Bogota: Bolivian woman author Magela Baudoin has won the Gabriel Garcia Marquez Spanish American Short Story Award for her collection “La composicion de la sal” (Salt’s Composition), the jury said. The jury, whose decision was read by writer Conrado Zuluaga, hailed Baudoin’s “great talent” and her “skill in telling stories without succumbing to the temptation of being explicit or didactic”. Baudoin beat four other finalists in the second edition of the award — Peru’s Carlos Arambulo, Chile’s Mauricio Electorat, Ecuador’s Gabriela Aleman and Mexico’s Juan Villoro.
The “complex universe” she describes lends an “elegant coherence” to the book as a whole, according to the jury, which said each story “explores one episode to its limits”.
Baudoin “avoids a conventional conclusion and suggests one or more possible resolutions that are never explicit, generating a sort of lasting uneasiness (in the reader),” the jury added.
The Bolivian author dedicated the prize to her parents, who attended the award ceremony on Friday, saying they had “created the iconoclast” she is today.
She also credited them with laying the foundation for her storytelling and love of literature.
In her acceptance speech, the Bolivian writer expressed her admiration for Garcia Marquez (1927-2014), saying that for her he was a “port of entry” into the world of literature.
The author recalled that her grandmother, who was a voracious reader, did not like the Colombian Nobel literature laureate – “because he used bad words” – and encouraged her to avoid his work.
But that advice instead had the opposite effect, making her more drawn to read the master of magical realism.
A total of 136 authors from 19 countries were in the running for the prize, which was created by Colombia’s culture ministry and National Library and is accompanied by a cash prize of $100,000.
Those writers included 26 from Argentina, 25 from Colombia, 18 from Spain and 16 from Mexico.
Argentina’s Guillermo Martinez won the inaugural edition of the award for “Una felicidad repulsiva” (A Repulsive Happiness).