Spain’s Liber 22: Soledad Puértolas Is Its ‘Hispanic-American Author’

In News by Porter Anderson

A prolific and much-awarded essayist, novelist, and story writer, Soledad Puértolas is named to receive Liber 22’s accolade for writers.

Soledad Puértolas, a member of the Royal Academy of the Spanish Language, speaks at the academy, February 15, on her new release from Anagrama, ‘Cuarteto’ (‘Quartet’). Image: RAE CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

See also: 
Spain’s Liber 22 Announces Reading Promotion and Film Awards
Spain’s Isabel la Católica Institute Named Liber 22 Award Winner
Spain’s Liber 22 Confirms an October 5 to 7 Run in Barcelona

Townsend: ‘Articulate Personal Identity’
In the run-up to the Guest of Honor Spain program coming to Frankfurter Buchmesse (October 19 to 23) this year, Feria Internacional del Libro, “Liber 22” in Barcelona has announced today (September 1) that Soledad Puértolas has been named to win the fair’s honor for outstanding Hispanic-American author.

A writer in novels, essays, and short stories, Puértolas has more than 40 books to her name, and in 2011 presented a documentary, This Is My Land: Guided by Water.

Having held a seat on the Royal Academy of the Spanish Language since 2010, she presented her recent release Cuarteto this winter (Quartet, Anagrama, November 2021), speaking at the academy with journalist Iñaki Gabilondo about the collection’s four stories’ topics: love, the passage of time, absences, and reunions.

While born in Zaragoza, Puértolas has also lived abroad quite extensively, both in Norway and in the United States. She took her master’s in Spanish and Portuguese language and literature at the University of California, where she was based in Santa Barbara.

Having returned to Madrid in the mid-1970s, she was a consultant to the Spanish ministry of culture and directed Ediciones Destino, a publishing house known for its iconic authors  including  Carmen Laforetm, Miguel Delibes, Rafael Sánchez Ferlosio, and Ana María Matute, as well as George Orwell in translation.

Townsend: ‘These Introverted Characters’

Books by Soledad Puértolas from Anagrama’s pages on her work. Image: Editorial Anagrama

A study of Puértolas’ work was published by Tamara L. Townsend, Memory and Identity in the Narratives of Soledad Puértolas: Constructing the Past and the Self  (Rowman & Littlefield, 2014).  

In that study, Townsend wrote of how Puértolas uses a particularly incisive interior technique to her characterizations.

“To differing degrees,” Townsend wrote, “the characters explicitly reflect on their experiences, and thus the narration is driven less by the external events than by the thoughts they generate. During the process of introspection, these introverted characters often reflect on the past when they try to make sense of life.

“Memory becomes an important tool to understand and articulate personal identity, and it is also linked to other important motifs in the narratives: illness, frustrations, failures, solitude, and also relationships and achievements.”

The presentation of the book fair’s new prize is set for October 6 at the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya, as one of the pivotal activities of Liber 2022.

In the same event, other awards will be presented, including:

In addition, a publisher, as yet unnamed, is expected to be awarded for her or his career in books.

More books by Soledad Puértolas from Anagrama’s pages on her work. Image: Editorial Anagrama

This is the 152nd awards-related report that Publishing Perspectives has carried in the 162 days since our 2022 operations began on January 3.

More from Publishing Perspectives on book and publishing awards is here, more on the Spanish market is here. More from Publishing Perspectives on authors is here, more on Frankfurter Buchmesse is here, more on guest of honor programs in world book and trade shows is here, and more on Frankfurt’s upcoming Guest of Honor Spain program is here.

More from us on the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on international book publishing is here.

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson was for more than a decade a senior producer and anchor with, CNN International, and CNN USA. As an arts critic (Fellow, National Critics Institute), he was with The Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and the Tampa Tribune, now the Tampa Bay Times. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman.