About the Author
Rómulo Gallegos was born in Caracas into a family of humble origin. He began his work as a schoolteacher, writer, and journalist in 1903. His novel Doña Bárbara was first published 1929, and as a result was forced to flee Venezuela since he criticized the military regime at the time. He took refuge in Spain, where he continued to write: his acclaimed novels Cantaclaro (1934) and Canaima (1935) date from this period.
He returned to Venezuela in 1936 and served in a variety of senior positions in the government. In 1947 he ran for the presidency of the republic, won the election, took office in February 1948, and was overthown by a military coup d’état the following November. He took refuge first in Cuba and then in Mexico.
He was able to return to Venezuela in 1958. He was appointed a Senator for life, awarded the National Literature Prize, and elected to the Venezuelan Academy of the Language (the correspondent agency in Venezuela of the Spanish Royal Academy). The Rómulo Gallegos International Novel Prize was created in his honor in 1964, with the first award being made in 1967. He died in Caracas on on April 7, 1969.