Guadalajara, Jalisco, August 28, 2020
Lídia Jorge and her immense humanity obtain the 2020 FIL Award for Literature in Romance Languages
The 30th edition of the highest award of the FIL Guadalajara will be granted on November 28 to the Portuguese narrator, poet, essayist and playwright, whose “originality and subtlety of style” was highlighted by the jury
With “a literary career marked by the originality and subtlety of her style, independence of criteria and immense humanity,” Portuguese writer Lídia Jorge (Boliqueime, 1946) was announced today as the winner of the 2020 FIL Award for Literature in Romance Languages, which this year reaches its thirtieth edition and will be awarded on November 28 during the opening of the Guadalajara International Book Fair. The judging panel of the award was composed this year by Mario Barenghi (Italy), Anna Caballé (Spain), Luminita Marcu (Romania), Anne Marie Métailié (France), Rafael Olea Franco (Mexico), Javier Rodríguez Marcos (Spain) and Regina Zilberman (Brazil).
In the minutes of the decision, which were made public this morning through a live broadcast on the social networks of the FIL Guadalajara, the jury applauded “the literary height with which her novelistic work portrays the way in which individual beings face the great events of history, and highlighted the humanity of Lídia Jorge “in her way of approaching both the themes dealt with in her work (adolescence, decolonization, the role of women, emigration, the subjects of history) and in the presentation of the characters that are the protagonists.”
Endowed with $150,000, the FIL Award acknowledges a lifetime of dedication to literature. It is convened by the Secretary of Culture of the federal government, the University of Guadalajara, the Government of Jalisco, the city councils of Guadalajara and Zapopan, Bancomext, Arca Continental and Fundación UDG, which make up the FIL Award for Literature in Romance Languages Civil Association, with the support of Montegrappa. This year, 68 proposals were received from 18 countries, in which 55 writers and seven languages were represented: Catalan, Spanish, French, Italian, Romanian, Portuguese and Galician. The nominations were registered by cultural and educational institutions, literary associations, publishers and the members of the judging panel themselves.
Lídia Jorge was described by the jury as “one of the main authors in the Portuguese language for a body of work that is not only novelistic but also poetic, essayistic and theatrical.” In the minutes it is explained that the writer obtained “the unanimous respect of the critics with her thrilling novel A costa dos murmurios (1988), written as a result of her stay in Angola and Mozambique in the midst of the decolonization process. In it, she describes with a sometimes brutal realism the terrible consequences of colonialism, and also brings to light in the novel a problem that will henceforth cross all of her literature: reflection on how history is constructed and written.”
“Rarely do literary and thinking words, to use two Heideggerian terms, offer greater pleasure to the reading of a work. The author’s literary speech is never a solitary exercise, since she always invites her readers to go somewhere with her and she does so with an aesthetic subtlety that cannot and should not go unnoticed in the context of Romance language literatures. These are the reasons, in short, that have motivated the jury's decision to award the XXX FIL Prize for Literature in Romance Languages to the Portuguese writer Lídia Jorge,” concludes the minutes signed by the seven specialists.
In its 29 previous editions the Prize has been awarded to 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) and David Huerta (2019).
Boliqueime, Portugal (1946)
Considered one of the most outstanding representatives of Portuguese literature, Lídia Jorge studied Romanesque philology in Lisbon and lived in Angola and Mozambique during the wars of colonial independence. Her first two novels (O Dia dos Prodígios (1980) and O Cais das Merendas (1982)) made her one of the best contemporary authors in Portugal. Since then, her literary work, essential to universal literature, has made her a persistent candidate for the Nobel Prize in Literature. Her novel O Vento Assobiando nas Gruas (2002) won her the Grande Prémio de la Associação Portuguesa de Escritores and the Prémio Correntes d'Escritas.
Lídia Jorge wrote the play A Maçom, which was staged at the Dona Maria II National Theater in 1997. The novel A Costa dos Murmúrios was adapted to cinema, in 2004, by Margarida Cardoso. In 2006, the author was accoladed in Germany with the first edition of the Albatroz International Literature Award from the Günter Grass Foundation, for her entire work. She has also won the Prémio Ricardo Malheiros, from the Academia das Ciências de Lisboa (1980), the Prémio Município de Lisboa (1982 and 1984), the Prémio D. Diniz da Casa de Mateus, the Prémio Máxima Literatura (1999) and the Prémio de Ficção do Pen Club (1999). She is a regular contributor to several Portuguese language newspapers and magazines and is a member of the High Authority for Social Communication.
Her work has been translated into several languages, and in Spanish some of the most significant are Noticia de la ciudad silvestre (1999, Alfaguara), El fugitivo que dibujaba pájaros (2000, Seix Barral), El jardín sin límites (2001, Alfaguara), La costa de los murmullos (2001, Alfaguara), Los tiempos del esplendor (2017, La Umbría y la Solana), Los memorables (2019, Elefanta) and Estuario (2019, La Umbría y la Solana). Lídia Jorge was one of the authors who formed part of the literary delegation from Portugal, the Guest of Honor at the 2018 Guadalajara International Book Fair.
Judging Panel 2020
Anne-Marie Métailié (1944). Editor. She has Portuguese and Spanish studies and graduated from the École Polytechnique in Paris. She manages her own publishing house founded in 1979, which has a catalogue of approximately one thousand two hundred titles on Human Science and Foreign Literature. In 2014, Métailié won the Publishing Merit Award granted by the Guadalajara International Book Fair.
Anna Caballé (1954). Writer, academic, and literary critic. Professor of Spanish Literature at the University of Barcelona where she founded, and continues to run, the Biographic Studies Unit (UEB). Previously, she was editor of the magazine Memoria. Revista de Estudios Biográficos. Some of her publications have included the diaries of Francisco Candel, El gran dolor del mundo (1944-1975) and the book ¿Por qué España? in collaboration with Randolph Pope. She won the Extraordinary PhD Award for her thesis La literatura autobiográfica en España (1939-1975), which was published under the title Narcisos de tinta. She also won the 2009 Gaziel Award for Biographies and Memoirs awarded by the Conde de Godó Foundation for her biography Carmen Laforet. Una mujer en fuga, and the 2015 Manuel Alvar Humanistic Studies for her essay Pasé la mañana escribiendo. Poéticas del diarismo español. She is acting president of the Biography Society, Vice President of the Tom Sharpe Foundation, and president of Clásicas y Modernas.
Javier Rodríguez Marcos (Nuñomoral, Cáceres, Spain, 1970). Javier coordinates literary information published in Babelia, the cultural supplement of El País newspaper (Madrid, Spain). He also published the ‘Tipo de letra’ column in the cultural section of the same newspaper. He has authored, among others, the poetry books Frágil (Hiperión. Spanish National Radio’s Critic’s Award) and Vida secreta (Tusquets). He also published the essay Los trabajos del viajero. Tres lecturas de Cervantes (ERE) and the journalistic report on the 2010 earthquake in Chile Un torpe en un terremoto (Debate). Co-author of the aesthetic essay Minimalismos (Gustavo Gili), he curated the exposition by the same name in 2001 displayed at the Museo Reina Sofía de Madrid.
Mario Barenghi (1956). Professor of contemporary Italian literature at the University of Milano-Bicocca. He devotes himself to narrative, memoirs and literary theory. He is the editor of Italo Calvino’s works for “Meridiani” Mondadori, as well as three volumes of novels and short stories, alongside Claudio Milanini and Bruno Falcetto. His latest works are Italo Calvino, le linee e i margini (Il Mulino, 2007), Perché crediamo a Primo Levi? / Why do we believe Primo Levi? (Einaudi, 2013), Che cosa possiamo fare con il fuoco? Letteratura e altri ambienti (Quodlibet, 2013) and Poetici primati. Saggio su letteratura e evoluzione (Quodlibet, 2020). He writes for the annual Tirature and for the e-magazine Doppiozero.
Luminita Marcu. Writer and translator, literature and romance language professor at the University of Salamanca since 2014. She was previously a romance literature professor at the University of Bucharest (2001-2010) where she received a PhD in 2010 for her thesis on censorship and cultural press during the Romanian communist dictatorship. From 2010 to 2014, she was the assistant director of the Romanian Cultural Institute in Madrid. She has published three books in Romania, literary translations, prose in anthologies and articles on literature. More recently, she has also published political commentary. Her most recent book is La noi dacii se lupta si astazi cu romanii. Portret de tara (Editorial Humanitas, 2020, The Dacios and the Romanians Continue Fighting Here. Country Profile) is an essay on the current political and cultural situation in Romania from the perspective of a Spanish resident, with references to classical Romanian writers and the struggle between the Dacians and the Romans—conquerors who were both repudiated and yet, admired.
Regina Zilberman (1948). Associate Professor at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS). She has a Bachelor of Arts and a Doctorate in Romance Studies from Heidelberg University (Germany), and post-doctorates from University College (London) and Brown University (USA). Some of her publications include: Estética da Recepção e História da Literatura (Reception Esthetics and History of Literature); A terra em que nasceste: Imagens do Brasil na literatura (The Land Where You Were Born: Images of Brazil in Literature); Como e por que ler a literatura infantil brasileira (How and Why We Should Read Brazilian Children’s Literature); A leitura e o ensino da literatura (Reading and Teaching Literature); Brás Cubas autor Machado de Assis leitor (Brás Cubas, The Author, Machado de Assis, The Reader).
Rafael Olea Franco earned his PhD from Princeton University and El Colegio de México, where he is a professor. He authored the following books El otro Borges. El primer Borges; En el reino fantástico de los aparecidos: Roa Bárcena, Fuentes y Pacheco; Los dones literarios de Borges; La lengua literaria mexicana: de la Independencia a la Revolución (1816-1920), and Un pulque literario (A la sombra de las pencas del maguey) [in press]. He co-authored with J. Ortega and L. Weinberg, La búsqueda perpetua: lo propio y lo universal de la cultura latinoamericana. He prepared the critical edition of La sombra del Caudillo by Martín Luis Guzman, for the UNESCO Archives Collection. He has edited more than a dozen books, including: Mariano Azuela y la literatura de la Revolución Mexicana; Los hados de febrero: visiones artísticas de la Decena Trágica; Doscientos años de narrativa mexicana (2 vols.), and José Revueltas: la lucha y la esperanza. He won the 2003 Alfonso Reyes Essay Prize. He is a member of the National System of Researchers (level 3).
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