December 26, 1904 marks the birthdate of Swiss-born Cuban writer Alejo Carpentier. Born in Lausanne, Carpentier first moved to Havana with his family as an infant, and continued to identify as Cuban throughout his life. He is famed for popularizing magical realism, lo real maravilloso, in Latin American literature, a concept he explored in his 1949 novella A Kingdom of This World, which dealt with the Haitian Revolution. He was also a renowned scholar of Cuban music and Afro-Cuban culture. Carpentier lived the last years of his life in Paris, where he’d been appointed Ambassador by Fidel Castro, and died of cancer in 1980.