Emotions evoked year after year by our continent’s literary institution the Casa de las Americas Literary prize can still be felt.

Emotions evoked year after year by our continent’s literary institution the Casa de las Americas Literary prize can still be felt.On January 18, the director of the Casa’s Center for Literary Investigation presented the 20 judges for the competition which marked the beginning of the 57th edition of the gathering of our most authentic literary expressions and traditions that culminated 10 days later in the awards ceremony.

The panel, sitting in the south central Cuban city of Cienfuegos, considered more than 400 entries; more than 130 in the theatrical category, 40 essays , and 221 stories, this latter category displaying the most coveted of the awards.

Those in the know concur that the high point of this year’s event was the conference given by Uruguayan senator and former president Jose Mujica’s which enthralled the audience that packed the iconic Ernesto Guevara Hall of the institution where the Casa Prize has taken place for nearly six decades.

Chants of “Pepe, Pepe” inundated the crowded auditorium, referring to the fond nickname given by admirers to one the most humble and charismatic leaders in the recent history of our continent.

His diverse and moving discourse fulfilled the highest expectations, generated since the details of his visit to Cuba were first announced.

Emotions evoked year after year by our continent’s literary institution the Casa de las Americas Literary prize can still be felt.In addition to Mujica’s visit, the Los Mundos de Quino (The Quino Worlds) exhibition, in tribute to the Spanish-Argentine cartoonist, Joaquín Salvador Lavado, which opened in Havana as part of the 57th Casa de las Americas Prize program, also came in for high praise.

Known to all simply as Quino, the 83 year-old artist is considered to be a standard bearer for the continent’s comic art, and on this occasion the Casa put together a modest representation showing a range of enlargements and reproductions from an almost 60 year long creative trajectory.

These activities were complimented by passionate debates with members of the prestigious panel formed especially for the occasion, including one entitled “The Expectations and Realities of Latin American Dramatists” and another dedicated to present day indigenous intellectualism.

Amongst the notable prizewinners, the story „Ni una sola voz en el cielo“, (Not a Single Voice in the Sky) by Argentine Ariel Urquiza, the essay “De las cenizas al texto” (From Ashes to the Text) by Ecuadorian Diego Falconí Trávez, and the play „ Si esto es una tragedia yo soy una bicicleta“ (If This is a Tragedy then I am a Bicycle) by Cuban Legna Rodríguez Iglesias, stand out.

And so, the Casa Prize 2016 had come to an end, and those that had lived and felt every word, phrase or letter published during the 10 days of the event, were certain that next year the literary feast would return to the Cuban capital.

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