Maria Barbal becomes 53rd recipient of Òmnium’s Literature Lifetime Achievement Award
We are in a “time of literary, political, economic and social crisis,” says winner
One of Catalonia’s most prestigious writers, Maria Barbal, became the 53rd person and 7th woman to win Òmnium Cultural’s Literature Lifetime Achievement Award on Wednesday.
The Premi d'Honor de les Lletres Catalanes has been offered to distinguished Catalan writers and scientists by the organization Òmnium Cultural since 1969 to celebrate the country’s outstanding works - the last ones were Quim Monzó, Marta Pessarrodona, and Enric Casasses.
This year's winner, Barbal, is the author of a good dozen literary works; novels, short stories, children's books and plays.
She also recently won the 2021 Josep Pla Prize for her novel ‘Tàndem’ (Tandem).
Her works have been translated into several languages, such as her book ‘Pedra de tartera’, translated into English as ‘Stone in a Landslide.’
The ceremony at Barcelona’s Palau de Música was a bit different this year: taking place during a global pandemic, the historic concert building’s windows recently smashed in during last month’s riots.
Jordi Cuixart’s absence
Pro-independence civic group Òmnium Cultural’s president, Jordi Cuixart, serving a decade-long prison sentence for his role in the 2017 independence push, was unable to attend because a court had removed his day-leaves granted in January just the day before.
Barbal commented on the imprisoned independence leader Cuixart’s absence, saying that the joy she feels for the award “contrasts and balances” with her concern for current times, “full of important difficulties and challenges: a time of literary, political, economic and social crisis.”
“It’s an attempt to imprison thought,” she said referring to Cuixart’s sentence, “or perhaps simply to demonstrate who possesses the power and strength.”