Book talk: Argentine writer finds few Spanish-language readers

Fri Jul 17, 2009 8:26am EDT
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Martin Roberts

GIJON, Spain (Reuters Life!) - Guillermo Saccomanno has just won the Premio Hammett prize for the best crime novel in Spanish, yet he is almost unknown outside his native Argentina despite writing in a major world language.

Saccomanno was awarded the 2008 Hammett, named after legendary U.S. crime writer Dashiell Hammett, on Friday for his novel "77" at the annual Semana Negra crime writing festival in northern Spain.

He dedicated the prize to his granddaughter and recalled that one of her great-uncles was one of the tens of thousands forcibly disappeared in Argentina's 1976-83 military dictatorship.

Saccomanno, 61, spoke to Reuters shortly after receiving the Premio Hammett, which is prestigious but comes with no financial award.

Q: As far as I am aware, your book is published in Argentina, period. Is that so?

A: It is published in Argentina by (Spanish publisher) Planeta, but has not been distributed in the rest of Latin America.

This is a policy that we writers in Latin America suffer, the novel isn't even published in neighboring countries, so what happens is that we have to circulate the books through friends in Mexico or Venezuela.

This isn't just Planeta's policy, but also (Spanish publisher) Alfaguara's or Random House's, despite our publishing in the same language.   Continued...