By Adam Critchley
Author Antonio Malpica Maury (b.1967) has become the first Mexican to win the SM Ibero-American Children’s and YA Literature Award, which carries a $30,000 purse and will be awarded at the Guadalajara International Book Fair (FIL) on December 1.
Founded in Spain in 1977 and funded by Spanish publisher Ediciones SM, the SM Foundation (www.fundacion-sm.org) promotes educational and cultural initiatives for impoverished children and young adults in Spain, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Peru, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic.
The prize will be awarded for Maplica’s “sensibility to broach complex social problems, throwing light on the dark areas of our world” and his “wide range of themes, genres, atmospheres and styles handled in his extensive work, and the wide spectrum of readership at which it is aimed,” according to a statement from the prize jury.
Malpica is one of the most outstanding Mexican children’s and young persons’ authors, and who builds endearing characters in his works with whom it is easy to identify, taking his readers to other eras but without polluting the narrative with a didactic focus, the jury said.
Malpica has written stories and plays for children and young adults, as well as crime novels and science fiction for adults. His works include Hacked by Conejo (2011), El lápiz de labios del señor presidente (2010) and Había una vez un niño llamado Perico (2006).
In 2007 he won Mexico’s national crime fiction award for his novel Nadie escribe como Herbert Quain, published in 2008 as La lágrima del Buda.
Mexico is one of seven featured countries at the The Markets: Global Publishing Summit at the Frankfurt Book Fair. Tickets are on sale here.
The prize was created in 2005 by the SM Foundation in conjunction with UNESCO, the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY); the Organization of American States for Education, Science and Culture (OEI), the Regional Center for Book Promotion in Latin America and the Caribbean (CERLALC) and the FIL.
This year’s jury featured OEI representative Felipe Garrido, María Cristina Vargas of the IBBY, Patricia van Rhijn of CERLALC, UNESCO Mexico’s Carlos Tejada and Juan de Isasa, a representative of the SM Foundation.
The jury highlighted Malpica’s “ability to weave reality and fantasy” and “his way of inserting himself into the literary tradition to recreate characters and atmospheres of authors of world literature.”
Previous recipients of the award have included Spain’s Juan Farias, Colombia’s Gloria Cecilia, Brazil’s Bartolomeu Campos de Queirós and Argentina’s María Teresa Andruetto. Last year’s winner was Ivar Da Coll of Colombia.
The prize will be awarded at the Guadalajara Book Fair (November 28-December 6, 2015) on December 1st at 6:00 p.m.