Nicolás Guillén was a poet, journalist, political activist, writer, and first winner of Cuba's National Prize for Literature (1983). He was born Nicolás Guillén Batista in Camagüey, Cuba on 10 July 1902. He studied law at the University of Havana but gave it up, working as a typographer and journalist and beginning to publish poetry in the 1920s. Guillén's work was influenced by the poet Langston Hughes whom he met in 1930 and with whom he formed a lifelong friendship. Guillén drew from his mixed African and Spanish ancestry, blending traditional forms with Afro-Cuban culture. He was jailed for political reasons and joined the Communist Party; after the Cuban revolution in 1959, Guillén was welcomed back to Cuba by President Fidel Castro. He was the founder in 1961 of the Unión de Escritores y Artistas de Cuba and was considered the national poet of Cuba.