He was born on May 9, 1938 in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, where he had a traumatic childhood during World War II. In 1954 he emigrated from Yugoslavia with his mother and his brother to join his father in the United States. They lived in and around Chicago until 1958.. His work has won numerous awards, including the 1990 Pulitzer Prize, a MacArthur Foundation “Genius Fellowship,” the Griffin International Poetry Prize, the Wallace Stevens Prize, and nomination as a United States Poet Laureate. He taught English and creative writing for more than 30 years at the University of New Hampshire. Although he immigrated to the United States from Yugoslavia as a teenager, Simic writes in English, drawing on his own experiences in war-torn Belgrade to compose poems about the physical and spiritual poverty of modern life. Liam Rector, writing for the Hudson Review, has noted that the author's work "has a purity, an originality unmatched by many of his contemporaries." Although Simic's popularity and profile may have risen dramatically over the two decades, his work has always received critical acclaim. . In the Chicago Review, Victor Contoski characterized Simic's work as "one of the most strikingly original poetry of our time, strikingly crude in its concepts, imagery, and language." Georgia Review correspondent Peter Stitt wrote: “The fact that [Simic] spent his first eleven years surviving World War II as a resident of Eastern Europe makes him a writer who leaves home in an especially profound way. ... he is one of the wisest poets of his generation and one of the best. "
During his diplomatic career befriends Mario Vargas Llosa, Gabriel García Márquez, Julio Cortázar, among others. His name is associated, therefore, to the Latin American Boom. Edwards' leitmotiv was a departure from the usual Chilean literature, it approaches to ruralist and focuses on urban and mesocratics environments from the country.
In Chile it is classified in the literary generation of 1950.
In 1971 Salvador Allende's goverment appointed charge d'affaires in the Chilean embassy in the Cuba of Fidel Castro. He remained in this position only three months, and because of his differences with the revolutionary government and his criticism of the totalitarian aspects of the scheme was declared persona non grata. The result of those experiences was his work
Persona non grata (1973), which makes a sober and corrosive criticism of Stalinism and time Cuban society. The book, get the rare distinction of being banned by both the Cuban government and by Chile, earned him the enmity of the political forces of left and created a great controversy among Latin American writers.
Novels: The Weight of the Night (1965), The Stone Guests (1978),
The wax museum (1981), The imaginary woman (1985), The host (1988), The origin of the world (1996), The dream of history (2000), The useless family (2004), The house of Dostoevsky (2008), The death of Montaigne (2011), The discovery of painting (2011-2013).
Stories: The courtyard (1952), People of the city (1961), The masks (1967), Themes
and variations (1969), Ghosts of flesh and blood (1992).
Journalistic work: Poets' whiskey (1997), Dialogues on a roof (2003).
Other work: Persona non grata (1973), From the dragon's tail (1977), Goodbye poet, biography
by Pablo Neruda (1990), Machado de Assis (2002), The purple circles (2012).
Awards and distinctions:
Municipal Short Story Prize (1962), Athena Prize (1965), Pedro de Oña Prize (1969), Municipal Prize (1970), Guggenheim Scholarship (1979), Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters - France (1985), Prize Comillas (1990), Municipal Essay Award (1991), Atenea Award (1994), National Literature Award (1994), World Essay Award (1997), Cervantes Award (1999), Knight of the Legion of Honor - France ( 1999), Order of Merit Gabriela Mistral (2000), José Nuez Martín Award (2005), Altazor Award Finalist (2005), Planeta-Casa de América Award (2008), Cristóbal Gabarrón Foundation Literature Award (2009), ABC Cultural & Ámbito Cultural Award from El Corte Inglés (2010), González Ruano Journalism Award (2011).