Silvina Ocampo

About the Author

Silvina Ocampo was born in Buenos Aires in 1903, the youngest of six children in an elite Argentine family. Silvina’s eldest sister, Victoria, later became an author and founder of Sur magazine and is remembered as one of Argentina’s great cultural figures. Educated at home, Silvina would later study drawing in Paris. Ocampo’s literary career began with the publication in 1937 of her first book of short stories, Viaje olvidado (The Forgotten Journey), but it would be eleven years until the next volume of prose writing would appear in the form of Autobiografía de Irene (Irene’s Autobiography) published in 1948. During the intervening years, however, Ocampo published three volumes of award-winning poetry, Enumeración de la patria, Espacios métricos and Los sonetos del jardín. Throughout the rest of her life, Ocampo would continue to write both poetry and short stories; she is in particular remembered today for her numerous children’s stories.

During the 1930s, she scandalised even her inner circle when she took the much younger Adolfo Bioy Casares first as her lover and, later, her husband. Following her marriage to Bioy Casares in 1940, Ocampo collaborated with her husband and their close friend, Jorge Luis Borges, on two literary anthologies. In contrast to many of those around her who became national icons of their generation, Ocampo remained suspicious of journalists throughout her life, and refused to participate in the more public aspects of a writer’s career. In 1954, following Bioy Casares’ death, Ocampo adopted his daughter Marta.

Among several literary awards earned throughout her literary career, Silvina Ocampo was awarded the National Prize for Poetry in 1962. She died in her native Buenos Aires in 1993. Her work has been translated into French, German, English and Italian.

Books by the author