SANTIAGO – Chilean writer Antonio Skarmeta was announced here Tuesday as the recipient of the 4th Planeta-Casa de America Ibero-American Prize for his novel, “Los Dias del Arco Iris” (Days of the Rainbow).
Skarmeta’s work was one of 15 finalists out of a total of 639 entries submitted in hope of garnering the $200,000 prize.
“It is a novel about the power of the imagination to achieve – even today in a cold, globalized world like this one – changes, changes like the ones we’re enjoying today,” the prizewinning writer said.
“Los Dias del Arco Iris” recreates in fiction the times when Chile was preparing to vote on a referendum to determine whether Gen. Augusto Pinochet should remain in power, something that actually happened in October 1988 and spelled the end of a 17-year dictatorship.
“My novel has to do in part with other times when Chile was not democratic – we went through some hard times to win the freedom that we now enjoy,” said a smiling Skarmeta, who had to wait almost two years to find out that his novel won the prize.
The long wait was due to the fact that the 4th Planeta-Casa de America Ibero-American Prize was meant to be awarded at the beginning of March last year, but the magnitude-8.8 earthquake that devastated a large part of Chile on Feb. 27, 2010 brought the process to a halt.
The jury for this edition was made up of writers Angela Barrera of Colombia, Guillermo Martinez of Argentina and Alvaro Pombo of Spain, along with the director general of Casa de America, Imma Turbau, and the editorial director of Planeta Argentina, Alberto Diaz.
The winner of the 1st edition of the prize, awarded in 2007, was “El Enigma de Paris” by Argentina’s Pablo de Santis, while in 2008 “La Casa de Dostoievsky” (The House of Dostoevsky) by Chilean writer Jorge Edwards took the honors, and in 2009 the winner was “Ella, que Todo lo Tuvo” (She, Who Had It All), by Angela Becerra of Colombia. EFE