Portuguese writer Ana Luísa Amaral wins Spain's Book of the Year Award
The Madrid bookstore association has recognized What's in a name as the best volume of poetry published in Spain in 2020.
"In these times of uncertainty and anguish that we live, from walls and windows, the poetry of Ana Luísa Amaral welcomes us in this warm and familiar neighborhood, which exists between two countries (Portugal and Spain), and offers us names and words in a language called foreign, but which is not. Thank you and congratulations," said the Spanish jury that awarded the "Book of the Year" award to the great Portuguese author for her work, What's in a name.
The announcement was made on the website of the Gremio de Librerías, as part of an annual event that celebrates the best fiction, essay, poetry and comic published in Spain and also paid tribute to the writer, Juan José Millás, author of Let No one Sleep and recipient of the 2020 "Legend Award."
What's in a name, which was published in Portugal by Assírio & Alvim and in Spain by Sexto Piso (in English it is published by New Directions Publishing), is the expression of the "ambivalence of the relationship that poetry has always lived between the thing (the world) and its mention," said its Portuguese editors. They also pointed out the multiplicity of meanings present in the work.
"In it, in complicity, the everyday and the cosmic, the poetic and the political, the shock and the irony, the astonishment and the indignation, in a certain sense, the word and the life," added Assírio & Alvim.
A multi-faceted and tireless author, Ana Luísa Amaral (64) is also a poet, essayist, playwright, translator of writers such as John Updike, and author of children's books. She was also a professor of English and American Literature and Culture at the Faculty of Arts of the University of Porto and has a doctorate in poetry by Emily Dickinson and in queer and feminist studies.
Her extraordinary work has been translated and published in several countries and has won many big awards such as the Correntes d'Escritas, the Giuseppe Acerbi Letterary Prize for Poetry and the Grand Prize for Poetry from the Portuguese Writers' Association.
In addition, Amaral is often compared to Dickinson herself and to Polish Nobel Prize winner Wislawa Szymborska.
Other authors to win the Spanish bookstore prize created two decades ago, were, Elvira Lindo for the novel A corazón abierto (Open-hearted), and Irene Vallejo for the essay El infinito en un junco (Infinity in a reeds) — a superb work about the invention of books in the ancient world and a beautiful metallurgical reflection on the craft.
In the field of illustration, Kitty Cowther received the award for the album Madre Medusa (Mother Jellyfish), and Juanjo Guarnido and Alain Ayroles took home the top award for comics for El Buscón en las Indias (The Buscon in the Indies).