Angeles Caso wins Premio Planeta, the top Spanish book award

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The Independent Culture

On October 15, Spanish writer Angeles Caso won the 58th edition of the Premio Planeta, the second-richest book prize in the world, for her novel Contra el viento (Against the Wind).

Caso, 50, who was runner-up in 1994 for her El peso de las sombras (The Weight of Shadows) and hails from the Asturia region of northern Spain, took home €601,000 from the award ceremony Thursday evening at the Catalonia Palace of Congresses in Barcelona.

The novel, loosely based on the life of the nanny of the author's daughter, sympathetically tells the story of a young woman from the Cape Verde archipelago who emigrates to the Iberian peninsula and becomes a working-class hero.

"They are my marvellous women and I admire them," said the author during her acceptance speech, according to Europa Press.

Caso wrote the novel under the pseudonym Virginia Evora, an homage to the English author Virginia Woolf and the Cape Verdean singer Cesaria Evora. She won the prestigious Fernando Lara Prize in 2000 for Un largo silencio (A Long Silence).

The award is given by Spanish publishing giant Grupo Planeta, which has published nine books by Caso.

Emilio Calderon, author of La bailarina y el ingles (The Dancer and the Englishman), is perhaps the happiest runner-up in the literary world as his second place prize of €150,250 is nearly three times what almost every other major award bestows upon its winners.

The Planeta Prize, which is given to the best original novel written in Spanish, trails only the Nobel Prize for Literature for richest purse. Caso was selected as winner out of 492 entries from all over the world.