A Guatemalan poet, author and activist, he received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1967. His best-known works include El Senor Presidente and Men of Maize.
He obtained a law degree from the University of San Carlos in 1923. He published one of his first literary works, Sonetos, in 1936.
His epic work, The Banana Trilogy, deals with the exploitation of native people on banana plantations.
He was born in Guatemala City, Guatemala, and he died in Madrid, Spain. His son, Rodrigo Asturias, was the leader of the Unidad Revolucionaria Nacional Guatemalteca, a rebel group that was active during the 1980s.
He received the Lenin Peace Prize from the Soviet Union three years after Pablo Picasso earned the same honor.