59th Casa de las Americas Literary Prize begins in Cuba

Image result for Silvio Rodriguez at Casa de Las Americas

HAVANA, Jan. 15 (Xinhua) — The Casa de las Americas Literary Award, one of the most prestigious and oldest of its kind in Latin America, began its awards of this year here on Monday.

According to the organizers of the contest, some 200 works have been received in the categories of novel, short story, poetry, essay and literary testimony. The works are mainly in Spanish, but also in Portuguese, English and Creole.

Judges will travel from Havana to the southern city of Cienfuegos, where most of the readings will be held.

“This literary prize has for 59 years been the axis of a vast intellectual network and often where significant literary projects have developed in Latin America,” Jorge Fornet, coordinator of the contest, said at the opening ceremony.

“We must rewrite the history of this award, which constitutes a perennial literary, economic and organizational challenge and rethink it in the face of a different future. All this without giving up what has been achieved and its ambitious work,” said Fornet.

In his keynote address, singer-songwriter Silvio Rodriguez, also known as Cuba’s John Lennon, said the award has accompanied Cuba’s evolution over the past six decades.

“We are in a long, complex and unequal battle. This has made us develop an art of defense that sustains us, and although the one who defends himself well sometimes manages to survive, being forced to base our existence on that premise is not the healthiest thing,” he said.

Winners of this year’s prizes will be announced at the Che Guevara Hall on Jan. 25.

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