BARCELONA – Nicaraguan writer Gioconda Belli was honored last week with the Biblioteca Breve Prize for “El Infinito en la Palma de la Mano” (The Infinite in the Palm of My Hand), a work that fuses poetry and mystery to create a fable about the origins of Adam and Eve.
The jury brought together by Spanish publisher Seix Barral was unanimous in awarding the prize to a volume that it said was outstanding for its “singular approach, its ability to evoke” an imaginary world “and its anthropological recreation of the myth of our origin.”
The jury for this 50th edition of the prize included writers José Caballero Bonald, Luis Mateo Diez, Pere Gimferrer, Rosa Montero and Elena Ramírez.
With a cash prize of 30,000 euros ($44,450), the Biblioteca Breve Prize has previously been awarded to such writers as Mario Vargas Llosa, Luis Goytisolo and Juan Benet.
Belli figures among the women who have pioneered revolutionary poetry in Nicaraguan literature. Born in Managua in 1948, she followed in the footsteps of Ernesto Cardenal and Claribel Alegria, who had launched a new vision of poetry and a renewal of the country’s literature.
In her first book entitled “Sobre la Grama” (On the Grass) published in 1974, Belli surprised readers with her erotic poems, a theme she never abandoned, but her next works were steeped in political and social concerns, as seen in “Linea de Fuego” (Line of Fire) in 1978 and “Truenos y Arco Iris” (Thunder and Rainbows).
The same approach may be observed in her novels “Amor Insurrecto” (Rebel Love) in 1987, “La Mujer Habitada” (The Inhabited Woman) in 1988, and “Sofia de los Presagios” (Sofia of the Premonitions) in 1991.
“The Country under My Skin,” Belli’s 2003 memoir of love and war in Nicaragua, is also a favorite among this writer’s loyal fans.