This Rita Indiana Novel Is First Spanish-Language Book to Win This Prize Honoring Caribbean Works

Lead Photo: Creative Commons "A bookshelf” by Stewart Butterfield is licensed under CC BY 4.0
Creative Commons "A bookshelf” by Stewart Butterfield is licensed under CC BY 4.0
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Just last year, Rita Indiana earned a nomination for the Premio Bienal de Novela Mario Vargas Llosa – an award seeking to energize the Spanish-language contemporary genre – for her novel, La mucama de Omicunlé. And though Chilean Carlos Franz ultimately took home the prize, Rita’s novel continues pushing Spanish-language literature forward. On April 8, 2017, La mucama became the first book written in Spanish to win the Grand Prix Littéraire Région Guadeloupe – an award given out by the Caribbean Writers Congress, according to EFE.

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.

For this fifth edition, the singer/author’s book first competed against about 20 other Spanish-language books, including those written by Leonardo Padura, Mayra Santos Febres, and Fernando Fernández. La mucama entered the final round alongside books written in French and English. Ultimately, a group of judges – including Andrés Bansart, Earl Lovelace, Camila Valdez, Patricia Donatien, Lyonel Trouillot, and Funso Aiyejina – from across the Caribbean and one from Nigeria chose the winner.

The jury crowned La mucama de Omicunlé because it “moves through various discursive layers: religious syncretism, indoctrination, drug trafficking, political corruption, gender perspective, and the deterioration of the Caribbean environment.”