Carmen Mola: Female thriller writer awarded biggest cash prize in literature turns out to be three men

‘We didn’t hide behind a woman, we hid behind a name’

Peony Hirwani
Monday 18 October 2021 08:32
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<p>Winners of 2021 Planeta prize</p>

Winners of 2021 Planeta prize

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Carmen Mola, the pseudonymous Spanish female writer of crime thrillers, has been revealed to be three middle-aged men.

Agustín Martínez, Jorge Díaz, and Antonio Mercero revealed their identity while receiving the 2021 Planeta Award and a cheque of €1 million (£843,488).

The group of men won the prize for a book titled The Beast, which is a historical thriller set during the cholera epidemic in 1834.

During an interview with Spanish newspaper El Pais, Mercero claimed that the men “didn’t hide behind a woman, we hid behind a name”.

“I don’t know if a female pseudonym would sell more than a male one, I don’t have the faintest idea, but I doubt it,” he added.

The three men worked as scriptwriters under their real names prior to writing together under the pseudonym Carmen Mola.

They have previously worked on the TV series Central Hospital and Blind Date.

As per Financial Times, Diaz said: “Carmen Mola is not, like all the lies we’ve been telling, a university professor.”

“We are three friends who one day four years ago decided to combine our talent to tell a story,” he said after winning the prize.

Carmen Mola was said by the men’s publishers, Penguin Random House, to be the pseudonym of a female writer born in Madrid. Mola was also described as a forty-something mother of three children, who worked as a professor while writing crime thrillers in her spare time.

Mola had also been interviewed by the press, and a picture on her publisher’s website depicted a woman with her back to the camera who was identified as Mola.

So far, three books by Mola have collectively sold more than 200,000 copies. The books have also been translated into 11 languages and are being adapted for television by Viacom CBS International Studios.

A new novel, The Beast, is set to be published under Mola’s name next month.

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