By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson
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’
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:
- The Liber Award for the promotion of reading in the Media of Communication, which this year goes to Radio Nacional de España (RNE) in the person of Ignacio Elguero
- The Liber Award for the best adaptation of a literary work to the feature film Lemon Bread With Poppy Seeds
- The Liber Award for the best initiative to promote reading in libraries open to the public to the library of the IES Isabel la Católica in Madrid
- The Boixareu Ginesta Prize for bookseller of the year to the Llibreria Ramon Llull in Valencia
In addition, a publisher, as yet unnamed, is expected to be awarded for her or his career in books.
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.