Poniatowska wins Cervantes Prize

Earlier this year I wrote about Elena Poniatowska’s masterful study of the 1968 massacre of students at Tlatelolco in Mexico City. Today the jury for the Premio Cervantes, the most renowned literary prize in the Spanish-speaking world, awarded this year’s prize to Poniatowska. She is the first Mexican woman and only the fourth woman ever to win the prestigious award.

Spanish Minister of Education and Culture José Ignacio Wert cited Poniatowska’s “brilliant career in various literary genres,” above all the work she did as a young journalist concerned about human rights, the defense of freedom and the fight against corruption.

“Her work stands out for its strong commitment to contemporary history. Author of emblematic works that describe the twentieth century from an international and inclusive perspective, Poniatowska is one of the most powerful voices in contemporary Spanish literature,” said Wert.

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8 Comments

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8 responses to “Poniatowska wins Cervantes Prize

  1. The announcement also made me realize how few female Mexican writers I’m familiar with. I don’t know if this is just because of what works and authors I was – or was not- exposed to or because of a general lack of support and press. I will go exploring….

    Hope you are well, Tom (and wishing you an early Happy Thanksgiving!).

    • I know of very few Mexican women writers. I think things are changing but the fact that Elena Poniatowska broke through such a male-dominated field makes the award all the more meaningful. Let me know if you come across any you like.

      Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours, too.

  2. Well-deserved and well-championed by T.G.

  3. Javier Amaya

    Tom,
    pienso en dos nombres de escritoras mexicanas: Rosario Castellanos y Bárbara Jacobs. Ambas de temas y estilos bien diferentes. Seguramente la lista es más larga.
    Javier

    • Thanks for the suggestions, Javier. I noticed a novel by Rosario Castellanos about Mayan women in Chiapas during the colonial era which sounds very interesting. In English it has been translated to “The Book of Lamentations.” And another, not translated, called “Balun-Canan” about Chiapas during the era of Lázaro Cárdenas. Have you read either one?

  4. Pingback: The other Mexico | Tom Gething re reading

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