Romania’s Mircea Cărtărescu to Receive Guadalajara’s $150,000 Literature Prize

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The 2022 edition of the US$150,000 Guadalajara fair’s top literary award goes to the Bucharest-born Mircea Cărtărescu.

Mircea Cărtărescu in a 2003 portrait by Cosmin Bumbuţ in Bucharest. Image: CC BY 2.5

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

‘Maximalist Style’
The Romanian poet, essayist, and journalist Mircea Cărtărescu has been named to receive the Guadalajara International Book Fair‘s FIL Prize for Literature in Romance Languages 2022 (“FIL” for Feria Internacional del Libro).

In its rationale, the jury selecting the Bucharest-born Cărtărescu writes that it has chosen the 66-year-old writer, “For his imaginative and brimming prose that combines fantastic and realistic elements, the thoughtful fictions that inquire into the construction of an identity from a liminal and peripheral space in the European landscape.”

The prize is Guadalajara’s most vaunted award, and carries an extraordinarily rich purse of US$150,000. The honor is to be presented to Cărtărescu on November 26 in the fair’s Juan Rulfo Auditorium.

The jury for this year’s iteration of the prize comprises Oana Sabo of Tulane University; Lorena Amaro Castro from Chile; Marco Belpoliti from Italy; Javier Guerrero from Venezuela; Maria Eunice Moreira from Brazil; Antonio Sáez Delgado from Spain; and Laura Scarabelli from Italy.

‘Nostalgia’ by Mircea Cărtărescu in its Spanish translation by Marian Ochoa de Eribe from Impedimenta

In more of its rationale, the jury writes that Cărtărescu is “a multifaceted writer of maximalist style that is fully aligned with the tradition of world literature, questioning his readers all over the world from a dreamlike and existential point of view.”

This year saw 80 nominations for the award put forward, nominating a total 67 authors from Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Cuba, Chile, Spain, France, Guatemala, Honduras, Italy, Lebanon, Mexico, Nicaragua, Peru, Puerto Rico, Romania, Uruguay, and Venezuela. Applications were made by cultural and educational institutions, literary associations, publishing houses, and the members of the Jury themselves.

Cărtărescu was at the sprawling Guadalajara fair in 2017 as part of the Festival of European Letters. At that time, he opened the Guadalajara fair’s then-new poetry program.

Previous honors for Cărtărescu have included the Romanian Writers’ Union Award in 1980, 1990 and 1994; the Austrian State Prize for European Literature; the Leteo Prize; the Thomas Mann Prize for Literature; and the Prix Formentor.

‘Solenoide’ by Mircea Cărtărescu in its Spanish translation by Marian Ochoa de Eribe from Impedimenta

His work more-than 30 books reportedly have prompted sales into at least 23 languages and territories.

Past recipients of the prize are:

  • Nicanor Parra (1991)
  • Juan José Arreola (1992)
  • Eliseo Diego (1993)
  • Julio Ramón Ribeyro (1994)
  • Nélida Piñón (1995)
  • Augusto Monterroso (1996)
  • Juan Marsé (1997)
  • Olga Orozco (1998)
  • Sergio Pitol (1999)
  • Juan Gelman (2000)
  • Juan García Ponce (2001)
  • Cintio Vitier (2002)
  • Rubem Fonseca (2003)
  • Juan Goytisolo (2004)
  • Tomás Segovia (2005)
  • Carlos Monsiváis (2006)
  • Fernando del Paso (2007)
  • António Lobo Antunes (2008)
  • Rafael Cadenas (2009)
  • Margo Glantz (2010)
  • Fernando Vallejo (2011),
  • Alfredo Bryce Echenique (2012)
  • Yves Bonnefoy (2013),
  • Claudio Magris (2014)
  • Enrique Vila-Matas (2015)
  • Norman Manea (2016)
  • Emmanuel Carrère (2017)
  • Ida Vitale (2018),
  • David Huerta (2019)
  • Lídia Jorge (2020)
  • Diamela Eltit (2021)

This is Publishing Perspectives’ 175th awards report published in the 182 days since our 2022 operations began on January 3.


More from Publishing Perspectives on book and publishing awards is here, more on the Guadalajara International Book Fair is here, and more on Romania 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 is a non-resident fellow of Trends Research & Advisory, and he 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.com, CNN International, and CNN USA. As an arts critic (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.

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