The Plenary Comittee of the Royal Spanish Academy (Real Academia Española) has awarded its 2022 Prize for Literature to Olga Merino for her novel La forastera.
Published by Alfaguara in 2020, La forastera is a modern-day western starring a woman facing the loss of everything she possesses. A contemporary drama set in the rugged, unforgiving territory of rural Spain and a thrilling story about human resilience.
Olga Merino (1965) worked for five years during the 1990s in Moscow as a correspondent for the newspaper El Periódico. This experience inspired her first novel, Cenizas rojas, which was lauded by critics, and twenty-three years later, her memoir, Cinco inviernos. La forastera is her latest novel.
Longlisted for the IV Mario Vargas Llosa Biennial Novel Prize, and listed as one of the 10 Spanish Best Books in 2020 by Forbes and among the 50 Spanish Best Books in 2020 by Babelia, the novel was a word-of-mouth literary phenomenon during the pandemic and it has been highly praised by the Spanish literary critics
“A harsh rural story… literarily exuberant.” Berna G. Harbour, El País
“Une femme dans un monde d’hommes, une femme seule, traitée en étrangère dans le village quoi qu’elle fasse, et pourtant elle est d’ici, ce paysage aride est le sien." Claire Devarrieux, Libération
“A novel as tough and essential as the rugged terrain where it sinks its roots.” Elena Hevia, El Periódico de Cataluña
“A mixture of western and rural thriller, the story of a woman stronger than the world she lives in.” Marta García Miranda, Cadena Ser
“... a work that is more closely related to the ruralism of Miguel Delibes or the brutal realism of Camilo José Cela.” Álvaro Colomer, Ara Llegim
“Entertaining and absorbing ... with an absolutely precise use of the Spanish language." Marta Sanz, Babelia, El País
“To read La forastera, by Olga Merino, is to venture into hostile territory and discover that the beauty of language is capable of tearing a tough, noble and lonely character from the clutches of a land that is sick of death and thirsty for understanding.” Eva Baltasar, author of Permafrost and Boulder