Cuban Leonardo Padura Wins the Pepe Carvalho Prize for Crime Novels

Leonardo Padura expressed his joy at having received live news from his Argentine colleague and friend Claudia Piñeiro. (EFE)

14ymedio biggerEUROPA PRESS (via 14ymedio), Barcelona, 6 February 2023 — Cuban crime novel writer Leonardo Padura, creator of the policeman Mario Conde series, has won the Pepe Carvalho 2023 Prize in recognition of his career. The prize is awarded within the framework of the BCNegra festival.

It was announced by the writer and winner of the award in 2019, Claudia Piñeiro, at the opening ceremony at El Molino of the BCNegra festival, which will last until February 12.

The jury, composed of Carlos Zanón, Anna Abella, Lilian Neuman, Esteve Riambau, Rosa Ribas and Daniel Vázquez Sallés, awarded the prize to Padura for being “one of the most prominent voices in current Latin American literature” and for being committed to literature and to Cuba, the great protagonist of his works.

The jury considered that the protagonist of up to nine Padura novels, the charismatic Mario Conde, is “heir, or even the Caribbean brother” of the character of Carvalho, created by Vázquez Montalbán.

Padura (b. Havana, 1955) was happy to receive the award and highlighted the “close and friendly” relationship he had with the writer Manuel Vázquez Montalbán. He pointed out that three years ago he received the Barcino Prize for a historical novel, where his literature was then compared to that of Montalbán.

The Cuban writer, who recalled a photograph that was taken with Vázquez Montalbán and his Cuban friends when the Barcelona writer was documented for the book y Dios entró en La Habana  [And God Entered Havana], regretted his “irreplaceable absence in the culture of this country.”

Padura said in his thank-you speech for the award, which will be presented on Thursday, that he is grateful for the memory of “two very significant people for BCNegra and police literature”: Vázquez Montalbán and bookseller Paco Camarasa, the promoter of the festival.

The director of the festival, Carlos Zanón, stressed that the BCNegra wanted to begin with this edition, and the deputy mayor of Culture of the Barcelona City Council, Jordi Martí, said that Padura joins a “spectacular” list of Pepe Carvalho winners.

Leonardo Padura has a long career, recognized with numerous awards for his work, including the 2015 Princess of Asturias Award for Letters, the Café Gijón and the Dashiell Hammet awards, among others.

Among his works are those starring Mario Conde, including: Pasado perfecto, Vientos de cuaresma, Paisaje de otoño, La niebla de ayer and Personas docentes [Past Perfect, Winds of Lent, Autumn Landscape, Yesterday’s Mist and Teachers]; but also others such as El hombre que amaba los perros, Herejes, Como polvo en el viento and Agua por todas partes. [The Man Who Loved Dogs, Heretics, Like Dust in the Wind and Water Everywhere].

Translated by Regina Anavy


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