Mexican writer and journalist Rafael Ramírez Heredia

Mexican writer and journalist Rafael Ramírez Heredia, author of plays, short stories, and novels, with a realistic, simple, direct, and testimonial style, which often analyzes social problems. Awarded with innumerable national and international prizes.

Mexican writer and journalist Rafael Ramírez Heredia
The Mexican writer and journalist Rafael Ramírez Heredia was born on January 9, 1942. Image and text: Cultura

Tamaulipas writer and journalist Rafael Ramirez Heredia considered one of Mexico's masters of contemporary short stories and a skillful creator of characters, atmospheres, and characters will celebrate the anniversary of his birth on January 9, for which he is remembered as one of the authors who successfully ventured into a narrative based on realism and the noir novel.

The author, originally from Tampico, Tamaulipas, was a keen observer of the chiaroscuros of Mexican reality, which, he said, did not coincide with what sociologists said or what the newspapers published since honesty, tranquility, love, and death were also present in this reality. Ramírez Heredia, also known as El Rayo Macoy, the title of his best-known text, was a tireless writer, author of a vast work that includes books of short stories, novels, theater, chronicles, and reports, died on October 24, 2006, at the age of 64.

He studied accounting at the School of Commerce and Administration of the National Polytechnic Institute, where he taught literature and novels at the School of the General Society of Writers of Mexico (Sogem). Ramírez Heredia worked as a correspondent in Greece, Turkey, Italy, England, and Ireland, among others, and in Mexico, he trained young writers in literary workshops with the support of the National Institute of Fine Arts and Literature.

His characters, common people

His work deals with common people who can be found on a street corner and who take public transportation, people who wander along avenues; he describes faces that were interesting to him. Ramírez Heredia developed short stories, novels, and theater. His writing stood out for being a direct and simple narration. He also had a strong inclination for the detective novel.

In 1976 he received the National Theater Award from the National Association of Theater Producers for his play Dentro de estos ocho muros. A year later he received an honorable mention in the International Theater Award for his play Los piojos, and in 1978 he received the National Novel Award from the Primera Plana Club for En el lugar de los hechos.

In 1983 he was awarded the National Prize for Police Short Story for his text Junto a Tampico. In 1984 he was awarded the Juan Rulfo International Prize, given by the French government through Radio France International for the best short story in Spanish for his book El Rayo Macoy.

In 1990 he won the Juan Ruiz de Alarcón Prize awarded by the government of the state of Guerrero and in the same year the International Award of Letters of the Society of Writers of the former Soviet Union.

For his work as a whole, in 1993 he was awarded the Rafael Bernal Prize given by Sogem; in 1997 he received the National Literature Prize and the Nuevo León Culture Council Prize for the best novel published in Mexico between 1995 and 1997 for his book Con M de Marilyn; in 1997 and 1999 he was awarded the Rafael Ramírez Castañeda and Juan de Dios Bátiz medals, respectively, for his years of service in the teaching profession.

In 2004 he was awarded the Chilean Art Critics Circle Prize for the best foreign book of the year for his novel La Mara. The following year, he was awarded the Dashiel Hammett Prize by the International Association of Crime Writers for the best crime novel for the same text.

His novelistic production includes El ocaso (1966); Camándula (1970); Tiempo sin horas (1972); En el lugar de los hechos (1976); Trampa de metal (1979); El sitio de los héroes (1983); Muerte en la carretera, (1985); La jaula de Dios (1989); Al Calor de Campeche (1992); La esquina de los ojos rojos (2006) -three crime novels-, and De llegar Daniela (2010), his posthumous novel.

In short stories he wrote, among others, El enemigo (1965); El rey que aguarda (1973); De viejos y niñas (1980); El Rayo Macoy (1984), which went through nine editions; Paloma Negra (1987); Los siete pecados capitales (1987) and Los territorios de la tarde (1988), among others.

His chronicles include Tlatoani (1975); Cuando pierde un mexicano (1978); La Nota roja (1990-1994); Crónicas de una ciudad ganada (1999), and Tauromagias (2000). In reportage, La otra cara del petróleo (1979) and Ruiz Massieu: el mejor enemigo (colectivo) (1995), to name a few.

He has collaborated with newspapers and magazines: Cambio 16, Cantera Verde, El Correo de Tapachula, El Diario de México, El Financiero, El Heraldo de México, El Mundo de Tampico, El Nacional, El Sol de México, El Universal, Enigma (Cuba), Excélsior, La Jornada and Siempre!