The thriller writer who won the biggest cash prize in literature turned out to be 3 male
A Spanish thriller writer turned out to be three men.
TV screenwriters Agustín Martínez, Jorge Díaz and Antonio Mercero dropped the bombshell that they were in fact behind the pseudonym Carmen Mola while accepting the prestigious Planeta literary prize of one million euros (£ 843,000) in front of the King Felipe VI of Spain in Barcelona on Friday.
“Carmen Mola is not, like all the lies we have told, a university professor,” Díaz said after accepting the award, according to the Financial Times. “We are three friends who, one day, four years ago, decided to combine our talents to tell a story.
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In previous interviews, Mola has been described as a married university professor, mother of three, in her late forties, originally from Madrid, who taught by day and wrote gruesome thrillers by night and wanted to stay at the headlight gap.
Like Mola, the men have sold over 400,000 copies of their Penguin Random House series of violent and bloody novels centered on Police Inspector Elena Blanco. The Planeta Prize was awarded to them for their unpublished book “The Beast” on a serial killer in Madrid, struck by cholera in 1834. Planeta will publish the new work.
Critics have accused the men of using their fake female character for marketing purposes. Beatriz Gimeno, former director of the Spanish Institute for Women, called the trio “scammers” for using the fake profile “to greet readers and journalists”.
Más allá of the use of a pseudo femenino es que estos tipos llevan años contestando entrevistas. No es solo el number es el perfil falso con el que ha tomado a lectorxs y periodistas. Timadores.
– Beatriz Gimeno (@ BeatrizGimeno1) October 16, 2021
But the trio took issue with that criticism, saying they hadn’t given the name much thought and likely would have given it more attention if they had known the Blanco series would have been such a success.
“We didn’t hide behind a woman, we hid behind a name,” Mercero told El País. “I don’t know if a female pseudonym would sell more than a male pseudonym, I have no idea, but I doubt it.”