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Antonio Muñoz Molina

Prince of Asturias Award for Literature 2013

Antonio Muñoz Molina (Úbeda, Jaén, Spain, 1956) began studying Journalism in Madrid. He subsequently moved to Granada, where he obtained a degree in History of Art from the city’s university. He lived there for twenty years, working as a civil servant and as a columnist for the now defunct Diario de Granada.Over the years, he has continued to work as a columnist in the press, publishing in the newspapers ABC, El País and Ideal and the magazines Muy Interesante and Scherzo.

A committed intellectual and scrupulous observer of reality, Muñoz Molina sees writing as a personal treasure trove of shared experiences, as the “pursuit of the fleeting moment in which memory turns into dazzling aesthetic certainty”.Journalism and literature come together in his work, of a sober, refined and purified style, lacking in unnecessary artifice and written in a certain melancholy tone. He published his first book, El Robinson urbano, a compilation of articles published in the Diario de Granada, in 1984. His first novel, Beatus Ille [A Manuscript of Ashes], published in 1986, features the imaginary city of Mágina, a faithful depiction of Úbeda, which he was to return to in later works. Invierno en Lisboa [Winter in Lisbon] (1987) earned him the Critics Award and the National Narrative Prize. In 1991, he won the Planeta Prize for El jinete polaco, which also earned him the National Narrative Prize the following year. In 1989, he published Beltenebros. >He moved to Madrid in 1992 and travelled to America the following year, where he taught for a year at the University of Virginia. He had first visited New York in 1990 and returned there in successive years with increasing frequency, eventually teaching at the City University in 2001 and 2002. In 2004, he was appointed director of the Instituto Cervantes in New York, where he wrote La noche de los tiempos [In the Night of Time] (2010). He currently lives between New York and Madrid.

For Muñoz Molina, “the writer continues the immemorial craft of storytellers, who gave shape to the shared experience of the world through oral stories. Telling and listening to stories is not a fad or intellectual sophistication: it is a universal feature of the human condition, which is present in all societies and starts early on in life”. Besides the works already mentioned, he is author of the novels El dueño del secreto (1994), Ardor guerrero (1995), Plenilunio (1997), Carlota Fainberg (1999), En ausencia de Blanca [In Her Absence](2001), Sefarad [Sepharad](2001), El viento de la luna (2006) and Días de diario (2007). Besides El Robinson urbano, he has also published the compilations of articles Diario del Nautilus (1986), Las apariencias (1995), La huerta del Edén (1996) and La vida por delante (2002), as well as the books of short stories Las otras vidas (1988) and Nada del otro mundo (1993), essays and the non-fiction books La realidad de la ficción (1993), ¿Por qué no es útil la literatura?(1994, along with Luis García Montero), Pura alegría (1998), Ventanas de Manhattan (2004) and Todo lo que era sólido (2013).

Translated into English, French, German, Italian and Portuguese, besides the already cited awards, Muñoz Molina has been distinguished with the Jean Monnet Prize of European Literature, the Prix Mediterranee Etranger (France, 2012), the Jerusalem Prize (2013) and the Qué Leer Prize, awarded by the readers of the magazine of the same name. He has been a full member of the Royal Spanish Academy since 1995.

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