Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Santiago Roncagliolo wins Alfaguara Spanish-language literary prize

MADRID, Spain (AP) - Peruvian author Santiago Roncagliolo won Spain's Alfaguara Spanish-language literary prize on Monday for his novel Abril rojo, or Red April, which tells of life in his country under the government of former president Alberto Fujimori.

The novel, a detective story set within a political background, unfolds in the Peru of the early 2000s when the government, led by Japanese-born Fujimori, clashed with the hard left Shining Path guerrilla insurgency.

"I grew up during a war that no-one talked about, our windows were taped to avoid them rattling or shattering when bombs went off and we knew better than to park outside military installations for fear of having our car blown up by accident," Roncagliolo told journalists.

The novel was chosen from 510 entries, of which 141 came from Spain and 369 from Latin American authors.

The award, worth $175,000 US, also included a work by Spanish sculptor Martin Chirino.

"In Peru, many of those who disappeared and were tortured did so at the mercy of a government that we elected democratically, so to some extent we were all responsible for the deaths and torture," Roncagliolo said.

The prize is organized by the Alfaguara publishing house. Argentine authors Graciela Montes and Ema Wolf won the award last year, and Colombia's Laura Restrepo the year before.

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