Cuba’s Leonardo Padura Wins Spain’s Asturias Award for Literature


Cuban-Spanish novelist Leonardo Padura was awarded on Wednesday with the 2015 Princess of Asturias Award for literature, The Latin American Herald Tribune reports.

Padura gained international recognition for his series of detective novels featuring the protagonist gumshoe Mario Conde.

A total of 27 figures from 18 countries were nominated for this year’s award in the literary category, but the jury gave Padura the final vote against prominent Syrian poet Ali Ahmad Said Esber, known by his pen name Adonis, and bestselling Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami.

Padura is the second Cuban ever to win the Princess of Asturias Award as an individual in any category since its inception 36 years ago, as Cuban athlete Javier Sotomayor won the 1993 prize for sports, while in 2000 the Cuban Language Academy won the award for concord.

Padura, born in Havana in 1955 and one of Cuba’s most internationally renowned novelists, has also worked as a critic, journalist and scenarist, while he obtained Spanish citizenship in 2011.

The author has achieved great success through his series about detective Conde, including “Adios Hemingway” (Goodbye Hemingway), “La Neblina del Ayer” (Havana Fever), and “La Cola de la Serpiente” (The Snake’s Tail).

The series was translated into several languages and won many awards, while Padura’s last work was published in 2013, “Herejes” (Heretics).

This year marks the first time the prize, which bears the name of the heir to the throne, has been called the “Princess” of Asturias Award, as it was changed from “Prince” when Princess Leonor’s father, King Felipe VI, ascended the throne last year.

The Princess of Asturias Awards are a series of annual prizes awarded in Spain by the Princess of Asturias Foundation in eight categories: arts, communication and humanities, international cooperation, literature, social sciences, sports, technical and scientific research, and concord.

Each winner receives a prize of 50,000 euros (roughly $56,000) and a replica statuette designed by the late Spanish sculptor Joan Miró.

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