Poetry is another word for freedom, says Cărtărescu on winning FIL Prize

“We need poetry a lot not only because it puts us in contact with beauty, but also because it puts us in contact with empathy, with courage and humanity in these difficult times, poetry is another word for freedom,” said the author at a press conference in the city of Guadalajara.

Cărtărescu (Bucharest, 1956) affirmed that literature is a means of helping humanity survive, facing individual sorrows and collective disasters.

“Poetry is there to help people in difficult situations, in times of sadness, in these times of disaster, humanity needs to contact its spirituality, contact culture, for the arts and literature, poetry is essential for help the human being to survive in moments of crisis”, he said.

The Romanian poet and essayist was chosen this Monday as the winner of the 2022 FIL Prize for Literature in Romance Languages, which is awarded within the framework of the Guadalajara International Book Fair, the most important in the Spanish language.

The jury chose him “for his imaginative and overflowing prose, which combines fantastic and realistic elements, specular fictions that investigate the construction of identity from a liminal and peripheral space in the European landscape”.

In the voice of its president, Antonio Sáez Delgado, the jury considered that the Romanian “is a multifaceted writer with a maximalist style who is fully inserted in the tradition of world literature, challenging his readers throughout the world from the dreamlike and existential point of view. world”.

The author was chosen from 80 nominations, in which 67 people from 18 countries and 3 continents applied.

Cărtărescu is considered to be the most important Romanian writer today and a possible future winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature. His work consists of more than 30 books that have been translated into 23 languages, among which “Cegador” (1996) and “Travesti” (2007) stand out.

An instrument of literature

In a video call after receiving the news of the award, the author of “Nostalgia” (1989) stated that he has never set out to write books, but that it is the books that come to him, since he considers himself an instrument by which literature and beauty take shape.

“Writing is an inner process, sometimes I feel that my entire body is used by a great hand at the service of ideas that come to me, I am not the one who writes but my body is an instrument, it is an object,” he asserted.

Despite going through a period in which his country went from dictatorship to freedom, the poet considered that his writing has remained in the same style without worrying about political and social changes but about “staying true” to himself.

Latin American influence

The narrator affirmed that he is pleased to receive this award in Mexico, a “fascinating and magical” country with a “baroque” aspect and to which he approached from the novel “Terra Nostra” by Carlos Fuentes, a gateway to writers such as Juan Rulfo, whom he described as the “Mexican Kafka”.

The poet, who has twice visited the Mexican FIL, said he felt close to Latin American authors such as Julio Cortázar, whom he considered “the father of magical realism.”

Also to Jorge Luis Borges, whom he defined as “not only a Latin American writer but a universal genius”, as well as Silvina Ocampo, Mario Vargas Llosa and Gabriel García Márquez.

The prize, endowed with 150,000 US dollars, will be awarded on November 26 at the opening of the 36th edition of the FIL in Guadalajara, considered the most important literary fair in the world in Spanish. Remember to connect with the live signal of the HJCK, the art of listening.

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Poetry is another word for freedom, says Cărtărescu on winning FIL Prize