7. Juan Villoro

Juan Villoro is a well-known Mexican author and the son of Luis Villoro, a renowned philosopher. Early in his career, Villoro worked as a journalist, reporting on art, music, and travel. 

Villoro has published many works, including The Reef, The Wild Book, and a collection of short stories called The Guilty. Villoro enjoys sharing his craft with others and has served as a visiting professor at top-tier universities, including Stanford, Yale, and Princeton.

Villoro is also known for his love of soccer, as explained in his novel God is Round.

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La tierra de la gran promesa / The Land of Great Promise (Spanish Edition)
  • Villoro, Juan (Author)
  • Spanish (Publication Language)
  • 408 Pages - 11/16/2021 (Publication Date) - Literatura Random House (Publisher)

8. Martín Luis Guzmán

Best Mexican authors:
User:Tatehuari el 14 de Agosto de 2007, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Politician and author Martín Luis Guzmán was one of the most well-known Mexican authors of the 20th century. He worked as a Senator in Mexico from 1969 until he died from a heart attack in 1976. 

The author published two novels about the Mexican Revolution: La sombra del caudillo (1929) and El águila y la serpiente (1928). Guzmán was awarded Mexico’s National Prize in Literature in 1958, after publishing many works, including La querella de México (1915), Memorias de Pancho Villa (1951), Necesidad de cumplir las Leyes de Reforma (1963), and Crónica de mi destierro (1964).

Memoirs of Pancho Villa (Texas Pan American Series)
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Guzmán, Martín Luis (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 550 Pages - 09/24/2013 (Publication Date) - University of Texas Press (Publisher)

9. Yuri Herrera

Latino author Yuri Herrera also serves his community as a political scientist and professor at Tulane University. Herrera is well-known for his first novel, Trabajos del reino, for which the author was awarded the Premio Binacional de Novela Joven in 2004. Herrera’s 2009 novel, Signs Preceding the End of the World, has also been met with wide critical acclaim.

You may also like our post on the best literary fiction authors.

Herrera works to bring socially conscious ideas to his stories. He once stated, “Literature cannot take full responsibility for creating good or bad men and women, but what it can do is give you the tools to make yourself into a conscious citizen. In this sense, I believe literature always entails a political responsibility.”

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Signs Preceding the End of the World
  • And Other Stories
  • Herrera, Yuri (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 128 Pages - 03/10/2015 (Publication Date) - And Other Stories (Publisher)

10. Sandra Cisneros

Best Mexican authors: Sandra Cisneros
Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ, United States of America, CC BY-SA 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Sandra Cisneros is a Mexican-American poet, essayist, novelist, performer, artist, and short story writer. Well-known for her novel The House on Mango Street, much of Cisneros’ work explores the intersection of Mexican-American culture and delves into what it means to be a Chicana woman living in the United States.

Cisneros is committed to social justice and founded the Macondo Writers Workshop in 1998. Cisneros founded the Alfredo Cisneros Del Moral Foundation, which helps financially support writers who live in or are otherwise associated with Texas.

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The House on Mango Street
  • Great product!
  • Sandra Cisneros (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 110 Pages - 04/03/1991 (Publication Date) - Vintage (Publisher)

The Final Word On Top 10 Best Mexican Authors

Mexican authors have much to offer the world, from fiction to works of art criticism. Many Mexican authors are deeply aware of injustices and spend time giving back to others. Whether you’re Latinx or enjoy reading about life in Latin America, be sure to keep an eye on both the classics and new releases from the Mexican authors listed here.

FAQs On The Top Ten Best Mexican Authors

Who are the up-and-coming Mexican writers to watch out for over the coming year?

In 2022, be sure to keep an eye out for The Spanish Daughter by Lorena Hughes, Queen of Urban Prophecy by Aya De León, and Olga Dies Dreaming by Xochitl Gonzalez.

What is the top university in Mexico for students who want to study literature?

The National Autonomous University of Mexico is widely regarded as the best university in Mexico for students interested in studying writing and literature.

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