75 years of Premio Nadal

The Premio Nadal is the oldest literary prize in Spain, awarded by Ediciones Destino (since 1988 part of Planeta group) to the best unpublished novel. We can find many important 20th century Spanish writers among their list of awardees. Four of them have won the Cervantes prize as well (see our post on Premio Cervantes).

IMG_20191121_112541The prize is awarded every year on January 6. It was originally the idea of the journalist Ignacio Agustí, editor of the magazine Destino (belonging to the same publishing house) and best known for Mariona Rebull (743:01.d.17.285). The prize was created in order to discover new talent and provide a stimulus for literary creation in the post-war years. It was named after Eugenio Nadal, former editor of Destino, to honour the literature teacher who had then recently passed away at a young age.

The prize was first given in 1944 to Nada (744:35.d.95.359), an existentialist novel by the young Carmen Laforet. Three years later, it was awarded to Miguel Delibes for La sombra del ciprés es alargada (744:35.d.95.300); he is a major figure in Spanish literature of the 20th century, who won the Cervantes prize in 1993. Continue reading

Italian literary prizewinners for 2018-19

We highlighted last autumn the winner of the prestigious Strega prize, one of the most important literary prizes awarded in Italy. It was won for the first time in 15 years by a woman – Helena Janeczek for her novel La ragazza con la Laica (C213.c.6240).

The other four major literary prizes that we focus on were awarded in the last 12 months as follows: Continue reading

Literary translations in the library tower

The UL’s Tall Tales exhibition has opened up to public view some of the treasures held in the seventeen floors of the library tower. One of the cases, to which I contributed, concentrates on literary prizewinners, a topic with which regular readers of this blog will be familiar. When selecting items to go on display, the challenge was to pick half a dozen titles that could somehow reflect the astonishing diversity of material to be found in the tower collections: the serious and the intellectual sit alongside works that are altogether less highbrow. Similarly, the range of literary prizes that are out there to be won is mind-boggling: could I include the Romantic Novelists’ Association Awards? (There are eight categories each year.) The Waverton Good Read Award, handed out annually by the residents of Waverton (a village in Cheshire) to the best debut novel published in the past twelve months? (It was set up in 2003, inspired by Le Prix de la Cadière, a similar prize given out by the Provençal town of La Cadière D’Azur.) The Bad Sex in Fiction Award? (It goes to some unlikely recipients: in 2016, it was awarded to the Italian novelist Erri De Luca, for his novel The Day Before Happiness (Il giorno prima della felicità). A less illustrious prize, perhaps, than the others he has collected during his career, which include the Prix Fémina Étranger.) Continue reading

Princess of Asturias award: Fred Vargas

1024px-Fred_Vargas

By Marcello Casal via Wikimedia Commons

Fred Vargas (pseudonym of Frédérique Audoin-Rouzeau) has recently been awarded the Princess of Asturias award in its literary category. Cambridge Professor of  Classics, Mary Beard, received the corresponding award for Social sciences in 2016.

Although Fred Vargas is a historian and archaeologist, she is also known for being a successful crime novel writer. In fact, she started writing thrillers for fun, as an escape from her academic occupation. Her novelist career began with the publication of Les jeux de l’amour et de la mort (C205.d.7969) which won the Festival de Cognac novel prize. Continue reading

Québécois literature and the first London edition of “Festival America”

The French collections at Cambridge University Library aim to capture a broad range of Francophone literature. Though quite a few Francophone writers have contracts with French publishing houses, we also buy publications from North Africa, the Caribbean, and Québec (readers’ recommendations for Cambridge University library, especially for Francophone material, are always welcome).

Continue reading