Argentine writer Samanta Schweblin, winner of a National Book Award 2022
Germany based Argentine writer wins the prestigious U.S. literary prize for her novel "Seven Empty Houses" in the "translated literature" category
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Berlin-based Argentine writer Samanta Schweblin (Buenos Aires, 1978) has won the prestigious U.S. National Book Award in the category "translated literature" for her novel "Siete Casas Vacías / Seven Empty Houses" (translated from Spanish by Megan McDowell, Riverhead Books / Penguin Random House).
Originally published in Spanish in 2009, Samanta Schweblin drags us in this compilation of stories to Seven Empty Houses and, around them, pushes her characters to explore everyday terrors, to dissect their own and others' fears, and to put on the table the prejudices of those who, between estrangement and a rarefied "normality", contemplate others and contemplate themselves.
Schweblin's sharp and precise prose, her ability to create intense and claustrophobic atmospheres, and the disturbing range of sensations that run through her seven stories have made this book worthy of the IV International Short Story Prize Ribera del Duero.
"I am a short story writer so I am also going to be brief in what I say," said the Argentine author as she went up to collect the award. "I was thinking today that many words can be tricky or misleading or harmful and you have to be very careful with this. But then I got a call from home telling me even if you have to get dressed tonight, make sure you are not cold and then the words will be a gift," she continued her thank you speech, as reported by newspaper Clarín.
In a recent talk at CCCB center in Barcelona, the author admitted that as an Argentine writer, she belongs to a special bubble: – that of the Latin American women writers of her generation, people like Mariana Enríquez, Selva Amada, Fernanda Melchor, Valeria Luiselli and Brenda Navarro. Is there a group?
“There is a group. We’re not all friends, we don’t all know each other. But we all read each other. There’s a lot of mutual admiration and there’s the joy of being at a party in full swing. Ten or fifteen years ago, literature written by women didn’t have this level of visibility. And I also think we all agree that the label ‘the new Latin American boom’ bothers us. The term ‘boom’ is unnecessary. Why should what the other half of the world is writing be a marketing tactic or a trend?” So there’s no boom, but there is a party,"she said.