French-speaking literary prizewinners 2020-2021

The importance of literary prizes in the French cultural landscape can be measured by  the sheer number of them. There are many mainland prizes, which tend to concentrate on books written by French authors, but also many prizes issued in French overseas regions; these often widen the field by considering French-speaking writers of different nationalities. We acquire a wide selection of these prizes every year. Beyond France, mainland and overseas, we also keep up-to-date with the latest winners of the Tunisian prize Comar d’Or and of the international Prix des 5 continents de la Francophonie.

Below is a list of the prizewinning books we acquired in the past two years. For a presentation of some of the prizes, see this blog post.   

Comar d’Or: 2020: Merminus infinitif : roman by Samir Makhlouf C216.c.9081; 2021: Le chat et le scalpel by Soufiane Ben Farhat (on order)

Grand prix du roman de l’Académie française: 2020: La grande épreuve : roman by Étienne de Montety C216.c.8723; 2021: Mon maître et mon vainqueur : roman by François-Henri Désérable C206.d.9685

Grand Prix du Roman Métis: 2020: Un monstre est là, derrière la porte : roman by Gaëlle Bélem C206.d.5375; 2021: D’amour et de guerre by Akli Tadjer C218.c.3277

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The José Saramago Literary Prize

José Saramago (by Mario Antonio Peña via Wikimedia Commons)

The José Saramago Literary Prize (Prêmio Literário José Saramago) is awarded biennially to young authors of unpublished fictional works in Portuguese. The prize is open to Lusophone writers under 40 years of age and it can only be awarded once in a lifetime to each writer (posthumous works are excluded). It was established in 1999 by the Fundaçāo Círculo de Leitores to celebrate the Portuguese Nobel laureate José Saramago, who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1998.

The José Saramago Prize is currently in its 12th edition, having been postponed last year as a result of the pandemic. The next winner will be announced in October 2022 instead, coinciding with the 100th anniversary of José Saramago’s birth. 

Below are the prize winners with brief snapshots of their country of origin and background, some of their works, and other recognitions they have received. Unfortunately, we have gaps in this list, which we are trying to fill retrospectively.

1999 – Won by Paulo José Miranda for Natureza morta (On order) 

Born in Paio Pires, Seixal, Portugal, 1965. He is a writer of fiction, poetry, and drama. See our Library holdings for this author here.  

Other awards: Grande Prêmio de Poesia Teixeira de Pascoaes (1998) for A voz que os trai, his first book of poetry; Prêmio da Sociedade Portuguesa de Autores (2015) for his book of poetry Exercícios do humano.

2001 – Won by José Luis Peixoto for Nenhum olhar (C200.c.5593

Born in Galveias, Ponte de Sor Portugal, 1974. One of the most acclaimed Portuguese contemporary authors, he was written in multiple literary genres (fiction, poetry, drama, travel literature, and children’s literature) and has been translated into more than 30 languages. See our Library holdings for this author here.  

Other awards: He has won numerous national and international awards, including the Prêmio da Sociedade Portuguesa de Autores (2013) for his book of poetry A criança em ruínas (Library Storage Facility); and the Oceanos Prize (2016) for his novel Galveias (C210.c.1620). 

2003 – Wond by Adriana Lisboa for Sinfonia em branco 

Born in Rio de Janeiro, 1970. She writes fiction, poetry, and books for children. Considered as one of Brazil’s most prominent writers, her works have been translated into most major languages. See our Library holdings for this author here

Other awards: At the 2007 Hay Festival/Bogotá World Book Capital she was named as one of the 39 most distinguished writers under the age of 39. She has also been shortlisted for numerous awards, including the Sāo Paulo Prize for Literature in 2011 and 2014. She is the author of Azul Corvo (C207.c.3027), declared book of the year by The Independent newspaper in 2013 (Crow Blue, C207.c.8162).

2005 – Won by Gonçalo M. Tavares for Jerusalém (C200.d.7647) 

Born in Luanda, Angola, 1970. He is considered one the best fiction writers of his generation. His work Jerusalém was included in the European edition of The 1001 Books to Read Before You Die list. His books have been published in more than 30 countries. See our Library holdings for this author here

Other awards: Prêmio Portugal Telecom (2007) for Jerusalém

2007 – Won by Valter Hugo Māe for O remorso do Baltazar Serapiāo (C203.c.2330) 

Born in Henrique de Carvalho, Colonial Angola, 1971. He is a leading Portuguese author, an editor, and an artist. He has written more than 30 books (fiction, poetry, and children’s literature). See our Library holdings for this author here

Other awards: Grande Prêmo Portugal Telecom de Literatura for A máquina de fazer espanhóis (C207.c.5153) (in the “Best book of the year” and “Best novel of the year” categories, 2012) 

2009 – Won by Joāo Tordo for As três vidas (C207.c.6289) 

Born in Lisboa, 1975. Fiction writer (novels, short stories). His works have been translated into several languages and published in over a dozen countries. See our Library holdings for this author here

Other awards: Portuguese Young Creators Award for Literature (2001); Prêmio Literário Fernando Namora (2021) for the novel Felicidade (C217.c.2495); shortlisted twice for the Prêmio da Sociedade Portuguesa de Autores in the “Best narrative fiction” category (2011, 2015)

2011 – Won by Andrea del Fuego for Os malaquias  

Born in Sāo Paulo, 1975. Writer of novels, short stories, and young adult books. Her work features in several anthologies, including Mais 30 mulheres que estāo fazendo a nova literature brasileira (C204.c.2926) and Capitu mandou Flores (C205.c.5602

2013 – Won by Ondjaki for Os transparentes (C203.d.3833) 

Born in Angola, 1977. He is one of the most prominent writers of Portuguese-Africa. He has written novels, short stories, drama, film scripts, poetry, and children’s books. See our Library holdings for this author here

Other awards: Grande Prêmio de Conto Castelo Branco (2007) for Os da minha rua (Library Storage Facility); 2010 Jabuti Prize for AvóDezanove e O segredo do soviético (C202.d.794). 

2015 – Won by Bruno Vieira Amaral for As primeiras coisas (C212.c.8621) 

Born in Barreiro, Portugal, 1978. Writer, literary critic, and translator, selected by Literary Europe Live as one of the 10 New Voices from Europe 2016. He is deputy editor of the literary magazine LER (L700.b.128 [p/hole: W.384]). See our Library holdings for this author here

Other awards: Time Out Lisboa’s Book of the Year Award (2013); Fernando Namora Literary Award (2013), PEN Narrative Prize (2013) for As primeiras coisas; Grande Prêmio de Conto Castelo Branco (2021) for his book of short stories Uma ida ao motel (C218.c.1464

2017 – Won by Julian Fuks for A resistência (C204.d.9145) 

Born in Sāo Paulo, 1981. He is one of Brazil’s most celebrated young writers, author of novels and short stories. He was featured in Granta’s best young Brazilian novelists magazine. See our Library holdings for this author here.

Other awards: He was awarded the Jabuti Award for Book of the Year (2016), the Oceanos Prize (2016), and the Anna Seghers Prize (2018) for A resistência

2019 – Won by Afonso Reis Cabral for Pāo de açúcar (C217.c.9987) 

Born in Lisboa, 1990. Writer of fiction and poetry. In 2005 he published his book of poetry Condensaçāo, a collection of poems mostly written in his childhood. See our Library holdings for this author here

Other awards: Prêmio LeYa (2014) for O meu irmāo (C211.c.5011)

Sonia Morcillo García

Italian literary prizewinners 2021

It is autumn and time to take stock of the major literary prizes awarded in Italy this past year.

The Strega prize for 2021 was awarded to Emanuele Trevi for his novel Due vite (held in the UL, C206.d.4499).

The Bancarella prize was awarded to Ema Stokholma for her autobiographical novel Per il mio bene (held in the UL, C206.d.7547).

The Campiello prize was awarded to Giulio Caminito for his novel L’acqua del lago non è mai dolce (held in the UL, C206.d.7514).

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Prizewinning “grandes dames” of Austrian literature and the next generation 

Elfriede Jelinek (picture by G. Huengsberg via Wikimedia Commons)

Earlier this month the Tanzanian novelist Abdulrazak Gurnah won the 2021 Nobel Prize in Literature. Elfriede Jelinek, whose 75th birthday it is this week, also won the Nobel Prize back in 2004, the first of only two Austrians to win it (her fellow Austrian, Peter Handke, subsequently won the award in 2019). The Swedish Academy citation referred to her “musical flow of voices and counter-voices”, perhaps a consequence of her highly musical childhood.

Jelinek, a reclusive figure, started out writing poetry before shifting to novels but is now best known as a playwright. As a former communist, known for her radical feminism and her criticism of the legacy of Austria’s fascist past, she has divided opinion in her home country over the years but has nevertheless been honoured with many important awards. The UL has copies of her major plays and novels, including some translations into English. We also have good holdings of books about her and her works, including several international conference proceedings. Two recent works to highlight are the 2013 Jelinek-Handbuch (747:4.c.201.12) and from 2014 Elfriede Jelinek: Werk und Rezeption (747:4.c.201.21), both by Pia Janke, director of the Elfriede Jelinek Research centre at Vienna University. Continue reading

Italian literary prizewinners 2020

It seems odd thinking about literary prizes and awards at the moment, since awards conjure up images of presentations, speeches and joy. But many, many people have turned to reading for comfort and intellectual stimulation during the recurrent lockdowns. The giving and receiving of literary awards remains, as ever, important to readers and encouraging to authors. In Italy, despite a very difficult year, the major literary prizes were adjudicated and the following awards were made: Continue reading