Maya Writer Marisol ‘Sol’ Ceh Moo Makes History as First Woman to Win This Indigenous Literature Award

Lead Photo: Art by Stephany Torres for Remezcla
Art by Stephany Torres for Remezcla
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On Sunday, Mexican Maya writer Marisol “Sol” Ceh Moo won the Indigenous Literature of the Americas Award at the International Book Fair in Guadalajara, Mexico — becoming the first-ever woman to pick up the prize in the award’s seven-year history.

The author won for her novel Sa’atal Maan, which translates to Pasos Perdidos or Lost Steps. The work was originally written in Yucatán Maya, a dialect of the Mayan language, and has been translated to Spanish.

According to Hip Latina, the prize included 300 thousand pesos, a statuette and her name etched in a respected list of honorees for the award, which some say is comparable to the Nobel Prize in Latin America.

“I feel emotional and grateful to life [and] the institutions that have weighed in on this award that recognizes those who make literature in the original languages, the diffusion and help in positioning the expression of Indigenous communities,” Ceh Moo told Noevdades Yucatán.

Ceh Moo’s text was one of 26 works from eight countries in the running this year. Other candidates came from the likes of Colombia, Peru, Ecuador and Argentina.

This isn’t the first time Ceh Moo’s work has been recognized, either. In 2014, she won the Nezahualcóyotl Award for Literature in Mexican Languages – the second woman to be granted the award. Prior to that, she won the Alfredo Barrera Vázquez award in 2007 and 2009.

In conversation with El Heraldo de México, Ceh Moo said, “This is a reminder of the pact I made to women, to the Maya community of the Yucatán Peninsula and to the origin languages of the world, to work more and open more doors so that more women can go down this path.”