Spain book prizes tilt at publishing barriers

Fri Jul 16, 2010 8:57am EDT
 
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By Martin Roberts

GIJON, Spain (Reuters Life!) - One of Europe's biggest book festivals awarded prizes Friday to writers from across the Spanish-speaking world who back in their home countries often cannot read each other.

Javier Sinay, who won the Rodolfo Walsh prize for non-fiction at the Semana Negra (Noir Week) festival in Gijon, northern Spain, has a Spanish publisher, yet his book "Sangre Joven" (Young Blood) is not available outside his native Argentina.

"I would like to be (published in Spain)," Sinay said after receiving the prize. "Let's hope this helps."

Semana Negra organizer Paco Ignacio Taibo II said that although the prizes award no money at a festival with a shoe-string budget, they do bring prestige among the world of crime-writers from whom the jurors are selected.

"We've awarded prizes this year to Argentines, a Cuban and Spaniards, which goes to show that once again we are chipping away at the publishing barriers of readers and writers who speak the same language," said Taibo, a Spanish-born writer who lives in Mexico.

Sinay's book is a compilation of six true stories of violent deaths in Argentina between 2002 and 2008 where the victims and perpetrators were just coming of age in the chaos of Buenos Aires, a city of 15 million people.

"It's difficult to be young anywhere, but especially in Argentina, where you are about to set out in life but find you have to fight against situations, obstacles," he said.

"They are ordinary situations, like jealousy, but with an extraordinary outcome, a mistaken and violent one."   Continued...