Uruguayan Cristina Peri Rossi wins the 2021 Cervantes Prize



The Uruguayan –nationalized Spanish– Cristina Peri Rossi has won the Cervantes 2021 prize. Born in Montevideo in 1941 and living in Barcelona, ​​the author is one of the most relevant voices in Spanish letters, the only woman included in the boom Latin American and has been translated into more than 20 languages. In 2019 she won the José Donoso Iberto-American Prize, whose jury highlighted her for her “early manifestation of a feminist and homoerotic writing that unfolds from Evohé: erotic poemsfrom 1971 to Barbarian babel, 1990 “.

She was also the first to win the Loewe Prize for Poetry with the book PlayStation (2009) and has become the sixth Cervantes winner, behind Ida Vitale (2018), Elena Poniatowska (2013), Ana María Matute (2010), Dulce María Loynaz (1992) and María Zambrano (1988). This Friday the honoree will turn 80 years old, and the Visor publishing house has announced that it is preparing an edition of her complete poetry.

Peri Rossi is considered a master of short prose, the genre in which she was released and to which her first books belong. He debuted in 1963 with Living, a collection of stories and the seconds, The abandoned museums, were published in 1969. That same year he also wrote his first novel, The book of my cousins, which established her as one of the most important voices of her generation. From that moment on, the ideological charge, coinciding with the Uruguayan military coup and her exile, and the erotic charge, which defined her as a reference point in homosexual literature, was in crescendo in your texts.

Exile in Spain and international relevance

He fled to Spain at the age of 31, in 1972, although he had to go back into exile in Paris with his admirer Julio Cortázar when the Spanish government denied him his passport in collusion with the Uruguayan regime. Already settled in Barcelona, ​​she continued with her literary work. In 1984 he published Crazy people’s nave, considered the most important Hispanic novel after the Latin American boom. The ship is an allegory of exile and exclusion on the grounds of politics, gender and sexuality.

During this time he collaborated in Spanish media such as El Periódico, Cambio 16 and the EFE Agency. Meanwhile the novels arrived Love is a hard drug (1999) and Everything that I couldn’t tell you (2017), as well as the stories Private rooms (2012) and The wrong loves (2015), almost all of them published by the Lesscuarto publishing house.

Beginning in the 2000s, Peri Rossi’s poetic creation was much greater and with an erotic and political delicacy unparalleled in his work. Collections stand out State of Exile (2003), Desire strategies (2004), My home is writing (2006) and Hotel room (2007). As well as the award-winning PlayStation (2009), on the demystification of all the rituals of urban life and great loneliness.

“Writing poetry makes my life more bearable,” the writer said in a recent interview for the Argentine publishing house Eterna Cadencia, on the occasion of his first poetic publication in that country. “Poetry does not fulfill any social function except in those groups in which it is a form of resistance against the totalitarianism of the image and the great monopolies of communication,” he added.

‘Cris’ from privacy

In 2014 he published the book Julio Cortázar y Cris, a testimonial portrait of the relationship they shared during their brief exile in Paris and which they maintained, by way of loving friendship and correspondence, during the last decade of the author’s life. Hopscotch. “I had an intense, intimate, unforgettable and unrepeatable relationship with Cortázar”, Peri Rossi told the Chilean media La Tercera. Before dying, the Argentine writer dedicated Five poems for Cris. Cortázar designed the label for her as “the great renovator of the short story” in the 1960s.

Beyond that, Cristina Peri Rossi has fled from classifications. When the press tried to put a specific sexuality on her – lesbian or bisexual – she resisted, and she did the same in her writings, where she has alternated male and female voices. Despite the fact that lesbianism is a common theme in her writing, the author has maintained an ambiguous position on a personal and literary level. Although he has profusely analyzed the deconstruction of biological genders and masculinity.

The Cervantes prize, which is endowed with 125,000 euros, is usually ruled by a jury in which the two winners of the previous editions are, who would be the poets Joan Margarit and Francisco Brines, both deceased in recent years. The Minister of Culture, Miquel Iceta, has dedicated a few words to them before reading the ruling.

The Miguel de Cervantes Prize for Literature in the Castilian Language confirms “the public witness of admiration for the figure of a writer or a writer, regardless of their nationality, who, with the whole of their work, has contributed to enriching the Hispanic literary legacy “, in the words of the minister. An award given to the entire literary work of an author.

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