Yucatecan Maya writer receives Award for Indigenous Literature of the Americas at FIL Guadalajara

Premio de Literaturas indígenas, courtesy of Twitter.

Literature has the power to give a voice to indigenous communities that have not been heard for centuries, said Mayan-born storyteller Luis Antonio Canché Briceño on Friday, when he received the Award for Indigenous Literature of the Americas at the International Book Fair (FIL) in Guadalajara, Mexico.

“Literature has many facets, there are times when it tends to be a manifesto, other times it gives a voice to people who may never be heard, as happens with indigenous languages and in them is the recreation of moments, situations that are lived in the present or the description of a world that our ancestors inhabited,” he said.

The writer, born in the state of Yucatan, referred to the thousands of people in Mexico who live in the midst of violence in their environment and from the laws and the migrants who have to cross the desert to seek a better life, characters that are the subject of his volume of short stories “Los hombres espinados” (The Thorned Men), winner of this award.

In his acceptance speech, the storyteller encouraged those who write in indigenous languages to preserve their tradition and customs through their stories, of which there is still much to tell.

“There is still much to tell from our communities, we have a very valuable heritage where countless visions have been captured through books that we must return to the people. I hope that our indigenous languages travel the world, that they never disappear and that we celebrate the written word in the language we learned from our ancestors,” he said.

Canché Briceño, was elected winner of the tenth edition of the Prize for Indigenous Literature of America, endowed with 300,000 Mexican pesos (15,470 dollars), for the book “Los hombres espinados” which shows “the community environment and the daily life of the Mayan peasants”, recalled the president of the jury, the indigenous Wixárika Gabriel Pacheco.

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