An Argentinean "road movie" wins the first edition of the SED Prize for novels in the U.S.
Organised by the publishing house Suburbano Ediciones, SED aims to be a bridge to the "Spanish-speaking world."
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"Incorrect and highly intelligent" is how the jury of the first edition of the SED Prize described the novel Flores de la Calle (Flowers of the Street) by Argentinean writer and booktuber Marina Condó.
The book tells the story of a journalist who, in order to save her career, decides to take a gamble on a case she's obsessed with: the biggest robbery without death or violence in the province of Buenos Aires.
The jury, made up of writers Raquel Abend Van Dalen, Hernán Vera Álvarez, and Gastón Virkel, chose Flores de la Calle from among more than 400 works submitted to this first edition of the competition and highlighted that Condó's novel "describes the investigation of a crime in the context of a society in ruins with a wide range of language."
They also pointed out the powerful interplay of identities that unfolds in a plot "that sheds light on the darkest aspects of life" and that the characters that gather around the protagonist, the journalist Eugenia Ardillo, "exude tenderness and desire."
The Argentinian writer received the news at home while her children were asleep, and despite being moved to tears, she had to celebrate in silence not to wake them up, she told EFE.
"It's my first novel. I finished it in March and submitted it to a few competitions as a way of 'closing a cycle.' And the truth is, I forgot about it. I started writing short stories. The pandemic began. I went somewhere else", explained the author.
Marina Condó combines writing with a YouTube channel where she shares reviews of books and graphic novels and organizes reading meetings and creative writing classes. She also published the short story "Flores Blancas" in Playboy, and one of her short stories, "Obvio," won second prize in the Osvaldo Soriano 2020 short story competition.
This is the first time Suburbano, a Miami-based independent publisher of Spanish-language literature written by Latinos in the United States and Latin America, has launched such a wide-ranging challenge.
It has done so through its cultural magazine, Suburbano.net, which for six years has been promoting and publicizing authors who have chosen to write in Spanish in a country where English is the language of choice for major publishers.
According to the coordinator of the prize, writer, and editor of Suburbano, Pedro Medina León, the initiative was born to connect the United States with the "Spanish-speaking world."
Medina León said that this is the first edition of the SED but hopes the competition will be continued annually.
Suburbano Ediciones is one of the publishers affiliated with the New Latino Boom, a literary movement that uses Spanish as a resistance language and that weaves a network between publishers, writers, cultural agents, and bookstores based in the United States that share the same mission of promoting the use of Spanish and creating bridges with Latin America and Spain.
A small and resilient Latin Gaul that is increasingly gaining space in universities and fairs, festivals, and magazines, and which, unlike the Latin American boom, is led by a majority of women who are cultural entrepreneurs.
"In the New Latino Boom, writers are at the same time actors. They are dedicated to writing, but they are also disseminators of their work and promote others' work; they are editors, critics, reviewers, and cultural agents. This has meant that Latin Americans based here do not have to look to Spain, Mexico, or Argentina to publish their work," said researcher and writer Naida Saavedra, author of #NewLatinoBoom: Cartografía de la narrativa en español en EE.UU., in a recent interview with Al DIA.