The Francisco Umbral Foundation has awarded the eleventh Francisco Umbral Award to the Book of the Year 2021 to Dario Villanueva for the essay To bite your tongue. Political correctness and post-truth, edited by Espasa. The award is endowed with 12,000 euros (the amount that the Majadahonda City Council contributes as a patron to the Francisco Umbral Foundation), and a sculpture designed by Alberto Corazón.
Upon receiving the news, Villanueva declared: “I am very satisfied with To bite your tongue. It is my debut as an essayist on topics that are not strictly literary and it is a book that is giving me a lot of joy. Maybe because it came out at the right time, post-truth and political correctness are in the limelight and it affects us all. I am very happy with the award and I am very excited. I have been a great admirer of Paco “.
In his book, the former director of the Royal Spanish Academy deals with two phenomena on the rise, political correctness and post-truth, and explains their linguistic and sociological mechanisms. It also examines other phenomena adjacent to these two, such as “repressive tolerance”, the culture of “cancellation”, “toxic sentimentality”, the “deconstruction of canons” and other issues that characterize our liquid age, which he calls “the Post era”, all with references to “doublethink” and the “newspeak” of the famous Orwellian dystopia 1984.
“We bite our tongues continuously voluntarily for reasons of courtesy, opportunity, respect, convenience. Another thing is to have to bite our tongues because it is imposed on us,” the academic complained in a interview in El Cultural on the occasion of the publication of the book.
The jury’s ruling “has been very close, because this year many quality books have been published. Perhaps it has been the effect of the pandemic,” declared its president, journalist Manuel Llorente. “We also emphasize that after Transition, by Santos Juliá, is the second time that this award has been awarded to an essay, as it is a very relevant reading in these moments of confusion and confusion in society. “Carlos Aganzo, poet, director of Relations, has also been part of the jury. Institucional de El Norte de Castilla and deputy director of the Vocento Foundation; César Antonio Molina, writer and former Minister of Culture; Fernando R. Lafuente, Editorial Secretary of the Western Magazine; Fanny Rubio, poet, writer and professor of Literature at the UCM, and Santos Sanz Villanueva, critic of The Cultural and Professor of Literature at the UCM.
The previous award-winning works have been: The four corners, by Manuel Longares (2011); Head on fire, by Luis Mateo Díez (2012); On the shore, by Rafael Chirbes (2013); Havana Requiem for Fidel, by JJ Armas Marcelo (2014); Unlearning, by José Manuel Caballero Bonald (2015); Homeland, by Fernando Aramburu (2016); Transition, by Santos Juliá (2017); On, by Antonio Soler (2018); Tough times, by Mario Vargas Llosa (2019) and Las maravillas, by Elena Medel (2020).