By Andres Hax
Over the course of each year, there are many important literary prizes in Latin America and Spain, and as this newsletter progresses we will note each as they arrive. But a recent news item from Venezuela gives us an appropriate excuse to mention the Romulo Gallegos prize for the novel.
The news is that Blanco Nocturno by Ricardo Piglia, the recent winner of the Romulo Gallegos, has been the bestselling book in Venezuela this week.
This prize, given biannually since 1967 is considered one of the most prestigious prizes for the novel in the Spanish-speaking world. At first it was only awarded to Latin American writers every five years, but in 1987, the prize shifted to a biannual format; in 1995 it was opened to all authors writing in Spanish.
The prize is named for Romulo Gallegos, who played a fundamental role in establishing the Latin American Boom -– the golden generation of writers consisting of Mario Vargas Llosa, Carlos Fuentes, and Gabriel Garcia Marquez, among others.
Ricardo Piglia’s Blanco Nocturno is a literary noir piece set in a small town in the province of Buenos Aires. The author, an Argentine, is currently a professor of Latin American literature at Princeton.