Teresa Zurdo and Antonio Herrada, winners of the Complutense Prize for Literature 2022
April 27, 2022

Teresa Zurdo Gil and Antonio Herrada Hidalgo are the winners of the Complutense Literature Prize 2022 in the narrative and poetry categories.

Both collected their awards at a ceremony held on April 22 in the auditorium of the Faculties of Philology and Philosophy, which also served as the culmination of the activities of the UCM Literature Week. The winners of the 2021 edition, Juan Herrero Diéguez, in poetry, and Carlos Maortua Langdon, in narrative, received the first copies of their works -A pesar de la lluvia and La llaga humana, respectively- published by Ediciones Complutense. The event was attended by the Vice-Rector for Culture, Sports and University Extension, Isabel García; the Dean of the Faculty of Philology, Ignacio Luján; the director of Ediciones Complutense, Manuel Salamanca, and, on behalf of the jurors, the writers Luis Alberto de Cuenca and Clara Sánchez.

Vice Chancellor Isabel García emphasized how proud the Complutense is to encourage and recognize the literary creativity of young people between the ages of 18 and 35 who are studying or have studied at any university in the world. She also thanked all those involved in the organization of the Prize for their work, and especially the juries, which this year were made up of Luis Alberto de Cuenca, José Manuel Lucía, María Fernanda Santiago and Antonio Huerga, in the poetry category, and Luis Mateo Díez, Clara Sánchez, Auxiliadora Barrios and Basilio Rodríguez Cañada, in the narrative category.

The dean of Philology, Eugenio Luján, expressed his satisfaction that the university and, in particular, his Faculty, do not limit themselves to studying, researching or preserving literary creation, but also to promoting it, as is achieved with literary awards such as those of the UCM, which, as he recalled, already have a long tradition that goes back, with their different names, to many decades. According to the dean, these prizes have become a way of getting to know numerous writers.

The winning works, along with the 3,000 euro prize money that each author receives, are rewarded by publication by Ediciones Complutense. As highlighted by its director, Manuel Salamanca, the publishing house, which opened a new stage in 2016, has never hesitated to support young authors in this way and does not rule out even opening the collection to other genres such as essays or theatrical texts.

Luis Alberto de Cuenca and Clara Sánchez, representing the Award jurors, highlighted the quality of the finalists’ works -a group of doctoral students made a selection of 10 finalists in each category- and regretted only having been able to recognize two of them. Clara Sánchez advised both the two winners and the rest of the young people who write because they love to do so, not to fall into the frustration inherent in a world as complex and competitive as the literary world. “That doesn’t matter, you have to leave it aside; the only thing that matters is to have a good time writing.” It is worth it, because, as the writer reminded us, “literature is that substratum that allows us to do what we human beings most like to do: tell something or have something told to us”.

Teresa Zurdo Gil, winner of the Narrative Prize for Los elefantes no bailan ballet, is a fourth year student of the degree in General and Comparative Literature at the Faculty of Philology of the UCM. According to her, she began to study this degree because of her desire to learn and deepen “what I am passionate about: writing and literature” and three years later she is convinced that she is right because of how much she is learning from both her professors and her classmates, since “there are many of us who have this desire and love for writing”, concluded the student.

The winner of the Poetry Prize, Antonio Herrada Hidalgo, arrived in Spain just three months ago from his native Cuba to study for a doctorate at the Universidad Autónoma linked to his training as a geographer. His award-winning work, Líneas de exportación, is the result of four years of work and, in addition to being a book of poetry, is, he explained, also “a book of economic history, a book dedicated to what my country has done to live economically and what characterizes us as a culture”. Herrada dedicated the award to the many young Cubans who write there and dream of making their way beyond the island.