The Planet Award celebrates its 70th anniversary in Barcelona this Friday with a record of participating novels – 654 manuscripts have been submitted, the highest number of all editions – and financial endowment: one million euros for the winner —Until now it was € 601,000 – and € 200,100 for the finalist — € 150,250 was taken. The winner, in this way, will receive more money than the last Nobel Prize in Literature, Abdulrazak Gurnah, recognized with ten million Swedish crowns, about € 985,000 to change. “Our objective is to sell books, to give the maximum diffusion. To continue promoting the projection of the award we are going to practically double this amount,” he announced José Crehueras, the president of Grupo Planeta.
The largest award of Spanish literature returns in this round edition to a double normality: pandemic on the one hand, because last year the traditional dinner in which failure was not held, and political, since in 2019, when it won Javier Cercas, the streets of Barcelona were on fire due to the sentence of the process. This gala will be attended by King Felipe VI and the Queen Letizia, and not him president of the Generalitat, Pere Aragonès, replaced by the Minister of Culture, Natàlia Garriga.
At a press conference that took place this Thursday at Casa Llotja de Mar, the Planeta Prize announced the ten finalist novels. The writer Juan Eslava Galán, one of the members of the jury, has revealed that “the thriller and the historical novel predominate”. Three of them have been presented with real names: Barefoot I go with you, a story of magical realism in twentieth-century Mexico by the journalist Antimio Cruz Bustamante; The flame of the past, a novel of intrigue and fantasy components in which a descendant of ancient witches investigates a family curse, from Aurelio González González; and The Oliva tunnel, from Madrid Jorge Sánchez López, a classic police plot that takes place in the Madrid of the 80s and that uncovers a great plot of corruption.
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“We are very happy to be able to celebrate the award normally again, it is a great joy. In addition, we celebrate its 70th anniversary, and when you arrive at events like this you realize all the baggage, what the award means,” he said. José Crehueras, the president of Grupo Planeta, pointed out in an act in which a video was shown with brief testimonies of the award winners, which “has something of a circus”, as he says Eduardo Mendoza placeholder image, valuing its literary importance and explaining its essence.
This year’s edition, which will take place at the National Museum of Art of Catalonia, will clarify whether the publisher continues to bet on rewarding established authors of the house, such as Eva García Sáenz de Urturi O Santiago Posteguillo, or if a new editorial earthquake will be registered as in the 2019 edition, when the winners were Javier Cercas and Manuel Vilas, two of the main faces up to that moment of the other great Spanish publishing ship, Penguin Random House.
The rest of the finalist novels are signed with pseudonyms. Unburied corpses, by Escolarca de Clazómenas, tells a story of love and passion set in the Civil War; Cities of fire, by Sergio López, a mixture of a historical novel and a thriller to reconstruct a tremendous cholera epidemic that occurred in Spain in 1838; Barbarity, by El Arlequinado, is a traditional historical novel that describes the barbarian invasions and the fall of the Roman Empire.
More candidates for a million euros are Tripby Camilla Seymour, which combines intrigue and romance; The cante of the rookby Fermina Cobos, who fictionalizes murders in a hospice where there were pedophile abuses; Children of wrathby Yuri Zhivago, who immerses himself in the European upheavals of the 20th century through a Spanish family experiencing the Russian Revolution and the rise of Nazi Germany; and Where the memory take us, by Elahanleys, a genre melodrama that presents a widower from the 11-M attacks who rebuilds his life thanks to a special friendship.
The jury for the award is made up of José Manuel Blecua, Fernando Delgado, Juan Eslava Galán, Pere Gimferrer, Carmen Posadas, Rosa Regàs and Belén López.