Photo: Cuban Author Zoe Valdes Wins Spain's Azorin Novel Prize
Cuban author Zoe Valdes has been named this year’s recipient of Spain’s Azorin Novel Prize for “La mujer que llora” (The Weeping Woman), a work about a lover and muse of Pablo Picasso.
The award, organized by the Planeta publishing company and the Alicante provincial government, is accompanied by a cash prize of 68,000 euros ($88,635).
Valdes’ work, submitted under the pseudonym Gloria Julian Cecil, traces the steps of surrealist photographer and painter Dora Maar - possibly the lover who “had the biggest intellectual influence” on Picasso - after the couple’s breakup following a nine-year relationship.
Maar was the model for Picasso’s “Weeping Woman,” a famous oil on canvas that he painted in 1937 near the start of their relationship.
The author said she devoted between six and seven years to the novel, which focuses on the eight-day journey that the “abandoned” Maar made from Paris to Venice in the company of two young writers, James Lord and Bernard Minoret.
Her reflections on her relationship with Picasso during that trip mark a turning point in her life and the start of a stage of personal “isolation” that ended many years later with her death in 1997.
A work with autobiographical elements, “La mujer que llora” is a novel “about love, abandonment, solitude, and also those moments of immense sadness and joy” experienced by those who have “faith in art.”