The novelist Luis Mateo Díez, a fantastic Cervantes Prize: "Writing is living more intensely"

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“I believe that the true satisfaction of literature has consisted in knowing that writing is living, in maintaining a commitment between writing and existence. Writing has been a way of being able to live more intensely, because in life one does not find the everything that one longs. It is in the imagination where my beyond is“.

Luis Mateo Díez explained this to ELMUNDO, shortly after learning that he was the winner of the Cervantes Prize, the most important award in Hispanic literature. The 81-year-old writer from León, author of novels, short story books, poetry and essays, often dedicated to fantasy, is the first narrator to receive the Cervantes award after five poets who have entered his list consecutively. The award, organized by the Ministry of Culture and Sports and the Association of Spanish Language Academies, It has an endowment of 125,000 euros. Its jury has considered the winner as one of the “great storytellers of the Spanish language, heir to the Cervantine spirit and creator of imaginary worlds, […] “a writer in the face of all adversity, creator of imaginary worlds and territories.”

“With prose, sagacity and a style that make him unique in the literary consideration of the highest flight, Luis Mateo Díez surprises and offers continuous and new challenges with which he goes beyond the realm of fantasy and acquires reality in readers, who They appropriate their creative universe. In their creations, the expertise and indisputable mastery of language stand out, which the author accredits in a writing in which he masterfully mixes the cultured and the popular. A style of his own, demanding, of great originality, where “expressionist, parodic or grotesque humor prevails as the best way to relativize what happens, and which entails a lucid and ambiguous perspective that allows us to verify the complexity of the human condition,” recognized the jury, chaired by the director of the Royal Academy Spanish, Santiago Muñoz Machado.

The status of Díez (Villablino, León, 1942) has something paradoxical in the landscape of literature in Spanish. On the one hand, he is a widely recognized writer: he is a language academic and has twice won the National Fiction Prize. However, Díez was often considered as to the only magical/wonderful writer in a literature, Spanish, in which the realist tradition was dominant.

However, perhaps the most accurate word to explain his career is the adjective vitalist: «My experience is that the imaginary is prone to the exaltation of a vitalism that is not in reality. One would like life to be that permanent explosion of the senses and that radicality, but there is always a point of frustration. At the beginning of my career, my characters behaved with excessive vitalism. Then, age has leveled my experience and my characters, it has harmed them a little.

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