Argentine writer Magalí Etchebarne wins prestigious literary award

Previous winners of the Ribera del Duero prize include internationally acclaimed authors like Samanta Schweblin

Argentine writer Magalí Etchebarne’s La vida por delante has won the eighth Ribera del Duero Award, a renowned contest for Ibero-American short-story writers organized by publishing house Páginas de espuma and Spain’s Ribera del Duero origin denomination.

The prize was announced Wednesday in Madrid.

Etchebarne’s second short story collection after Los mejores días took the 25,000-euro prize, beating finalists from Spain and Latin America. All this year’s finalists were women: Fernanda Trías (Uruguay), Katya Adaui (Perú), Nuria Labari (Spain) and Dahlia de la Cerda (México). Previous Argentine winners include Samanta Schweblin and Marcelo Luján. 

The jury, presided by Mariana Enriquez, was formed of Carlos Castán, Brenda Navarro, Ribera del Duero chairman Enrique Pascual and Páginas de Espuma editor Juan Casamayor.

The jury said La vida por delante is “written with authentic humor, which creates a series of images and complex characters with the care that only someone who knows and masters the language is able to provide. A contemporary proposal filled with sharpness, dynamism, and everyday, intimate conflicts that are addressed with intelligence and freshness, but without neglecting the most dark and disturbing side of human relations.”

Speaking to the Herald in a phone interview from Madrid, Etchebarne said: “I guess I would describe it as a book about characters who are somewhat stuck in pain. Hurt appears in each character in different ways: it’s a physical pain for some, and for others it’s more connected to emotions.”

These include infidelity, couples in crisis, and a mother who falls ill. “Painful issues that affect both the body and emotions,” Etchebarne noted.

La vida por delante will be published simultaneously in Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Spain, Mexico and Uruguay on May 8. 

Cover photo: Catalina Bartolomé


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