Chiapas, Juana Peñate Montejo, Ch’ol poet, is the winner of the 2020 prize for indigenous literature of America


The winning work is Isoñil ja’al (Dance of the rain).

Mexico City.- The Ch’ol poet, Juana Peñate Montejo is the winner of the eighth edition of the Prize for Indigenous Literatures of America (PLIA), informed the Organizing Committee, of which the Secretary of Culture of the Government of Mexico is a member. through the National Institute of Indigenous Languages ​​(INALI).

The poet Peñate Montejo, originally from Tumbalá, Chiapas, won with the collection of poems Isoñil ja’al (Dance of the rain), which was described as “a collection of poems that exalts the painful feeling left by death, its rituals, the death that it nails like lightning and it breaks us in two ”, by the members of the jury: Susana Bautista Cruz, Mazahua writer, and Alejandro Aguilar Zeleny, anthropologist, and researcher at the INAH Center in Sonora.

For this international award, which aims to enrich, develop, preserve and disseminate the legacy and cultural wealth of the peoples and communities of the American Continent through art, 60 proposals from nine countries were presented.

In the virtual press conference, the general director of INALI, Juan Gregorio Regino, and within the framework of the Contigo en la Distancia campaign, congratulated the winner of the PLIA, and said that for the Ministry of Culture of the Government of Mexico and for INALI, national indigenous languages ​​are fundamental in the process of recognition, appreciation, and respect for the cultural and linguistic diversity that we have in the country.

He added that these efforts should also have the objective that no language and no speaker is left behind, in accordance with the guidelines set by the Secretary of Culture, Alejandra Frausto, in this stage of transformation that the country is experiencing.

He indicated that the PLIA is an award that little by little is consolidating in the literary scene not only nationally, but internationally, and said that the winning collection of poems is a sign that the community perspective is of the utmost importance, “we are approaching an exchange intercultural where the local alternates with the global ”.

For her part, the winning poet, through a virtual link, thanked the convening institutions and the jury for their appointment and said that this award is a revaluation of the Ch’ol culture.

She added that this award is dedicated to all indigenous women and native peoples who have suffered discrimination, exclusion and racism for a long time, and argued that being the second woman to achieve this recognition is a sign that the female gender “We can contribute a lot to the arts, to writing, to dance, we just need a space to make them known.”

For his part, the president of PLIA, Gabriel Pacheco Salvador, affirmed that this award contributes to the conservation and dissemination of national indigenous languages. He also announced that the PLIA will be delivered on December 4 at 11 am, at the Guadalajara International Book Fair.

Those attending the conference were Uriel Nuño Gutiérrez, rector of the Centro Universitario del Norte, as representative of the rector general of the University of Guadalajara, Ricardo Villanueva Lomelí; Marisol Schulz Manaut, general director of the Guadalajara International Book Fair (FIL); the general director of Popular, Indigenous and Urban Cultures of the Ministry of Culture, Mardonio Carballo Manuel, and Víctor Rojo, representing the head of the National Institute of Indigenous Peoples, Adelfo Regino Montes, among others.

The convening institutions are: the Ministry of Culture of the Government of Mexico, through the National Institute of Indigenous Languages ​​and the General Directorate of Popular, Indigenous, and Urban Cultures; the National Institute of Indigenous Peoples; the University of Guadalajara, and the Secretaries of Culture and Education of the government of the state of Jalisco.


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