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: El peso de la noche (1965), Los convidados de piedra (1978),
El museo de cera (1981), La mujer imaginaria (1985), El anfitrión (1988), El origen del mundo (1996), El sueño de la historia (2000), El inútil de la familia (2004), La casa de Dostoievsky (2008), La muerte de Montaigne (2011), El descubrimiento de la pintura (2011-2013).
Stories: El patio (1952), Gente de la ciudad (1961), Las máscaras (1967), Temas
y variaciones (1969), Fantasmas de carne y hueso (1992).
Journalistic work: El whisky de los poetas (1997), Diálogos en un tejado (2003).
Other work: Persona non grata (1973), Desde la cola del dragón (1977), Adiós poeta, biografía
de Pablo Neruda (1990), Machado de Assis (2002), Los círculos morados (2012).
Awards and distinctions:
Premio Municipal de cuento (1962), Premio Atenea (1965), Premio Pedro de Oña (1969), Premio Municipal (1970), Beca Guggenheim (1979), Caballero de la Orden de las Artes y Letras - Francia (1985), Premio Comillas (1990), Premio Municipal de Ensayo (1991), Premio Atenea (1994), Premio Nacional de Literatura (1994), Premio de Ensayo Mundo (1997), Premio Cervantes (1999), Caballero de la Legión de Honor - Francia (1999), Órden al Mérito Gabriela Mistral (2000), Premio José Nuez Martín (2005), Finalista del Premio Altazor (2005), Premio Planeta-Casa de América (2008), Premio de Letras de la Fundación Cristóbal Gabarrón (2009), Premio ABC Cultural & Ámbito Cultural de El Corte Inglés (2010), Premio González Ruano de Periodismo (2011).