Spanish novelist scoops up 2016 Cervantes Prize

SPANISH author Eduardo Mendoza has been named the winner of the 2016 Cervantes Prize, an award which represents the highest honour for a writer working within the Spanish-speaking literary world. 

The announcement was made on Wednesday November 30 by Spain’s Education and Culture Minister Inigo Mendez de Vigo, who stated that over the course of a 40 year career, Mendoza has “reinvented Spanish fiction.” Mendoza’s work is noted for his masterful use of subtlety and irony. He is a versatile storyteller who has successfully experimented with a variety of genres, including science fiction, comedy, and detective fiction.  

Although a handful of Mendoza’s novels have been translated into other languages, it is within Spanish-speaking countries that he has achieved the bulk of his success. Three of his novels have been adapted into feature films, and he has also written a play and two short story collections. He has also worked as a translator and an interpreter for the United Nations in New York City. 

Mendoza was born in Barcelona in 1943. One of his most popular books is La Ciudad de los prodigios (The City of Marvels), a sprawling work which spans multiple decades and provides a panoramic look at the massive changes that Barcelona underwent over the course of the 19th and 20th centuries. 

Recipients of the Cervantes prize receive €125,000. It is typically awarded to Spanish and Latin american writers. Last year it went to Mexican author Fernando del Paso.

Mendoza has won numerous awards, including the European Book Prize in 2013 and the Franz Kafka Prize last year. Winning the Cervantes Prize in 2016 is likely to be especially significant for the Spaniard, as this year marks the 400th anniversary of the death of Miguel de Cervantes, author of Don Quixote and the namesake of this prestigious literary award.


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