Mayra Montero wins the Barco de Vapor Prize once again


The jury underscored the qualities in Montero’s work that make it so attractive to children, such as its intelligent structure, her inclusion of moving scenes from the start, the plot’s originality and the fluid insertion of the various textual elements, among other.

The author, born in Havana in 1952, is the winner of the 8th edition of the Children’s Literature Prize El Barco de Vapor de Puerto Rico, sponsored by the SM Foundation for El dragón dormido, her second such award from the Spanish publisher. In their press release, SM announced that the author, who has lived in Puerto Rico for more than forty years and says she feels Puerto Rican, will accept her award next Friday in an event to be celebrated at the old Casino de Puerto Rico in Old San Juan.

This is Montero’s second award. She won in 2008 for Viaje a Isla de Mona (2008).

According to the SM press release, El dragón dormido tells the story of Gustavo, an eleven-year-old whose hobby is prehistoric animals and who cannot feel fear because of a problem with his cerebral amygdala. As soon as his brother and friends realize this they start to invent situations to try to have Gustavo experience terror.

After a series of hair-raising situations, Dr Swann, a scientist who studies the memory of fear, will help the protagonist obtain the clues to survival and perhaps to overcoming his strange disease. The Prize includes $12,000 in cash, the publication of the work in the Barco de Vapor collection, and a sculptor by Spanish artists Alfonso Ruano, corporate art director for the SM Group.

The selection jury included professor Carmen Trelles Hernández, writer and scholar Janette Becerra (winner of the Prize in 2012), novelist and poet Mayra Santos Febres and Diana Bernard, SM’s editorial director editorial in Puerto Rico.

Josep Lafarga Sarrá, SM’s General Editor in Puerto Rico, announced that 57 manuscripts were submitted and the selection was complicated. “The quality of the work submitted confirms the great literary talent we have in Puerto Rico, where there is a solid quarry for the growth of the Barco de Vapor collection. He added that he was very enthusiastic to see how the competition is encouraging well-known artists to write works for children and young adults.

In Puerto Rico, Montero has worked as a journalist and developed an prolific literary career which has earner her a number of prizes. She was a finalist for the Herralde Prize for her first novel, La trenza de la hermosa luna, which was followed by La última noche que pasé contigo (finalist for the Sonrisa Vertical Prize), Como un mensajero tuyo, Púrpura profundo (winner of the Sonrisa Vertical Prize), El capitán de los dormidos, Vana ilusión and Son de almendra.

The Barco de Vapor Prize promotes the creation of literary work destined for readers between 6 and 14 in order to encourage a taste for reading and the transmission of human, social and cultural values.

The authors submit their work under a pseudonym to guarantee transparency in the selection.

For the original report (in Spanish) go to

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s