Famous author and newspaper columnist
Clara Sanchez has won Spain's most prestigious and oldest award for literature, the Nadal prize, for her novel that examines the life of a former Nazi death camp guard who relocated to Spain after the war.
The novel Lo que esconde tu nombre - which means "What your name hides" - is based on a true story. It tells the story of an elderly former Nazi who has forged a new life on Spain's eastern coast and another octogenarian, a survivor of the Mauthausen concentration camp, who lives in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
A third character, Sandra, a young pregnant woman who lives next door to the erstwhile Nazi, gradually discovers her neighbor's true identity.
The Nadal Prize jury selected Sanchez's novel from among 261 works submitted this year. The jury members were German Gullon, Lorenzo Silva, Andres Trapiello, Angela Vallvey, and publisher Emili Rosales.
"Lo que esconde tu nombre is a novel that I put a lot of effort into. I learned a lot about life in writing it," the 54-year-old Sanchez was quoted as saying by the Latin American Herald Tribune.
The Spanish writer said, "I got the idea for the novel from a newspaper article about an elderly German couple that lived in Spain's Costa del Sol like many other Nazis who took refuge on our coasts after World War II and grew old without raising suspicion."
She added, "The novel's message is that the monsters we most fear are hiding behind very friendly faces, and sometimes the powerful, the people who commit abuses, unfortunately, go their whole lives without paying any price whatsoever for their crimes."
Sanchez writes a column for top-selling Spanish newspaper El Pais and has published eight other books which have been translated into French, German, Greek, Portuguese, and Russian.
The Nadal Prize, awarded by the Barcelona-based Destino publishing house, dates back to 1944 and is accompanied by an 18,000-euro ($26,000) cash award.