Fundación Santillana creates the Isabel Polanco International Essay Prize


Fundación Santillana has launched, in collaboration with the Guadalajara International Book Fair (Feria Internacional del Libro de Guadalajara - FIL), the Isabel Polanco International Essay Prize in honour of the late CEO of Grupo Santillana. Over the course of her 12 years in the post, she was behind the spectacular growth of the company in Spain and throughout Latin America. The award includes a $100,000 cash prize and the jury is headed by Mexican writer Carlos Fuentes.

The theme of this, the first award, is the Bicentenary of Latin American Independence, and writing may take any methodological or academic approach and can cover any aspect of the period, the development of the movement, the impact on today's world and the future. In the future, the award will recognise work on other subjects which shed light on history and currents in 21st-century thought.

"The competition is open to all authors writing in Spanish, whatever their nationality, as long as they stick to the topic," explained Raul Padilla, president of the the Guadalajara International Book Fair. "The author should be living at the time the work is submitted and the work should be original, unpublished and should not have won any prizes previously."

Ignacio Polanco, president of PRISA, highlighted the importance of the work of the Fundación Santillana in the Latin American world. Gonzalo Celorio, secretary of the Mexican Academy of Language (Academia de la Lengua Mexicana) and Carlos Fuentes - speaking from New York - underlined the need for an essay prize with such a significant financial reward. They both recalled the long and distinguished history of essay writing among Latin American intellectuals throughout the 19th and 20th centuries.

The new prize was announced in Mexico by the president of the the Guadalajara International Book Fair and Gonzalo Celorio, who will be the permanent secretary to the jury. Also present at the event were the director of the book fair, Nuria Macías, and Juan Luis Cebrián the CEO of PRISA, to which Grupo Santillana belongs.

Isabel Polanco, who died aged 51 on March 29, worked ceaselessly at the helm of Grupo Santillana to develop all the business lines and to significantly expand the scope of the general-interest publishing houses (Alfaguara, Taurus and Aguilar). It was Isabel who set up the Alfaguara Novel Prize, the most prestigious book award throughout Latin America. On the business front, Isabel brought Santillana to Brazil with the acquisition in 2001 of Editorial Moderna, which has since enjoyed enormous growth. She will be remembered for the spectacular energy she brought to the publishing activity of PRISA, where she liked to deal personally with the group's authors.


Back to news

Go to the top of the page