Javier Marias Rejects Spain’s National Literature Prize

It appears that Spain attempted to award Javier Marias with its National Literature Prize for his novel Los enamoramientos (to be published next spring as The Infatuations in Margaret Jull Costa’s translation), and he has declined. Apparently, he has maintained since 1995 that he would decline the award, and this year they finally put him to the test.

Here’s his reasoning:

El escritor sostiene que la razón principal es su voluntad de no querer ser etiquetado como autor “favorecido por este o aquel Gobierno” ni ser involucrado en juegos políticos, por lo que defiende que se habría negado a aceptar el galardón, prescindiendo del partido que estuviera en el poder. También influyó en su decisión el hecho de que muchos autores, entre ellos su padre, Julián Marías, y Juan Benet, Juan García Hortelano y Eduardo Mendoza, jamás recibieron un premio Nacional: “Estos fueron maestros míos y si ellos no lo recibieron, pensaba: ‘¿Por que habría de merecerlo yo?”.

En abril del año pasado durante la presentación de Los enamoramientos, en el Instituto Cervantes de Madrid, el autor dijo que él no recibiría un premio institucional porque le parecía que si su padre no había obtenido ninguno, él no debería aceptar otro. Y en una columna publicada en este periódico el 26 de junio de 2011 afirmaba:”Algunos muy buenos escritores han sido galardonados con los premios oficiales -el Cervantes, el de las Letras, el Nacional-, pero también muchos medianos y malos. En cambio se murieron sin obtener ni siquiera el último -el de menor categoría- Juan Benet, Jaime Gil de Biedma y Juan García Hortelano, y los tres eran ya sexagenarios. Lo mismo le pasó a mi padre, Julián Marías, y él murió nonagenario”.


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Google says:

The writer argues that the main reason is their unwillingness to be labeled as author “favored by this or that government” or be involved in political games, so he argues that he would have refused to accept the award, regardless of the party that was in power. Another factor in its decision that many writers, including her father, Julián Marías, and Juan Benet, Juan Garcia and Eduardo Mendoza Hortelano, never received a National Award: “These were my teachers and if they did not, thought ‘Why would I deserve it? “.

In April last year at the launch of The crushes, the Cervantes Institute in Madrid, the author said that he would not receive an award because he felt that institutional if his father had not received any, he should not accept another. And in a column published in this newspaper on June 26, 2011 stated: “Some very good writers have been awarded the official awards-Cervantes, of Letters, National-, but also many medium and bad. Instead he died without getting the last-even the lowest category-Juan Benet, Jaime Gil de Viedma and Juan Garcia Hortelano, and all three were already sixties. The same thing happened to my father, Julián Marías, and he died in his nineties. “

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