The literary prize cycle has begun again on 6 January = Epiphany = Day of the Three Kings = the holiday after the night children in Spain receive their big Christmas presents. For the Nadal (= “Christmas” in Catalan) prize it was the 73rd edition, for the Josep Pla prize (for a work written in Catalan, 6,000 EUR; no English Wikipedia article) the 49th.
The winners and their works:
Nadal – Spanish – 18,000 EUR – Care Santos (Mataró, 1970), Media Vida [Half a life]
A novel on the passage of time, the guilt’s weight, and the importance of forgiveness, set in the changing Spain of the 1980s; in 1981, during the week the legislation on divorce by Fernández Ordóñez is approved, to be precise. Five women meet again after 31 years of not seeing each other and after a terrible childhood experience in boarding school marked them for ever. Five girls playing the game of pledges, a harmless game that got skewed and developed into something horrible. The five women meet again to know what has happened to each of them since then and to try and find the forgiveness that maturity and the passing of time offers to them. Narrated in her usual style full of life, the work is set in the 1980s because it tries to portray an entire generation of women who had to reconstruct their destiny in a moment of deep social and political changes.
Josep Pla – Catalan – 6,000 EUR – Xavier Theros (Barcelona, 1963), La fada negra [The black fairy]
A historic thriller, set in the agitated Barcelona of 1843, of the bombardment against the Jamància rebellion. The protagonist is Llàtzer Llampades, a former merchant ship captain, marked by a tragic shipwreck, who now works as a policeman. A policeman who has to face a series of terrible child assassinations in a dirty and claustrophobic city, still within walls, where a revolution is about to start.
Theros: “La fada negra is a thriller, a very dark crime novel, that talks about a chain of assassinations, in which there is a poor outcast who was a seaman and ends up police captain in the Camància revolution [=Jamáncia rebellion] because everybody calls him captain. It’s a novel of passions and betrayed hopes in the Barcelona of 1843, a claustrophobic city, restrained by walls that didn’t let it grow and in which there took place two events that haven’t left much of a mark: one was the Camància revolt, one of the first uprisings carried out by the poor and miserable; and the second one a a bombardment that lasted three months, from Montjuïc [mountain] onto Ciutadella [“citadel”], that crushed the revolution and destroyed one third of the city.”
In general, this blogger doesn’t like literary prizes for unpublished works in which it seems the publishing houses use the prize as a cheap publicity campaign for well-known writers they already publish, but recently he has read some works that won the Nadal prize and are really good…
There is an older article partially on Care Santos winning a prize for a juvenile novel.
Xavier Theros is a Catalan writer and poet who has published several humorous books so far and who acts in monologues (Catalan Wikipedia article).
SOURCE: Justo Barranco, La Vanguardia, January 7, 2017, pp. 30 – 31 [printed edition]