(From 2nd-L) Winners of Spain's 2021 Premio Planeta award Jorge Diaz, Antonio Mercero and Augustin Martinez receive the trophy for their novel "La Bestia in Barcelona on October 15, 2021. Photograph:( AFP )
They decided to write under the pseudonym for no “particular reason” and without “consideration of the name’s gender”
When it was announced that the winner of the 2021 Premio Planeta literary prize —worth one million euros — was the renowned female Spanish crime author, Cameron Mola, the audience, and the spectators worldwide had a shock of their life.
Three middle-aged men rose to the podium to collect the coveted award on Friday for the currently unreleased work “The Beast”.
Jorge Díaz, Agustín Martínez, and Antonio Mercero were the writers who penned numerous best-selling crime thriller books under the pseudonym ‘Cameron Mola’.
They decided to write under the pseudonym for no “particular reason” and without “consideration of the name’s gender”.
“Carmen Mola is not, like all the lies we've been telling, a university professor,” Díaz said shortly after accepting the Planeta prize, according to the Financial Times.
“We are three friends who one day four years ago decided to combine our talent to tell a story.”
Mola, which the trio showcased as a university professor and mother of three who wrote gritty crime drama on her off-time, has been praised for “her” depiction of strong female protagonists, with her latest award-winning work focusing on the investigation of child murders in nineteenth-century Spain.
Mola’s other works have also garnered acclaim, like "La Novia Gitana," which has been translated into 11 languages and will be developed into a television series.
Castille-La Mancha, a branch of Spain's Women's Institute, included her book “La Nena” in a list of 50 feminist titles that help readers “understand the reality and experiences of women.”
“I don’t know if a female pseudonym would sell more than a male one, I don't have the faintest idea, but I doubt it,” Mercero told Spain's El País newspaper. “We didn't hide behind a woman, we hid behind a name.”
Notably, there have been past instances where women have gone to publish works under male pseudonyms to protect their identity and dodge social biases.
(With inputs from agencies)