The French writer and screenwriter Emmanuel Carrère (Paris, 1957) won the 2021 Princess of Asturias Award for Letters on Wednesday, to which thirty-three nominations from twenty nationalities opted, for a work that is “very personal and generating a new space of expression that it erases the borders between reality and fiction ”.
The jury, gathered telematically and chaired by the Spanish academic Santiago Muñoz Machado, highlighted that Carrère has contributed "to the unmasking of the human condition" through an incisive portrait of today's society with a work that dissects reality "relentlessly" .
In addition, he stressed that the second French author to obtain the award after the novelist Fred Vargas, awarded in 2018, exerted a notable influence on contemporary literature and showed "a strong commitment to writing as a vocation inseparable from life itself."
Carrère, whose candidacy was presented by the Spanish physicist Miguel Echenique Landiríbar (1998 Prince of Asturias Award for Scientific and Technical Research), offered in four decades a dense work, a chronicle of his time and at the same time of his own family or religious experiences after emerging in popular culture with "El adversario" (2000).
In that work he novelized the life and thought of Jean-Claude Romand, a figure of the black chronicle in France after murdering his wife, his two children and his parents, and whose trial he covered as a journalist, a book that was a point of inflection and that made him feel free to write from true facts and whose success rewarded seven years of research and work.
By then he had already published “L'amie du jaguar” (1983), “Bravoure” (“Bravura”) (1984) or “La Mustache” (The mustache ”) (1986), beginnings in fiction completed by essays or by film scripts in which autobiographical overtones are never very far away as in “De vida ajenas” (2009) or “El Reino” (2014), a mixture of fiction and self-fiction on the origins of Christianity after traveling as a researcher the paths of the New Testament once the faith is lost.
In his most recent work, "Yoga", he addresses this practice and the depression of the author himself, who had to withdraw some passages due to the legal obligations to which he committed to his ex-wife, the journalist Hélène Devynck, whom he divorced in March 2020 after accusing him of having added elements of fiction to transform the legal prohibition to speak about her “into self-glorification”.
Grandson of Russian immigrants, his career began as a film critic for Positif and Télérama magazines and, although literature began to gain weight over the years, he remained linked to the seventh art with various works as a screenwriter in the XNUMXs.
His penchant for cinema was materialized with documentaries such as "Return to Kotelnik", his debut behind the camera that made him follow the trace of his Russian roots, also present in "Limonov" (2011), a novel about the vital vicissitudes of the Russian poet and dissident Eduard Limonov who reflects on the human condition and offers a portrait of communism and postcommunism.
The award, which last year went to the Canadian Anne Carson, distinguished in previous editions the work of Adam Zagajewski, John Banville, Antonio Muñoz Molina, Leonard Cohen, Paul Auster, Claudio Magris, Arthur Miller, Augusto Monterroso, Günter Grass, Philip Roth, Carlos Fuentes, Camilo José Cela, Mario Vargas Llosa and Juan Rulfo, among others.
The one for Letters is the fifth prize to fail of the eight awarded annually by the Princess of Asturias Foundation after those awarded to the Serbian artist Marina Abramovic (Arts); the American journalist and writer Gloria Steinem (Communication and Humanities); the Indian economist Amartya Sen (Social Sciences) and the Spanish Paralympic swimmer Teresa Perales (Sports).
Each Princess of Asturias Award is endowed with a sculpture designed by the Spanish artist Joan Miró and 50.000 euros (about $ 60.960 at current exchange rates) in cash, and the International Cooperation, Scientific and Technical Research and Concordia awards are still pending before the October their traditional handover ceremony is held. EFE