Guadalajara – Spanish writer Fernando Aramburu on Tuesday was awarded the 7th Tusquets Editores Novel Prize for "Años Lentos" (Slow Years), in which he recreates the founding of the Basque terrorist group ETA based on experiences of his early childhood.
The winner of the award, which includes a cash prize of 20,000 euros ($26,600), was announced at the International Book Fair in the western Mexican city of Guadalajara.
In making its decision, the jury said it prized "the Dickensian narrative of a childhood in the (19)60s in the Basque region," in which Aramburu offers "a brilliant example of how life can be distilled into a novel through the fusion of sentimental remembrance and collective memory."
With this novel the 52-year-old Aramburu, who was on hand Tuesday for the jury's announcement, broke with his "modest" habit of not writing about himself or his family.
The prizewinning novel includes "many experiences" of his childhood, though he resorted to fiction to recount how ETA came into being and how neighborhood priests set about capturing children and teenagers they deemed "suitable for the cause and trained them to enter that abyss of terror."
ETA, which recently announced plans to abandon armed struggle, has killed more than 800 people since 1968 in its campaign to create an independent Basque nation from parts of northern Spain and southwestern France.
The jury of the Tusquets prize was made up of Juan Marse, Almudena Grandes, Juan Gabriel Vasquez, 2010 winner Rafael Reig, and Beatriz de Moura representing the Tusquets Editores publishing house.