Snippet: Ramon Llull prize 2017 to Pilar Rahola

It’s the most important and highest endowed literary prize for a Catalan novel, and also in its 37th edition it has been awarded to a so called “mediatic” author, i.e. a writer better known for their TV appearances than for their literary merits, though this year at least there exists no doubt as to the winner’s authorship in Catalan…

The 2017 winner is Pilar Rahola (Barcelona, 1958; Wikipedia article) for her novel Rosa de Cendra [Ash Rose]. The novel will be published in Catalan, Spanish, and French.

Rough summary from the source:

It is a family’s history in a very convulsive moment in which there mix hopes and miseries. Barcelona between 1901 and 1908. The protagonist, Albert Corner, after surviving the Cuban war [1898] returns to his country, but he is no longer the same: an unscrupulous man. The survivor makes a fortune and gets connected to the upper Catalan bourgeoisie. The beginning of organized trade unionism, Lerrouxisme with its dialectic anti-Catalan load, the Anarchists’ bombs… everything finds its place in the novel. In total there are two well-defined male protagonists, and the plot is centered on the Setmana Tràgica [Tragic week] of 1909.

Other writers before Rahola have written about the events of the Setmana Tràgica, for more details cf. the Wikipedia article.

Update March 24, 2017:

A few days after the award ceremony, the El País columnist Jordi Llovet had these interesting thoughts on literary prizes in Spain in general and this year’s Ramon Llull in particular (an article by Joan de Sagarra pointed it out):

Literary prizes are normally given by the publisher, not the jury; the prizes are given to individuals who guarantee good sales not for the quality of the books presented by the writers or those previously commissioned from them, but for their notoriety as public figures, often of audiovisual media; and, at last, the less money is offered in a literary prize competition -as with the Anagrama prizes-, the more solvent is the choice of the winner and the more adjusted to quality.

[As to the Ramon Llull] It would be better to call it “Honors in patriotism”.

 

SOURCE: Núria Escur, La Vanguardia, Feb. 4, 2017, p. 37 [printed edition]; Jordi Llovet, El País, Feb. 16, 2017

 

 

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