6th Woman Writer Wins Coveted Cervantes Prize

Cristina Peri Rossi of Uruguay won the highest honor for a Spanish-speaking writer, the Miguel de Cervantes Prize. Since 1976, the Spanish king and queen have awarded this prize on behalf of the Real Academia Española and the Spanish Ministry of Culture. Peri Rossi is the 47th to earn this medallion and monetary prize. She received EUR125,000 ($133,869). Financially that is far greater than the Nobel Prize, in which recipients currently garner about $1,100. Peri Rossi is the sixth woman (women have won 12%) and the third Uruguayan to win the Premio Cervantes. The literary pursuits rewarded are novels, poetry, short stories, essays or dramas, translations and philosophy. The winners must write primarily in the Spanish language.

Cristina Peri Rossi, uruguaya, ganó el honor más grande para un escritor español, el Premio Miguel de Cervantes. Desde 1976, el rey y la reina españoles presentan el premio por la RAE y el Ministro de Cultura Española. Peri Rossi es la cuadragesimoséptima para ganar el medallón y el premio monetario. Recibió EUR125.000 ($133.869). Financialmente es más grande que el Premio Nobel, en que reciben actualmente unos $1,100. Peri Rossi es la sexta mujer y la tercera persona de Uruguay para ganar el Premio Cervantes. Las obras literarias premiadas son novelas, poesía, cuentos cortos, ensayos, obras de teatro, traducciones y filosofía. Los ganadores tienen que escribir principalmente en español.

Cristina Peri Rossi,1986 Photo: Elisa Cabot

Peri Rossi was first published in 1963. She has penned novels, short stories, poetry and essays as she lived in exile in Barcelona, Spain during the Uruguayan dictatorship 1972-1985. Afterwards she remained in Spain and kept writing. Cristina Peri Rossi is part of the Latin American Boom of the 1970s, the only woman of the Pan American movement that includes Gabriel García Márquez, Carlos Fuentes and Julio Cortázar. The Boom is a description of how their literature from the Americas became popular with European audiences. Peri Rossi’s themes were women, feminism, intimacy, LGBTQ, and cultural critique. Born in 1941, Peri Rossi is now 80. Unable to attend the ceremony due to her health, she asked actress Cecilia Roth to accept the honor in her place. Cristina Peri Rossi conveyed a message through Roth condemning the war in the Ukraine waged due to greed and unequal social structures. The presentation for the 2021 Miguel de Cervantes prize was delayed from last November to this April 22, 2022.

La obra de Peri Rossi primero se publicó en 1963. Escribió novelas, cuentos cortos, poesía y ensayos mientras vivía en Barcelona, España durante la dictadura uruguaya de 1972-1985. Después, se quedó en España y siguió escribiendo. Cristina Peri Rossi es parte del Boom Latinoamericano de los años 70, y es la única mujer en el grupo que incluye a Gabriel García Márquez, Carlos Fuentes y Julio Cortázar. El “Boom” tiene que ver con la popularidad de la literatura de las américas con los lectores europeos. Los temas de Peri Rossi eran las mujeres, el feminismo, la intimidad, LGBTQ, y la crítica social. Nació en 1941, Peri Rossi ahora tiene 80 años. Sin poder asistir a la ceremonia por causa de su salud, pidió a la actriz Cecilia Roth aceptar la honra en su lugar. Cristina Peri Rossi habló en contra de la guerra en Ucrania por su portavoz, Roth, condenando la guerra de Ucrania que se lucha por codicia y estructuras sociales desiguales. La presentación del Premio Miguel de Cervantes 2021 fue postergado del noviembre pasado al 22 abril 2022.

Gracias. ¡Olé! –Rebecca

Dedicación

La literatura nos separó; todo lo que supe de ti
lo aprendí en los libros,
y a lo que faltaba,
y lo puse palabras.

–Cristina Peri Rossi

Dedication

Literature separated us: everything I knew about you
I learned in books,
and what was missing,
I put into words.

–Cristina Peri Rossi (Translation by RC)

Cervantes Prize Medal Image: Heralder
Rebecca Cuningham

21 thoughts on “6th Woman Writer Wins Coveted Cervantes Prize

  1. That is called women empowerment.
    Receiving the prize is not just about writing, it must involve a lot of pain and quagmires during a writer’s journey. And women writers are always welcomed and admired by me. Thank you for this Rebecca.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Aahna. That is exactly what Cristina Peri Rossi’s writing career has been about for 50 years, empowering women. She worked hard to reach this level of recognition. It is a lifetime achievement award.

      Like

  2. What a wonderful win it was! Women writers are often overshadowed by men, so it’s great to see that women are making their mark in the literary world. It’s even more incredible that Rossi’s from Uruguay, a small country that not many people know about!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, Rebecca. Yes, I was really thrilled with her news. I think that since Peri Rossi is an expat in Spain, that helped her chances – especially since her journalism there made her famous. I agree it’s refreshing to see a woman receiving the highest honors.

      Liked by 2 people

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