Awards ceremony with the National Library in the background
At six in the afternoon this Friday, when the sky threatened with a generous rain, Boris Spikacow Square, at the corner of Las Heras and Austria, became a small literary act. The Museum of the Book and Language presented the winners of the Silvina Ocampo National Prize for Love Stories “I loved eighteen times but I only remember three”, organized in conjunction with the Ministry of Culture of the Nation.
The jury, made up of Gabriela Cabezón Cámara, Cynthia Rimsky and Cristian Wachi Molina, awarded the first prize, which consists of 100,000 pesos, to Francisco Sendra for “The night has the shape of what is missing.” There were two seconds (50 thousand pesos for each one): “The barking of the dogs at night”, by Analía Fernández, and “Until they find us”, by Marcelo Fabián Cutró. The Honorable Mention went to María Cecilia Rodríguez for “Flamenca”.
Laura Arnés, from the Museum of the Book and Language, said that they received 2,449 stories from all over the country: “We are very happy because the final result reflects the diversity of participants.” “We are also very happy with the recovery of María Moreno. This is due to her, ”added Juan Sasturain, director of the National Library. Martín Bonavetti, from the Ministry of Culture, said that “we needed public institutions to promote the generation of content.”
And he added: “The pandemic drew a necessary veil that made society see the precariousness of cultural workers. Not only the first ones will be published, but probably some more. It will be published through the publishing house of the National Library that returns. The first three editions will be released in December, which are three notebooks from the Museum of the Book and Language ”.
The jury Cristian Wachi Molina said that “the new contemporary stories allow us to think of other directions for love, and for the story itself. “There are other possibilities and traditions that open up for love in these stories. It was a joy for us to find these texts that allow us to think of new directions for love and for stories ”.
Also, there was a tribute to María Moreno, by Cristina Banegas, who recited a compilation of texts by the writer who is currently recovering from a stroke. Later, Inés Ulanovsky read a text by Moreno: “That the contest be named after Silvina Ocampo absolves us of all guilt: she knew about love and jealousy, telling them with the greatest antidote, humor. For that she was in love for years with someone whose name comically had the first three letters of the alphabet as initials: ABC (Adofo Bioy Casares) ”.
Cristian Wachi Molina, Laura Arnés and the winner of the contest, Francisco Sendra
Then yes, it was the awards ceremony. The musical closing was in charge of the bolero trio Lack of love. Here is the full text of María Moreno:
Love story contest … the expression inspires easy associations: there are loves that are pure stories, others that need a minimum of story to survive, others that are not capable of telling the story -of so fragile -And there are stories that, without being love, they are love for the language and its beautiful figures.
The romantics say that if a tale is about true love, it should not be subjected to the vulgarity of a pageant or that, in any case, only those in love could win.
The fact that the contest bears the name of Silvina Ocampo absolves us of all guilt: she knew about love and jealousy, telling them with the greatest antidote, humor. For that she was in love for years with someone whose name comically initialized the first three letters of the alphabet: ABC (Adofo Bioy Casares).
The words of politics are ugly, that is why I am going to avoid saying that the characters in the winning stories tend to avoid compulsory heterosexuality, they are LGTTB militants or old law.
Nor will I say anything about them, I prefer to respect the hypnotic, surprising and suspenseful effect of the genre.
The night has the shape of what is missing, Until they find us, The barking of the dogs at night, Flamenca: reading them I deduced that, in matters of love, the subject was no longer used as a living skinned, who tirelessly ruminates on his loss and could be illustrated by The Scream of Munch. The first person is fictitious, it does not rely on testimony or confession. Refuse the totalitarianism of experience.
Absence and lack ceased to be recurring themes. Winners, they are elegant in their calibrated passions and precise metaphors.
I promise not to imitate the journalists who approached Roland Barthes after the publication of Fragments of a love speech asking him: When you wrote it, were you in love?
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