Rafael Cadenas wins the Cervantes Prize

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The Venezuelan poet beat candidates like Luis Mateo Díez, Enrique Vila-Matas, Álvaro Pombo, Luis Goytisolo, María Victoria Atencia or Bryce Echenique

Venezuelan poet Rafael Cadenas is the winner of the Cervantes 2022 Prize, the highest institutional recognition of our letters, which failed this Thursday for the 47th edition. Miquel Iceta, Minister of Culture and Sports, read the minutes of the jury awarding the jury “for his tremendous work, that of a creator who has made poetry a fact of his own existence and guided him to excellence. ” Considered the Nobel Prize for Literature in Spanish, the Cervantes Prize is endowed with 125,000 euros and will be awarded on April 23 in Alcalá de Henares.

Cadenas’ candidacy took precedence over that of Spanish storytellers such as Enrique Vila-Matas, Antonio Muñoz Molina, Álvaro Pombo, Félix de Azúa, Luis Goytisolo and Fernando Savater, or that of poets such as María Victoria Atencia from Malaga or Antonio Colinas. Among the Latin American authors were the Chileans Óscar Hahn and Raúl Zurita, and storytellers such as the Mexican Ángeles Mastretta, the Peruvian Alfredo Bryce Echenique, the Colombian Fernando Vallejo, the Chilean Antonio Skármeta.

Cadenas takes over from Cristina Peri Rossi, Uruguayan nationalized Spanish and winner in 2021, and the late poets Francisco Brines, (2020) and Joan Margarit, (2019). The unwritten rule that dictated the alternation between Spanish and Latin American authors was already broken a few years ago, when Nicaraguan Sergio Ramírez succeeded Uruguayan Ida Vitale in 2017.

Cadenas will receive his award from King Felpe VI on April 23, the official date of Miguel de Cervantes’ death and International Book Day, during the solemn ceremony held every year in the auditorium of the University of Alcalá de Henares. An act that could not be held in 2019 and 2021, the worst years of the pandemic, and the one that Cristina Peri Rossi could not attend last year, whose speech was read by actress Cecila Roth.

Cadenas is number 47 in the Cervantes Prize winners, which has gone to 48 authors since the prize was split between Jorge Luis Borges and Gerardo Diego in 1979. The following year, it was determined that the award cannot be distributed, annulled, or awarded posthumously.

The list of winners of the Cervantes includes relevant figures from universal literature such as the Mexican Octavio Paz, the Spaniard Camilo José Cela and the Spanish-Peruvian Mario Vargas Llosa, who were also awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. In its 47-year history, the highest award of Latin American letters has recognized only six women: Spain’s María Zambrano (1988) and Ana María Matute (2010), Cuban Dulce María Loynaz (1992), Mexican Elena Poniatowska (2013 ), Uruguayan Ida Vitale (2018) and Uruguayan-Spanish Cristina Peri Rossi (2021).

Voiced but unvoiced, Miquel Iceta presided over a jury composed of Cristina Peri Rossi, who apologized for her presence, Aurora Egido, Albino Chacón, Esther Borrego Gutiérrez, Mónica Lavín, Raquel Caleya, Juan Casamayor, Francisco Javier Galán, Doraliza Jiménez and Lucas Torres Armendariz.

Founded in 1975 by the Ministry of Culture, De Cervantes recognizes the career of a writer who “contributed through his work as a whole to enrich the Latin American literary legacy.” The prize may be awarded to “any writer whose literary work, in whole or in substance, is written in this language.”

The candidates may be proposed by the Academies of the Spanish Language; the winners in previous calls; the institutions associated with literature in the Spanish language by their nature, purpose or content, and the members of the jury.

Source: La Verdad

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