Renowned Chilean writer Lina Meruane, born in Santiago in 1970, has been named the recipient of the prestigious José Donoso Ibero-American Literature Prize for the year 2023. This esteemed recognition, endowed with a substantial prize of $50,000, along with a medal and diploma, is presented by the University of Talca.
Meruane expressed her profound gratitude during the videoconference where the award was officially announced, remarking, “This is indeed a ‘Donosian’ moment for me. Receiving this distinguished award, which bears the name of José Donoso and is bestowed by the University of Talca, is a tremendous honour.”
The decision to grant Meruane this prestigious award was unanimous, and it was based on her distinctive poetics, characterized by both thematic and formal experimentation, coupled with a refined, rigorous, and masterful use of language. The committee minutes also emphasized that she stands as “one of the most significant and multifaceted voices on the contemporary Ibero-American literary landscape.” Meruane has ventured across diverse literary forms, encompassing short stories, novels, theater, chronicles, and essays, exploring a wide array of political, ethical, feminist, and critical themes.
As part of the tradition of promoting the works of the laureates, the University of Talca’s Publishing House will publish a book by Lina Meruane as part of the “Premio José Donoso” collection, available in digital format on the institution’s website.
Residing in the United States, Meruane holds a doctorate in Latin American Literature from New York University and has become an influential figure among aspiring writers. Her role as a creative writing instructor and her work as an editor and anthologist in projects like “Renegadas” (2018), an anthology of Gabriela Mistral’s poems, have further solidified her standing.
Of Palestinian and Italian descent, Lina Meruane embarked on her literary journey as a cultural journalist before leaping into literature with her debut book, “Las Infantas” (1998). She earned recognition from none other than Roberto Bolaño, who regarded her as one of the most prominent writers of her generation. Her works, spanning from explorations of family conflicts to reflections on the Chilean dictatorship and politics, have been translated into English, Italian, Portuguese, German, French, and Arabic.
Among her notable works are novels such as “Fruta Podrida” (Fondo de Cultura Económica, 2007; Eterna Cadencia, 2014), “Sangre en los Ojos” (Eterna Cadencia, 2012), and “Sistema Nervioso” (Penguin Random House, 2018). Additionally, she has authored essays including “Becoming Palestinian” (Penguin Random House, 2013), “Blind Zone” (Penguin Random House, 2021), and “Against the Children,” as well as short story collections like “Avidez” (Caja Negra, 2020).
The José Donoso Prize is a tribute to outstanding writers, acknowledging the originality and quality of their literary careers across poetry, narrative, theater, or essay genres. It is awarded to authors hailing from Spain, Portugal, or Latin America who express themselves artistically in Spanish or Portuguese.