Last month, the selection jury for the Premio Bienal de Novela Mario Vargas Llosa – an award seeking to energize the Spanish-language contemporary genre – narrowed down 250 submissions to 11. Ahead of the April 21 ceremony, the jury has announced the five finalists: Juan Gabriel Vásquez’s La forma de las ruinas, Héctor Aguilar Camín’s Adiós a los padres, Renato Cisnero’s La distancia que nos separa, Carlos Franz’s Si te vieras con mis ojos, and Rita Indiana’s La mucama de Omicunlé.
Indiana is the youngest and only woman among the finalists. Last week, she tweeted about her accomplishment by sharing a YouTube video of Celia Cruz’s “Yemaya” – the Queen of the Sea, according to Yoruba religion.
La mucama de Omicunlé explores issues of identity and gender, and focuses on the Caribbean. “With this novel, I am starting a series of books that take place in a Caribbean where power is attained through certain supernatural forces,” she told Vice.
The Fundación Biblitoteca Virtual Miguel de Cervantes and 10 universities created the Premio Mario Vargas Llosa in September 2013. This year, the Director of the Real Academia Española Darío Villanueva, Peruvian writer and journalist Alonso Cueto, Mexican writer Gonzalo Celorio, Hispanic culture academic Inger Enkvist, and Ecuadorian essayist Will H. Corral will decide who takes home the prize.