Photo: Elena Poniatowska
Elena Poniatowska was honored Tuesday with the Cervantes Prize, the most important award for works written in Spanish, for her “brilliant” literary career and “exemplary” dedication to journalism, always with a “firm commitment to reflecting current events.”
Poniatowska, born in Paris in 1932 to a Polish-French father and a Mexican mother, is the author of more than 40 books translated into more than 20 languages, from novels and non-fiction to journalistic essays, chidren’s books and short stories. Among her outstanding works are “Massacre in Mexico,” “Here’s to You, Jesusa!” and “The Skin of the Sky.”
Poniatowska stands out for her “literary contribution” as well as her presence in the media and her commitment to social and political issues, Spanish Education, Culture and Sports Minister Jose Ignacio Wert said.
“In a very pleasant conversation I had with her to inform her about the award, she expressed her limitless gratitude to the jury,” Wert said, noting that Poniatowska seemed “almost impatient” to get the award that she will receive at a ceremony on April 23.
“I’ve never before been thanked so effusively without deserving it,” Wert said.
Poniatowska becomes the fourth woman to win the Cervantes Prize in its 38-year history - the others were the Spaniards Maria Zambrano in 1988 and Ana Maria Matute in 2010, and Cuba’s Dulce Maria Loynaz in 1992.
The author of works describing the 20th century from an international and integrationist point of view, Poniatowska constitutes, according to the jury, “one of the most powerful voices in the Spanish-language literature of our times.”
The Cervantes Prize, considered the Spanish Nobel and created in 1975 by the Culture Ministry, is endowed with a cash prize of 125,000 euros ($168,775), and honors the writer whose combined works have contributed to the enrichment of the Ibero-American literary legacy.