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After the war, she abandoned her formal education to devote herself to the arts.
Matute was among a group of Spanish writers who rose to prominence after the civil war — “the generation of the frightened children,” they were sometimes called.
In an interview with Le Monde Weekly in 1970, she said that while the war was deeply important, “we have overdone our jeremiads against those events.”“To my mind,” she continued, “our vocation was conditioned and stimulated more by the postwar period than by the war itself: the ‘dazed children,’ as I call my generation, grew up into discontented adolescents who rebelled against all forms of mysticism and myth and refused to identify with a world governed by rewards and punishment, by good and bad men.
The wolf was beginning to emerge from his sheep’s clothing.”Her writing was sometimes censored, and she was fined at least once, under the government of Francisco Franco, Spain’s dictator from 1939 until 1975. She collected awards throughout her career, including, in 2010, the Miguel de Cervantes Prize, the top literary award for works in Spanish. Matute was one of five children of a wealthy family from Barcelona. She was often ill when she was quite young, and she spent long periods recovering at a family home in a Castilian village in northern Spain, a place she revisited often in her writing.
Her family frequently moved between there, its home in Barcelona and Madrid. Matute grew accustomed to feeling like an outsider.