Events26 November 2016

Romanian Norman Manea won the FIL Literary Award 2016

The author, whose best known work is The Return of the Hooligan, is a skilled portraitist of the history of his country in the twentieth century

Norman Manea

Norman Manea

The Romanian writer Norman Manea won the Award of the Guadalajara International Book Fair (FIL) in Romance Languages 2016. The jury highlighted the relevance that takes in today's society, one of the issues mostly worked by the author, the "itinerant identity."

"Against the catastrophes of history and the exiles to which we are subjected, Manea argues with acuity and irony how we define ourselves in a world of shifting mirrors",  said at a press conference the spokesman of the jury.

In the 26th. edition of the award instituted in 1991, Manea, who takes the witness of Spanish Enrique Vila-Matas, becomes the first Romanian writer to win the recognition.

Born in Suceava (Bucovina, Romania) in 1936, Manea is the author of a work set around the figure of the "wandering Jew" who develops his pilgrimages taking backdrop of old Europe and the New World.

In conference call from Berlin with EFE, Manea said that currently this figure of literature has become universal, becoming a "world -wide Jew", a citizen that moves in the "global exile".

The world "has lost its center, and what each person is trying to find is peace, hope, pleasure" in a situation of suffering but marked "by the tenacity and resilience," reflected the author. Far from being framed in traditional literary genres, the writer, who lives in New York, touches great themes like "the memory lessons, the absurd violence of the last century and its impact on the present," said the spokesman of the jury.

Among the creations of the Romanian author are titles like: The black envelope (1986) Clowns: The Dictator and the Artist (1997), The fifth impossibility (2012) or Return of hooligan (2003). Furthermore must be highlighted the work Proust's tea (2010), which collects his stories.

The award, with endowment of $ 150,000, will be delivered on November 26 at the opening of the XXX edition of the FIL Guadalajara, the most important fair in the world in Spanish and this year will have Latin America as guest of honour.

The contest received this year 54 entries from 23 countries. The jury was composed by Alberto Manguel and Ottmar Ette, representatives of the Spanish language; João Cezar de Castro Rocha and Jerónimo Pizarro, representatives of the Portuguese language; Mercedes Monmany in Romanian language; Louis Chevaillier, in Italian, and Philippe Daros, in French.


Photo: Norman Manea Gothenburg, 2013, made by Mattias Blomgren6.

Judit Neuberger




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