Novel by Imprisoned Cuban Writer Wins Prize / Luis Felipe Rojas
Posted on September 18, 2013
"He deserves it twice over, for suffering an unjust imprisonment for his
gifts, as status as a narrator," said the writer Jorge Olivera Castillo
in celebration of the news that his colleague Angel Santiesteban-Prats
received the Franz Kafka Novels From the Drawer International Prize,
awarded to censored writers by the Czech Republic.
The Summer When God Was Sleeping, focused on Cuban rafters trying to
escape the country, is the winning work and will be presented this
Friday in Berlin at the Cervantes Institute in the German capital
At the event José Manuel Prieto, Jorge Luis Arzola and Amir Valle, Cuban
writers in exile, will take part in a discussion moderated by the German
editor Michi Strausfeld, where they will talk about issues of Freedom
and Creation in Cuba.
The Franz Kafka Novels From the Drawer International Prize was first
awarded in 2008 in the city of Prague to the writer Orlando Freire Cuban
writer Santana for his novel The Blood of Freedom, and its name "Novels
from the Drawer" is from the need to promote those authors that are
censored by the authorities.
Olivera Castillo, former Cuban television editor and author of several
books of short stories and poetry, was sentenced to 20 years in prison
in the Black Spring of 2003, believes that Santiesteban's award shows
"his caliber as a writer."
Santiesteban-Prats is serving five years in prison after a trial full of
irregularities which has been denounced by his colleagues and several
independent media within the island, as well as relevant international
His literary work won important awards from Cuban institutions such as
the House of the Americas, the Prize of the Union of Writers and Artists
of Cuba (UNEAC) and the "Alejo Carpentier" prize granted by the Cuban
Book Institute of the Ministry of Culture, until he decided to publish
his blog, The Children Nobody Wanted, openly critical of the situation
in Cuba today.
"Previously he won the three main awards for stories, which is something
unheard of, for someone who is barely 50 years old," says Olivera who
chairs the Cuba PEN Writers.
Other Cubans writers who have been awarded the Franz Kafka Novels From
the Drawer International Prize are Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo, for the
novel Boring Home; Frank Correa, with The Night is Long; Ernesto
Santana, for The Carnival and the Dead; and Amel Hechavarría for
The Czech library Forbidden Books Czech, dedicated to documenting the
literature of the anti-communist Czechoslovak dissidence, and initially
the Independent Libraries of Cuba (Founded by Ramon Colas and Berta
Mexidor) are responsible for editing and promoting award-winning books
inside and outside Cuba.
12 September 2013
Source: "Novel by Imprisoned Cuban Writer Wins Prize / Luis Felipe Rojas
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