The Argentine writer Samanta schweblin received the new IIla-Literature Prize 2021, which was awarded to him by the Nobel Prize Mario Vargas Llosa within the framework of the fair “Più libri più liberi” (More free books) that is celebrated in Rome and to which he accessed for his novel Kentukis, for which she was also nominated this year in Germany for the LiBeraturpreis 2021.
“It is the first time that this award has been awarded to a woman and what makes me happy is being able to say: ‘we are here and we have always been here'”, said the writer, who in 2010 was selected by the magazine Granta as one of the 22 best writers in Spanish under 35 years of age and belongs to a short and powerful saga of Argentine authors who at just 45 years of age are multi-awarded and read all over the world.
On this occasion, Schweblin got the IIla, an award promoted by the International Italo-Latin American Organization that was created in 1969 to make the works of Latin American writers known to the Italian public and was re-launched after 25 years of absence in the framework of Più libri più liberi ”, a fair that until Wednesday will bring together 484 exhibitors in Rome and will have the participation of writers such as Alessandro Baricco, Melania Mazzucco, Roberto Saviano and Fernando Savater.
”It is an award that returns, it is a great award, that opens doors, that gives visibility to the work of authors, translators and editors. But on the list of this important award there are no women, I cannot find a Latin American teacher, I cannot find a Silvina Ocampo nor to Somers Harmony nor to Clarice lispector. None ”, explained Schweblin during the award ceremony, which was chaired by Vargas Llosa.
“Schweblin is a very original writer and has a very delicate, elegant and rich prose that could be used to tell realistic stories and instead tells the unusual world in an original way. It is a well deserved award. She is one of the best authors in recent years ”, said the author of Conversation in the Cathedral and The city and the DogsIn the same act another woman, the translator Laura scarabelli, literary critic and associate professor of Latin American literature at the University of Milan, was awarded the “Prize for the best translation” for her version of the Handful, by the Chilean writer Diamela eltit. The ceremony took place in the Sala Cometa de La Nuvola, a monumental building designed by the Italian architect Massimiliano Fuksas and was attended by the Argentine ambassador in Italy, Roberto Carlés.
The IIla – Literature Prize 2021 for “Kentukis”, which was selected by the newspaper The New York Times in its Spanish version as one of the ten best fiction titles of 2018, it is not the first recognition that the text receives, which in 2020 obtained the Mandarache Prize for Young Readers and was also nominated for the International Booker Prize -one of the most prestigious English-speaking institutions – and the LiBeraturpreis, awarded exclusively to authors from Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Arab world.
“Thinking about the prizes for women always complicates a bit because I don’t like to participate in any event or space in which women are put aside again, like the literature tables in which only women participate. I do not want to continue belonging to a group that they put aside ”, said Schweblin some time ago from Berlin, the city where he has lived since 2012 and where he wrote his first novel, Rescue distance, whose adaptation premiered in October on Netflix, directed by the Peruvian filmmaker Claudia llosa, with whom he co-wrote the script.
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Samanta Schweblin received a prestigious literary award from Vargas Llosa