Victor Ruiz and Rocío Solares have been named the winners of the 42nd edition of the José Hierro Poetry and Short Story Awards by the City Council of Santander, according to the Councilor for Culture, Noemí Méndez. She announced that the runners-up prizes have been declared vacant due to the jury's "lack of artistic maturity" in the other contestants.
After reviewing the 28 submissions (19 in poetry and nine in short story), the judging panel, which met on Thursday, has awarded the first prize in the poetry category to the work 'Poemas' by Víctor Ruiz Polanco from Maliaño.
The author, who had previously won the unique runner-up prize in 2021 with his poetry collection 'Suburbanidades', will receive a cash prize of 2,000 euros and the publication of his work by Ediciones El Desvelo.
The winning poetry collection stands out for its "contemporaneity, effective use of irony and rhetorical devices, excellent knowledge of literary tradition, metric maturity, attention to a constantly changing modern world, in which the author manages to imagine a kind of mythical and classic universe that is very personal and realistic, as well as promising," according to the City Council.
In the short story category, the winner is Rocío Solares Laínz, a 27-year-old writer, with the work 'El hombre de la pipa', also chosen unanimously. She will receive a cash prize of 2,000 euros and the publication of her work by Ediciones El Desvelo.
The short story stands out for its dialogue with the realistic tradition of the 19th century, incorporating elements of genres such as noir or western, "constructing a coherent, calm, well-structured story that flows naturally without any surprises," the Council stated.
This year, the jury decided to declare vacant the runners-up prizes in both poetry and short story, as they "felt that the other contestants lacked artistic maturity," according to Méndez.
Méndez highlighted the jury's reflection on this matter as recorded in the minutes. She stated, "These are prizes with a long history and prestige, with excellent benefits in terms of age range and objectives of the José Hierro Awards. They have been the starting point for various generations of writers in Cantabria, and they should continue to be that first joyful encounter with readers and the publishing world."
Therefore, the municipal authority encouraged young people from Cantabria to consider this competition as "one of the best and most solid introductions they can have to start their career. They should work diligently on their texts, already thinking about the 2024 edition, in order to have time to rework, correct, and achieve the intended excellence."
The José Hierro Awards are aimed at authors up to 30 years old with links to Cantabria, and they have become a fundamental reference for the first steps in the field of literary creation.
The judging panel for this edition included the President of the Association of Spanish Teachers, Alejandro Fernández González; the professor and poet Maru Bernal, and the anthropologist and writer Araceli González Vázquez, winner of the José Hierro Short Story Award in 1997.
The awards will be presented at the 2023 Gala of the Letters, along with the other literary prizes of the City Council. The event takes place every year in December.