Adriana Valdés

Click here if you want to see this biography in Spanish translation.

Biography of Adriana Valdés Budge, a prominent Chilean essayist. She is the first woman chosen as director of the Chilean Academy of Language. She assumed this position in January 2019.

She has been a professor of literature at the Catholic University of Chile. She was also a United Nations official for 20 years.

It is a respected firm of literary criticism and art theory.

First years of Adriana Valdés

Adriana Valdés Budge was born on October 3, 1943, in Santiago de Chile.

She studied at the Villa María Academy school, where she began to show her inclination towards the humanities and languages.

She studied Spanish literature at the School of Pedagogy of the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile.

Headquarters of the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. Credit: Wikipedia

In this prestigious institution, she taught as a professor at the Faculty of Letters, teaching courses in literature and aesthetics.

She collaborated in the founding of the magazine «Taller de Letras«. She was deputy editor of this magazine, until 1975.

Professional activities of this remarkable writer

After she left Pedagogical in 1975, she participated as a professor and researcher in different Chilean institutions.

In the mid-1970s, she began writing articles on Chilean culture, poetry, literature, and the visual arts. She was able to publish them in the prestigious magazine “Mensaje“, in various art catalogs and in academic magazines.

In 1975, she entered an international competition called by the United Nations. As a result, she was hired as a translator at the “Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean” (ECLAC), of the United Nations, based in Santiago.

Adriana Valdés, ECLAC official

She worked as a civil servant of this international organization for twenty-five years, until she requested early retirement in 2001. Initially she was a translator, then a proofreader and editor.

From 1991 until she retired, she held the position of Director of the ECLAC Documents and Publications Division.
As Director, she was responsible for supervising and coordinating all the work of the translators in the institution.

ECLAC headquarters in Santiago de Chile. Credit: Wikipedia

There, at ECLAC, she published “Women, Cultures, Development: Perspectives from Latin America”.
In this writing, she addressed the cultural changes in Latin America and their repercussions on the lives of women.

Adriana Valdés at the Chilean Academy of Language

In 1993, she received deserved recognition for her work and her career in the field of cultural criticism. Adriana Valdés was the fifth woman incorporated as a member of the “Chilean Academy of the Language“.

Adriana Valdés
Adriana Valdés in 2010, deputy director of the Chilean Academy of Language. Credit: web

It should be noted that the “Chilean Academy of the Language” was created in June 1885 by the Royal Spanish Academy.

This Chilean institution is one of the 23 academies grouped in the “Association of Academies of the Spanish Language”.

Last professional years of this remarkable writer

In 2001, Adriana Valdés retired from ECLAC early, to dedicate herself fully to research, writing and teaching.

In 2010, Adriana Valdés assumed the position of deputy director of the “Chilean Academy of Language”.

Eight years later, in December 2018, she was chosen as director. Adriana Valdés, succeeds Don Alfredo Matus, who was director of the institution for 24 years.

Adriana Valdés
Adriana Valdés new director of the Chilean Academy of Language. Credit: web

Since its founding in 1885, the Academy had always been run by men.

Adriana Valdés Budge is the first woman “director” of the “Chilean Academy of Language” in the 133 years of this venerable institution.

Currently, the Academy has 36 full members (including eight women), and another 17 make up it as corresponding members. Although the one in Chile is one of the academies with the greatest female presence, Adriana Valdés thinks that “they are still few and there are notable omissions“.

At the inauguration of the position of director, a good part of the Chilean intellectual world was present.

Adriana Valdés said on this occasion: “Due to a generous contribution of chance, precisely today, January 8, 2019, it is 70 years since women obtained the right to vote in Chile“.

She also had words to remember great women who with great difficulties managed to be taken into account. Among them, she mentioned Marie Curie. She added: “Neither did the Royal Spanish Academy ever incorporate María Moliner, who was at its doors when there were still no women in the institution.”

Books published by Adriana Valdés Budge

  • The first selection of her texts on Chilean literature and visual arts was published in 1996. She titled it “Composition of place. Writings on culture ”.
  • About ten years later, she published  the volume one “Visual memories – contemporary art in Chile.”
  • In 2008 she published the book “Enrique Lihn: partial views”. This work received the “Altazor Prize” for a literary essay.
  • She was also nominated for the Altazor Award, in 2012. She was nominated for her book “Of Angels and Nymphs: Conjectures on the Image in Warburg and Benjamin”.
  • A year earlier, in 2011, she published a book of poems: “Ladies of good dying.”
  • Contemporary Art in Chile” (2006), contains her essays on art.

Adriana Valdés, book editor

Adriana Valdés was the privileged reader of the manuscripts of the Chilean poet Enrique Lihn, of whom she was a couple until his death in 1988. In 1989, together with Pedro Lastra, Adriana Valdés edited the latest book by Enrique Lihn: “Diario de muerte”.

Together with Ana María Risco, she edited “Escritos sobre arte” by Enrique Lihn,.

She also edited two other books by Enrique Lihn: “Partial Views” and “Redefining the Human”. The latter was a bestseller, where Enrique Lihn reflects on the future of the Humanities in a world dominated by Technology.

Adriana Valdés was the first art critic to look at the work of the Chilean artist Alfredo Jaar, before he emigrated to New York.

She has written some of the best texts on the artist.

Among the publications of Adriana Valdés for Alfredo Jaar, the following stand out mainly:

  • Studies on happiness” (Barcelona, ​​1999).
  • Visual memories
  • Jaar / SCL” (2006)
  • Venezia, Venezia” (2013).

Awards and distinctions received by Adriana Valdés

Translation Award for Professional and Academic Excellence (2003), Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, with the sponsorship of the Santiago Association of Translators).

Adriana Valdés
Adriana Valdés, in October 2014, received the facsimile edition of “Canto general” by Pablo Neruda. Credit: web

In 2010 she received the Altazor Prize, in the literary essay category, for her book “Enrique Lihn: partial views”.

In 2013 she was a finalist for the same award with “About angels and nymphs. Conjectures on the image in Warburg and Benjamin ”.

Municipal Prize for Literature in Essay (2018)

Launched a few years ago to a more risky and public life, Adriana Valdés fills the rooms with her lectures on the future of the Humanities.

In the twentieth century, there have been many Chilean women who began to make news in the world. Among them: María Teresa Ruiz, notable astronomer. Violeta Parra, internationally famous folk singer. Marcela Contreras, notable doctor of medicine. All of them, preceded by the admirable poet Gabriela Mistral.

Click here if you want to see this biography in Spanish translation.

Please rate this biography using the stars: