MANILA, Philippines – José María Fons, a Spanish residing in Manila for than a decade now, garnered the prize for the Short Novel category of the 34th Felipe Trigo Literary Prize (Spain) last December 13.
Titled Los Diversos Avatares de Chejov (The speckled vicissitudes of Chekov), his work’s underlying theme is Philippine literature and its relations to literary scenarios of other countries.
The novel revolves around the story of an android designed to create the great Filipino novel of all times. Set against the backdrop of a Research Institute in an American university, the plot dwells on the particular friendship between the android and an obscure Filipino novelist — a specialist in Philippine literature — hired to map the software of the android’s Pinoy mind.
José María Fons works as head of the cultural section of Instituto Cervantes, the Spanish cultural center in the Philippines. He is author of the book of essays Sostiene Sentado, published in 2011; Los Diversos Avatares de Chejov is his first novel.
Felipe Trigo Literary Prize is a prestigious literary award established in 1981 in Spain. It is named after a popular Spanish writer from the beginning of the 20th century. Felipe Trigo was born in 1864; he was a doctor by initial profession and in 1896, he was posted in the Philippines. Inspired by his experiences in the Philippines, he started a literary career when he returned to Spain. In 1901, he published a novel set in the Philippine Islands, Las Ingenuas, which made him rise to become a successful Spanish novelist. It was followed by other works inspired by the Philippines — among them, La Campaña de Filipinas, Impresiones de Un Soldado.