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Rafael Cadenas receives the Cervantes Award 2022

Rafael Cadenas receives the Cervantes Award 2022

Their Majesties the King and Queen of Spain present the Cervantes Prize 2022 to the first Venezuelan author to receive the award.

On April 24, Their Majesties the King and Queen of Spain presented the Miguel de Cervantes 2022 Prize for Literature in the Spanish Language to the Venezuelan writer Rafael Cadenas. The ceremony, which was held in the Auditorium of the University of Alcalá (Alcalá de Henares), was attended by the Minister of Culture and Sports, Miquel Iceta, and numerous political and cultural personalities.

The Ministry of Culture and Sport awards the Miguel de Cervantes Prize to writers who contribute with works of outstanding quality to enrich the Hispanic literary legacy.

The jury, which met on November 10, awarded the prize to Rafael Cadenas for «his vast and extensive literary work» and recognized «the transcendence of a creator who has made poetry a reason for his existence and has taken it to heights of excellence in our language». According to the jury, «his work is one of the most important and demonstrates the transforming power of the word when language is taken to the limit of its creative possibilities». Cadenas «makes words distill their dazzling essence, placing them in the dual territory of dream and wakefulness and making his poems a profound expression of existence itself and the universe, also placing them in a dimension that is both mystical and earthly».

This is the first Venezuelan author to receive this award, which widens the geographical scope of the winners of this prize.

Cervantes Prize

The Cervantes Prize was awarded for the first time in 1976 to Jorge Guillén and since then 48 authors have received the award. In 1979, the Prize was awarded ex aequo to Jorge Luis Borges and Gerardo Diego. Since then, the order of convocation stipulates that the prize cannot be divided, declared void, or awarded posthumously.

The awarding of this prize, endowed with 125,000 euros, is an annual public testimony of admiration for the figure of a writer who, with his or her work as a whole, has contributed to enriching the Hispanic literary legacy.

The Cervantes Prize may be awarded to any author whose literary work is written entirely, or in essential part, in Spanish. Candidates for the Prize may be presented by the Academies of the Spanish Language, by authors who have received awards in previous editions, by institutions which, by their nature, purpose, or content, are linked to literature in the Spanish language, and by the members of the jury.

Rafael Cadenas

Rafael Cadenas (Barquisimeto, Venezuela, 1930) belongs to the Venezuelan generation of 1960. He was a member of the Tabla Redonda group, together with Arnaldo Acosta Bello, Jesús Guédez, Ángel Eduardo Acevedo, Darlo Lancini, José Barroeta, and Sanoja Hernández. He is a translator of English poetry, was a university professor, and has an extensive work of essays considered a reference of contemporary literary thought in Spanish, with titles such as En torno al lenguaje and Apuntes sobre San Juan de la Cruz y la mística (Notes on St. John of the Cross and mysticism).

Cadenas, who is still active, is the author of more than twenty books of international resonance, among them, Cantos iniciales (1946), Una isla (1958), Los cuadernos del destierro (1960, 2001), the poem Derrota (1963), Falsas maniobras (1966), Intemperie (1977), Memorial (1977) Amante (1983), Dichos (1992), Gestiones (1992), Antología (1958-1993, 1996, 1999), Amante (2002), Poemas selectos (2004, 2006, 2009), El taller de al lado (2005), Sobre abierto (2012), En torno a Basho y otros asuntos (2016) or Contestaciones (2018).

Rafael Cadenas’ poetic and essayistic work has earned him awards, among which are the San Juan de la Cruz Prize (1992), the Mozarteum Foundation of Venezuela Prize (1993), the FIL Prize for Literature in Romance Languages (2012), the Federico García Lorca International Poetry Prize (2015), the Queen Sofia Prize for Ibero-American Poetry (2018), and various recognitions in his country, such as the honorary doctorate from the Central University of Venezuela and the Andrés Bello Prize from the Venezuelan Academy of Language, among others.


The jury, which met on November 10, was chaired by Aurora Gloria Egido Martínez, representative of the Royal Spanish Academy, appointed unanimously, who also acted as a member. María José Gálvez Salvador, general director of Books and Reading Promotion, acted as secretary, with voice but without a vote, and Begoña Cerro Prada, deputy general director of Book, Reading and Spanish Literature Promotion, acted as recording secretary, also with voice but without a vote.

The jury was also formed by Albino Chacón Gutiérrez, for the Costa Rican Academy of Language; Esther Borrego Gutiérrez, for the Conference of Rectors of Spanish Universities (CRUE); Mónica Lavín Maroto, for the Union of Latin American Universities (UDUAL); Raquel Caleya Caña, for the Cervantes Institute; Juan Casamayor Vizcaíno, for the General Directorate of Books and Reading Promotion of the Ministry of Culture and Sports; Francisco Javier Galán Gamero, for the Federation of Associations of Journalists of Spain (FAPE); Doraliza Jiménez Villarroel, for the Presidency of the Latin American Federation of Journalists (FELAP) and Lucas Torres Armendáriz, for the International Association of Hispanists. Cristina Peri Rossi, the 2021 Laureate writer, excused her attendance.

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