[Many thanks to Thomas Spear for bringing this item to our attention.] Institut du Tout-Monde) announced, “There were four authors likely to win this 32nd edition of the Prix Carbet 2023 and it was finally [narrowed down] to Tomber, the book by Cuban author Carlos Manuel Álvarez (published by Mémoires d’encrier).

Here are excerpts from an article by Catherine Lama (Guyane La 1ère.FranceTV):

Journalist and writer, Carlos Manuel Álvarezlives in exile in New York. He was not present at the Carbet Prize award ceremony. His book “Tomber” was chosen for the final list of works selected by the members of the jury:

Darwyne (Éditions du Rouergue) by Colin Niel

Mon royaume n’est pas de ce monde (Éditions Albin Michel) by Jennifer Richard

Une somme humaine (Éditions Rivages) by Makenzy Orcel (Haiti)

And, of course, Tomber (Mémoires d’encrier) by Carlos Manuel Álvarez(Cuba)

The writer recounts the dilapidation of a Cuban family who, nonetheless, share the same space. In the country, hunger and deprivation act as a detonator. The Communist father, gravely ill mother, resigned daughter, and resentful son all become unrecognizable enemies, though not one of them really understands how and why it all happened.

According to jury president Miguel Duplan: “He offers an implacable, terrible description of his life in Cuba. But, despite everything, in this book there were accents of sincerity and tenderness, a very tender relationship between this country and the author, who watches it sinking daily. But, at the same time, there is a gallery of characters who keep all their dignity in deprivation. It is a luminous book, due to its writing, in which stylistic discoveries abound. We were all captivated by this text…”

A writer/journalist in exile in New York

The winner, Carlos Manuel Álvarez, could not receive his prize directly. He was not present. Exiled, he lives in New York. Tomber is his first novel, published in 2018 in the United States. The work enjoyed international success but was censored in Cuba.

The writer sent a long message of gratitude in a video. He explains his approach and his joy at having been chosen, [underlining that] he had a very close relationship with Edouard Glissant, the creator of this major literary prize for the recognition of Caribbean literature. [. . .]

Carlos Manuel Alvarez is a 33-year-old author. He is considered one of the best Latin American writers of a new generation. With the same level of engagement, he also wrote Falsa guerra and Los fallos.

Excerpts translated by Ivette Romero. For the full, original article and video of the author, see https://la1ere.francetvinfo.fr/guyane/prix-carbet-2023-l-ecrivain-cubain-carlos-manuel-alvarez-recompense-1370074.html

Also see https://tout-monde.com/prixcarbet2023.html and https://www.martinique.franceantilles.fr/actualite/culture/avec-un-ouvrage-censure-carlos-manuel-alvarez-obtient-le-prix-carbet-2023-925726.php

[Photo above by Carlos Rosillo for El País.]

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