Humberto Ak’abal

April 28th, 2010
by roland

Humberto Ak'abal

Humberto Ak'abal

Humberto Ak’abal was born in 1952 in Momostenango, Totonicapán, Guatemala.

He left school at twelve to work with his father weaving the heavy woollen blankets for which Momostenango is famous. He is the foremost Maya K’iche’ poet, and has been recognised with awards such as the Quezal de Oro APG in 1993 from the Guatemalan Journalists’ Association, an honorary degree from the University of San Carlos, Guatemala, the Blaise Cendrars International Poetry Prize in 1997, the UNESCO ‘Song of America’ Prize in 1998, and the Pier Paolo Pasolini Poetry Prize in 2004.

He was decorated by the French Ministry of Culture with the order of Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres in 2005. In 1994, he refused to accept Guatemala’s highest literary award, the Miguel Angel Asturias Prize, because it is named after a writer whose work Ak’abal considers to have encouraged discrimination against the Mayan people.