Behind the pseudonym Carmen Mola there were three men: Jorge Díaz, Agustín Martínez and Antonio Mercero.
Carmen Mola are the storytellers, filmmakers and screenwriters Antonio Mercero, the Lorca-born Agustín Martínez and Jorge Díaz, who last night made history and became the first winners of the million-euro Planeta, the best-endowed literary prize in the world, already ahead of the Nobel Prize, which they will have to share. On the day of the prize’s seventieth birthday and with its galactic purse, the award unveiled the mystery of the Spanish Elena Ferrante who has published her three novels under a pseudonym. She was awarded it with ‘La bestia’ (The Beast), a fiction that straddles the line between history and thriller, which she presented under the identity of Sergio López and with the provisional title of ‘Ciudad de fuego’ (City of Fire).
Paloma Sánchez-Garnica (Madrid, 1962) became, in turn, the first finalist for the award, taking home a cheque for 200,000 euros (50,000 more than before) for ‘Last Days in Berlin’, an epic story with a steel curtain in the background, which she presented under the provisional title of ‘Children of Anger’ and the pseudonym of Yuri Zivago. It is the story of a young man who dreams of being reunited with his mother and brother after their escape from the Leninist regime.
Under the identity of Mola, the screenwriters and filmmakers have starred in one of the great publishing phenomena of recent years. Hundreds of thousands of readers have devoured ‘La novia gitana’ (2018), ‘La red púrpura’ (2019) and ‘La nena’ (2020); Mola preserved his identity with as much zeal as equivocation. But a bag of one million euros can do anything and blew up a secret that until now the most daring sleuths had not been able to reveal. Atresmedia, Planeta’s audiovisual arm, is also preparing the series starring the atypical inspector Elena Blanco. The protagonist of Mola’s fast-paced saga is a grappa and karaoke addict and the daughter of a more-than-well-to-do family. A woman in her late 50s, she heads the Brigada de Análisis de Casos (BAC), an elite group of police officers who tackle the most complex crimes. In addition to leading her team with a firm hand, Blanco is burdened with a painful past that makes her incapable of committing herself in the realm of affection.
Translated into a dozen languages, the saga has sold more than 500,000 copies worldwide. The Gypsy Bride’ was an unlikely bestseller without its publishers spending a penny on promotion. The Purple Net’ and ‘The Babe’ added to the phenomenon.
Agustín Martínez debuted in advertising, before dedicating himself to scriptwriting. He has participated in productions such as ‘Sin tetas no hay paraíso’, ‘La chica de ayer’, ‘Crematorio’ and ‘El don de Alba’. He has published the novel ‘Monteperdido’ (2015).
Presence of the King and Queen of Spain
Winners and finalists received their awards in the presence of King Felipe and Queen Letizia at an evening held at the National Art Museum of Catalonia. Also in attendance were the Ministers of Culture and Education, Miquel Iceta and Pilar Alegría, respectively, and the Mayor of Barcelona, Ada Colau.