A family member just told me about Nersys Felipe, a Cuban novelist, poet, and short writer who last year received the Cuban National Literature Award. An older woman, Felipe has been writing for decades. This award apparently comes as long-due recognition of her efforts in the realm of children’s and youth literature.
In choosing Felipe as the recipient, the jury recognized “ ‘the sustained quality of her work for children and youth, anchored in the deepest roots of Cuban culture, but in a dialogue with the best of the genre.’ The jury was headed by 2010 National Literature Prize winner, Cuban-Uruguayan novelist Daniel Chavarría, and members included critic Zaida Capote Cruz, essayist José Antonio Baujín, and poets Georgina Herrera and Nelson Simón” (Guerillero, 06/12/2011)
In the blog “Repeating Islands,” which covers Caribbean news and culture, Felipe is quoted as saying: ““I am living one of the happiest moments of my life; the award filled me with joy and rendered immense expressions of affection.” She added that, after the initial nervousness, she was “overcome by a great satisfaction because the award establishes recognition of the cubanía (Cubanness) within my texts and of all literature of this genre [literature for children and young adults] on the island. [. . .] At that moment, I thought of Cuentos de Guane, my most polished and appealing volume, and also of [writer] Dora Alonso, a reference for all of us who follow in her footsteps.”
Felipe’s most popular children and youth books include Cuentos de Guane, Romá Elé, and Corazón de libélula. She has also won the Casa de las Américas Literary Prize. Sadly, many of her books are out of print at the moment. Perhaps local or university libraries will have copies? I’m investigating my resources right now…