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The Virgilio Piñera digital collection contains correspondence exchanged between Piñera and Adolfo de Obieta during the 1940s and 1950s, as well as a typescript of Piñera’s play Una caja de zapatos vacía that he sent to his friend Luis F. González-Cruz, who published it in Miami in 1986.

Virgilio Piñera was a Cuban author, playwright, poet, and essayist known for his avant-garde work and lifestyle. He was born in Cárdenas, Matanzas, Cuba in 1912, and attended the University of Havana.  He lived in Buenos Aires from 1946 to 1958, where he worked in the Cuban embassy and published in the journal Sur. After returning to Cuba, he worked in the publishing industry and his writing appeared in numerous journals.  He was arrested in 1961 for his homosexuality and social views, and he fell out of favor with Cuban authorities by the 1970s, living his last years in poverty. He died in Havana in 1979 without official recognition.

Piñera’s earliest works were lyrical poetry, and one of his earliest plays, Electra Garrigó, was published in 1943. He published three novels, La carne de René (1952), Pequeñas maniobras (1963), and Presiones y diamantes (1967), but he is best known for his plays, especially his absurdist theater, winning the 1968 Casa de las Américas Prize for Theater for Dos viejos pánicos.

Source:  Smith, Verity. Encyclopedia of Latin American Literature. London: Fitzroy Dearborn, 1997.