Nadal prize at the start of a great year for reading

Recently Alexander Cammann commented in the German weekly Die Zeit that 2014 will be another great year for reading, as besides all the “mediatic” books, etc., there will be publishers who concentrate on Literature. We hope that his remarks for the German market also will be true for the Iberian peninsula.

The literary year in Spain started with the 70th edition of the Nadal [Christmas] and the 46th of the Josep Pla prizes, both awarded by Destino (part of Planeta).

The Nadal prize for a work in Spanish went to the writer and journalist Carmen Amoraga (Picanya, Valencia, 1969) for La vida era eso [Life was this].

“In Amoraga’s novel, the loss of a husband after a long illness leaves alone a woman in her fourties. Not alone. With two little daughters and all the people her husband connected with through the social networks he was fond of. From her initial rejection, the protagonists proceeds to establish relations with all of them, thereby overcoming her terrible loss and even redoing her life. According to the jury, the book has taken up ‘with a fine ear the language of the present’, it ‘approaches the new forms of communicating and relating with the others through social networks’ and in addition is able ‘to treat in a humorous way a difficult topic such as the loss of a loved one’. … Amoraga’s latest novel before the prize-winning one was El rayo dormido [The sleeping ray, 2012].”

The Josep Pla prize for a work written in Catalan went to the archivist and archaeologist Albert Villaró (La Seu d’Urgell, Lleida, 1964) for Els ambaixadors [The ambassadors].

“… a historical speculation (a genre called What if by the anglo-saxons) that theorizes on the question of what would have happened if, instead of the generals Sanjurjo and Mola, Francisco Franco had did in a plane crash. A novel with a plot full of current topics in which the Generalitat [regional government] of Catalonia seizes the moment to declare independence and in which the protagonists works as a spy for the Catalan government. Villaró, who is the director of the Culture and Tourism department of the government of Andorra, has been mainly a writer of crime fiction, such as his latest novel L’escala de dolor [The scale of pain, 2012] that has a police agent as protagonist. In 2006 he won the Carlemany prize with the crime novel Blau de Prússia [Prussian blue], set in the Pyrenees …

The Nadal and Pla prizes … have become two of the most prestigious in their respective languages. However, the number of works competing for the prizes has been in a steady decline. The winner of the Nadal was chosen from 231 entries (27% less than 2012); 23  works (2012: 27) opted for the Josep Pla prize.”

Source:  article by José Ángel Montañés in El País newspaper

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