Sílvia Soler (Figueres, 1961) is the winner of this year’s Ramon Llull prize for an original novel in Catalan, awarded by the publishing behemoth Planeta; the Ramon Llull prize is endowed with 60.000 EUR (- the Planeta, awarded by the same publisher, for a work in Spanish, with 600.000,- EUR). The winning novel is entitled L’estiu que comença [The summer that begins] and will be published on March 7, and it will also be translated into Spanish and French [together with Catalan official languages in Andorra, that co-financed the prize in the past].
The novel starts with two young women that are friends, and pregnant at the same time; and who think about the possible relations their respective offspring will have in the future. This occurs in 1961, and the author follows the offspring, a girl, Júlia Reig, and a boy, Andreu Balart, over the next 50 years. The plot is set in a fictional small village on the coast, where the two families are closely observed and the villagers remember a tragedy of the past; and real events, like the Summer Olympics of 1992 or a bomb attack by ETA on a hypermarket in Barcelona in 1987, appear in the background of the story. The author defines her novel as a “summer book”, because both protagonists keep a tradition of celebrating the start of the summer together (St. John’s night; 24 June – celebrated with bonfires and firecrackers). The prize jury stressed the optimism conveyed by the novel; an attitude hard to come by in crisis ridden Catalonia and Spain.
Amazon offers one of Sílvia Soler’s novels in English, Look me in the Eye.
[Part of the information of this post was taken from an article by Montserrat Serra, published on vilaweb on Feb. 1]