1904 - 1974

“The step-by-step matching of our internal rhythms—circulation, respiration—to the deliberate universal rhythms that surround, lull, rock, yoke us, is renounced when we set off in an automobile, at an insane speed, to simply cancel out distances, change locations, swallow up miles.”

 – Salvador Novo

Novo was a member of the avant-garde group Contemporáneos and began his career at an early age. Nuevo Amor (New Love, 1933) is considered one of the best collections of poetry ever written in Spanish; his play El tercer Fausto (The Third Faust, 1934) is an openly gay drama where one man, Alberto, sells his soul to the devil in order to become a woman to win the love of his life, Armando – only to learn Armando was already in love with him; and his Romance de Angelillo y Adela (Ballad of Angelillo and Adela, 1934) chronicles the love affair he had with poet Federico García Lorca. Novo’s New Mexican Grandeur (1943) was influential because of its depiction of Mexican popular culture. And his posthumously-published memoire The Pillar of Salt (1998) presents in explicit detail the underground gay life of Mexico City. Novo was a pioneer of Mexican radio and television and was the highest paid op-ed writer in Mexico. He was also a member of the prestigious Mexican Academy of Letters and won the National Prize for Literature in 1967. Novo was openly gay and tried to educate Mexican public opinion about the naturalness of homosexuality. Considered flamboyant and somewhat eccentric, he has been compared to Oscar Wilde, but unlike Wilde, Novo never suffered the setback of scandal or persecution and remained an accepted and respected member of society and governmental circles. In accordance with tradition, the street on which he lived was renamed after him when he assumed the role of Mexico City's official chronicler, a post he held until his death in 1974.


Gender Male

Sexual Orientation Gay

Gender Identity Cisgender

Ethnicity Latinx

Nations Affiliated Mexico

Era/Epoch Interwar Period (1918-1939) Mexican Miracle (1946-1970)

Field(s) of Contribution








Commemorations & Honors

Mexican Academy of Letters Member

Street Where Novo Lived Named After Him

Mexico City's Official Chronicler

National Prize for Literature Recipient (1967)

Google Doodle Commemorating Salvador Novo's 110th Birthday (2014)


Original Biography Author
Victor Salvo
Biography Edited By
Owen Keehnen
Resources Coordination
Carrie Maxwell