French writer and journalist Emmanuel Carrère, Princess of Asturias Award for Literature


The author of “The adversary”, the novel that enshrined him and in which he narrated the life of the criminal Jean-Claude Romand, is considered one of the greatest exponents of non-fiction literature. The writer has won the 2021 Princess of Asturias Award for Literature to which 33 candidates of 20 nationalities opted.

The jury of the Princess of Asturias Award for Literature that awarded the award to Emmanuel Carrère has highlighted the French writer for having contributed “to the unmasking of the human condition” and have achieved in his work “an incisive portrait of today’s society”. The jury added that Carrère has built “a highly personal work that generates a new space for expression that blurs the boundaries between reality and fiction”. According to the minutes, his books “they contribute to the unmasking of the human condition and relentlessly dissect reality” so that in his work _ “draws an incisive portrait of today’s society.” _

The French writer and journalist Emmanuel Carrère (Paris, 1957), thus takes over from the Canadian essayist and classical culture teacher Anne Carson, who won the award last year, and manages to be the second French writer to be awarded. In 2018 the French novelist Fréderique Audoin-Rouzeau (Fred Vargas) also received the award.

Carrère, whose candidacy was presented by the Spanish physicist Miguel Echenique Landiríbar (1998 Prince of Asturias Award for Scientific and Technical Research), is also a screenwriter and director and, after making his debut as a film critic, published his first work in 1982, a monograph on film director Werner Herzog.

After publishing his first novel “L’amie du jaguar” a year later, the French author focused on literature with titles such as “Bravura” or “The mustache”, which years later he adapted to the cinema, before publishing in 2000 his work “The adversary”, whose critical and public success led him to abandon fiction and write texts with his own experience or based on the real lives of other people and historical figures.

For Carrère, his published works from “The adversary” are not fiction and the things he relates actually happened. “There are people who are not willing to understand that you can write something that is true, that there are many people who make a direct connection between” literature “and” novel “, who consider that literature can only be fiction,” he warns.

The award-winning author also has an outstanding cinematographic and television activity, whether as a screenwriter, novel adapter, director or set designer, and has also made documentaries and reports.

The award has distinguished in previous editions the work of Adam Zagajewski, John Banville, Antonio Muñoz Molina, Leonard Cohen, Paul Auster, Claudio Magris, Arthur Miller, Augusto Monterroso, Günter Grass, Philip Roth, Carlos Fuentes, Camilo José Cela, Mario Vargas Llosa and Juan Rulfo, among others.

The one for Letters is the fifth prize to fail of the eight awarded annually by the Princess of Asturias Foundation after those awarded to the Serbian artist Marina Abramovic (Arts); the American journalist and writer Gloria Steinem (Communication and Humanities); the Indian economist Amartya Sen (Social Sciences) and the Spanish Paralympic swimmer Teresa Perales (Sports).

Each Princess of Asturias Award is endowed with a sculpture by Joan Miró -representative symbol of the award-, an accrediting diploma, a badge and 50,000 euros (60,900 dollars) and the International Cooperation awards are still pending, on June 16; Scientific and Technical Research, June 23, and Concordia, June 30. The delivery ceremony, which last year had to be moved from the Campoamor Theater in Oviedo to the Reconquista Hotel in the Asturian capital to adapt to a smaller format and without an audience due to the pandemic, will be held, as is traditional, in the month October.


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