Ramon Llull prize for Sílvia Soler

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]

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