Isab the Allende has become the first writer in the Spanish language to receive the Medal of honor of the National Book Award (national prize for literature of the USA), for his contribution to the world of American letters.
“She is the first author in Spanish to receive for the first time this award and the second not born in the U.S.,” said Mexican writer Luis Alberto Urrea, responsible for delivering the award, during a ceremony held in New York.
In an emotional speech, Allende, who stressed his foreign throughout his life situation, described as an “unexpected honor” award and added it to accept it “with meekness, on behalf of millions of people like me who have come to this country looking for a new life” .
“Being a desenraizada Chronicle has given me some advantages. Most of my writings come from nostalgia, loss and separation, my incurable desire to belong to a place. I look like Chilean and dream, I Cook, I do love and write in Spanish”, said the writer, who has sold more than 70 million copies of his novels.
In his speech after receiving the award last night, Allende also warned against nationalism, racism, cruelty and fanaticism in “a time in which the values and principles held our civilisation are being besieged”.
“We live times dark, friends, times of war in many places and a potential war everywhere,” said the writer, who has lived 30 years in the United States and which is identified with the “diaspora” of people around the world seeking a new life.
Allende, born in Peru and which also lived 13 years in Venezuela after the coup in Chile in 1973, also took time to reflect on the importance of literature as an instrument not to forget human tragedies and, where appropriate, to draw “the life of otr people, especially of the strong and passionate women I know everywhere”.
“An extraordinary award, means that, perhaps, after all I’m foreign, which maybe is time rooting and relax, that I found a site which can belonging I belong, that maybe I’m not going to any other site ever more.”
During the ceremony, the book “The Friend” by Sigred Nuñez received the national prize of novel of fiction and “The New Negro: The Life of Alain Locke”, by Jeffrey C. Stewart, won in the category of non-fiction.
Meanwhile, the award for the best poetry book fell to Jostin Phillip Reed for his book “Indecency”.