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Princess of Asturias Awards


Emmanuel Carrère, Princess of Asturias Award for Literature

Writer Emmanuel Carrère has been bestowed with the 2021 Princess of Asturias Award for Literature, as announced today by the Jury responsible for conferring the aforementioned Award



Writer Emmanuel Carrère has been bestowed with the 2021 Princess of Asturias Award for Literature, as announced today by the Jury responsible for conferring the aforementioned Award.

The Jury for the Award –convened by the Princess of Asturias Foundation– was chaired by Santiago Muñoz Machado and composed of Xuan Bello Fernández, Blanca Berasátegui Garaizábal, Anna Caballé Masforroll, Gonzalo Celorio Blasco, José Luis García Delgado, Jordi Gracia García, Lola Larumbe Doral, Antonio Lucas Herrero, Carmen Millán Grajales, Rosa Navarro Durán, Leonardo Padura Fuentes, Laura Revuelta Sanjurjo, Carmen Riera Guilera, Iker Seisdedos García, Jaime Siles Ruiz, Diana Sorensen, Sergio Vila-Sanjuán Robert and Fernando Rodríguez Lafuente (as acting secretary).

This candidature was put forward by Pedro Miguel Echenique Landiríbar, 1998 Prince of Asturias Award for Technical and Scientific Research.

Due to the situation resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, the meeting was held online via video conference.

Emmanuel Carrère was born in Paris on 9th December 1957. A French writer, screenwriter and filmmaker, he graduated from the Paris Institute of Political Studies. He lived in Surabaya (Indonesia) for two years while teaching French. He made his debut as a film critic in the magazines Positif and Télérama. In 1982, he published his first work, Werner Herzog, a monograph on this director, while the following year saw the release of his first novel, L’amie du jaguar. He subsequently published Bravoure (1984) (Gothic Romance, 1990) and in 1986, La moustache (The Moustache, 1988), which he adapted for the cinema in 2005. In the opinion of John Updike, the latter novel “knocks you out in less than 150 pages”. He has been a member of the international jury at the Cannes Film Festival (2010), including the Cannes short films section (2012) and the Cinéfondation jury.

Starting with his work L’Adversaire (2000) (The Adversary: A True Story of Monstrous Deception, 2002) about the murderer Jean-Claude Romand, which garnered great critical and public success, Carrère gave up writing fiction and began to write texts in which he narrates his own experiences or the real lives of other people and historical figures. He insists that the aforementioned work and those following it are not works of fiction: “The truth is that I don’t know how many times it is necessary to say that things are true, that they happened as they are related. I say so several times in the book, however, it seems that there are people who are not willing to understand that something that is true can be written, that there are many people who make a direct connection between ‘literature’ and ‘novel’, who consider that literature can only be fiction.” This type of text, in which facts and characters from real life intersect with reflections on the act of writing and the author’s own experience, is also that which appears in his subsequent books, Un roman russe (2007) (My Life as a Russian Novel, 2011) and D’autres vies que la mienne (2009) (Lives Other Than My Own, 2011), in which the stories marked by the grief, illness, and misfortune of various characters intersect, and in which he talks about the 2004 tsunami, which he experienced first-hand.

A passionate science fiction reader, he has also published Limónov (2011) (Limonov: The Outrageous Adventures, 2015); Le Royaume (2014) (The Kingdom: A Novel, (2017), on the birth of Christianity; Je suis vivant et vous êtes morts: Philip K. Dick, 1928-1982 (1993) (I am Alive and You are Dead: A Journey into the Mind of Philip K. Dick, 2005), a biography of this American writer in the form of a novel; Il est avantageux d’avoir où aller (2016) (97,196 Words: Essays, partial translation into English, 2019), a collection of journalistic writings and essays; and Yoga (2020), described as “a lesson in darkness”, “masterly”, “luminous” or “of captivating sincerity”, among other opinions corroborating its success. Carrère also has an outstanding career in film and television, as a scriptwriter, adapter of novels, producer and theatrical designer. He has also made documentaries and news reports and some of his novels have been adapted for the screen, such as the aforementioned La moustache and La Classe de neige, which won the Jury Prize at Cannes (1998).

Carrère received the Prix Kléber Haedens (France, 1988), the Grand Prix de la Science-Fiction (France, 1987), the Prix Femina (France, 1995) and the Prix Renaudot (France, 2011) for Limónov. In 2017, the Guadalajara International Book Fair (Mexico) granted him the FIL Award for Literature in Romance Languages and he received the Villa Kujoyama Award in Kyoto (Japan).

As stated in the Statutes of the Foundation, the Princess of Asturias Awards are aimed at rewarding “the scientific, technical, cultural, social and humanitarian work carried out at an international level by individuals, institutions or groups of individuals or institutions”. In keeping with these principles, the Princess of Asturias Award for Literature is conferred in recognition of “the work of fostering and advancing literary creation in all its genres”.

This year, a total of 33 candidatures comprising 20 nationalities were put forward for the Literature Award.

This has been the fifth of the eight Princess of Asturias Awards to be bestowed in what is now their forty-first edition. Previously, the Princess of Asturias Award for the Arts was granted to performance artist Marina Abramović, the Award for Communication and Humanities went to journalist and writer Gloria Steinem, the Award for Social Sciences was conferred on economist Amartya Sen and the Award for Sports went to swimmer Teresa Perales. The coming weeks will see the announcement of the following Awards (in this order): International Cooperation, Technical and Scientific Research, and Concord.

Each Princess of Asturias Award comprises a Joan Miró sculpture representing and symbolizing the Award, a diploma, an insignia and a cash prize of €50,000.

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