Moments ago it was known: Pilar Quintana (The bitch, Little Red Riding Hood eats the wolf) was the winner of the Alfaguara Prize 2021 for The abysses. It is one of the most important literary awards given to an unpublished work written in Spanish to which, for the first time, participants have been able to send their originals both in physical and digital format, which, according to the Alfaguara publishing house, has meant “an absolute participation record.” The news was known in Argentina through the transmission via streaming coordinated by Penguin Random House, the publishing group to which the Alfaguara label belongs, which was broadcast from the Casa de América amphitheater in Madrid.
More of 2,400 manuscripts from Spain and Latin America had been submitted to the Alfaguara Novel Prize which, endowed with $ 175,000 (144,500 euros), which ruled moments ago, with a jury chaired by the Colombian Héctor Abad Faciolince and also included by the writers Irene Vallejo and Ana Merino, the journalist and writer Xavi Ayén, the international director of the Hay Festival, Cristina Fuentes La Roche, the journalist and bookseller from Nollegiu, in Barcelona, Xavier Vidal, and the editorial director of Alfaguara, Pilar Reyes (with voice but without vote). Last year, the award went to Save the fire, by Guillermo Arriaga (Mexico, 1958), which last year became the best-selling book in Mexico, while in 2019 it had won the Argentine Patricio Pron by Tomorrow we will have other names.
Abad Faciolince acknowledged that the jury debated between three finalist novels, which ended up tying in an internal one that the jury undertook to define itself: finally, the virtues of the winning novel ended up conforming those in charge of the final choice. “It enters the darkness of the adult world from the half of a girl who enters the story of separation from her parents,” he explained. “It is a novel story told with luminous prose,” he stressed.
Image of the celebration in which the winner of the Alfaguara Novel Prize was announced last year, at the Casino de Madrid. Photo: EFE
The winner, who spoke live, and said she felt excited and nervous, also takes home a sculpture by Martín Chirino and the simultaneous publication in Spain and Latin America.
Of the 2,428 manuscripts that were submitted to this XXIV edition, 1,293 had been sent from Spain, 419 from Argentina, 259 from Mexico, 187 from Colombia, 74 from the United States, 73 from Chile, 88 from Peru, and 35 from Uruguay.
“One of the good news is that in a pandemic, books have served us as a refuge and comfort, and according to a statistic from our group 37% of people read more and expect to continue this habit in the future“, highlighted Nuria Cabuti, CEO of Penguin Random House, who also announced the opening of the reception of originals for the 2022 edition.
News in process