Elena Poniatowska | 2006 Lifetime Achievement Award
journalist and writer, Mexico.
Poniatowska began her journalism career in 1953 at Excelsior newspaper in Mexico, where she wrote social chronicles of Mexico’s upper classes and conducted interviews with writers, painters and other cultural figures. After a year there, Poniatowska started reporting for the newspaper Novedades, where she worked until 2000. A collaborator and contributor to various Mexican media outlets throughout her career, Poniatowska was one of the founders of Cineteca Nacional (National Film Archives), the newspaper La Jornada and Siglo XXI, one of Mexico’s most prestigious publishing houses. She also helped found the feminist magazine Fem in 1976.
Poniatowska is best known for La Noche de Tlatelolco (1971), which chronicles the lives and deaths of Mexican students who were protesting police repression one week prior to the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City. It was published in English in 1975 as Massacre in Mexico. Another of Poniatowska’s well know works is Hasta no verte Jesus mio (Here’s to You, Jesusa), which was published in 1969 and focuses on Mexico’s revolution of 1910 as shown through one woman’s personal struggle, becoming the collective portrait of thousands of oppressed Mexican women during that time period.
Poniatowska has written more than 20 books, including Querido Diego, te abraza Quiela (1976) (Dear Diego, Quiela Embraces You), Nada nadie: las voces del temblor (1988) ( Nothing, Nobody: The Voices of the Mexico City Earthquake) and Tinísima (1992), a biography about Italian photographer Tina Modotti. Poniatowska’s work has been translated into numerous languages.
In 1979, Poniatowska was the first woman to receive Mexico’s National Journalism Prize, which she was awarded for her outstanding contributions to the diffusion of Mexican cultural and political expressions. She holds several honorary degrees and has won various other awards, including a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1993 and the Mazatlan Prize for Literature twice, in 1972 and 1992. Poniatowska was also honored with the Xavier Villaurrutia Prize in 1971 for La Noche de Tlatelolco but declined it, arguing that no award went to those who died in the massacre.
Throughout her career, Poniatowska has been dedicated to promotion of equality, humanitarianism and human rights, particularly among women. She lives in Mexico, where she continues to write.
Elena Poniatowska is the first IWMF Lifetime Achievement Award winner from Mexico, followed by Alma Guilllermoprieto(2010).