Juan Villoro accepts the Excellence Prize in literature, flanked by writers Elena Poniatowska and Cristina Pacheco, and the governor of Yucatán, Rolando Rodrigo Zapata Bello.
Juan Villoro accepts the Excellence Prize in literature, flanked by writers Elena Poniatowska and Cristina Pacheco, and the governor of Yucatán, Rolando Rodrigo Zapata Bello.

Mérida, Yucatán – Mexican writer Juan Villoro praised the political value of art “amid the horror” and impunity in Mexico while accepting the 2016 Jose Emilio Pacheco Excellence in Letters Prize at FILEY, the 5th Yucatan International Book Fair.

“We are at a breaking point, but we don’t stop imagining the possible worlds. Art does not close its eyes to the offenses, but it also shows that amid the horror there is something that’s not horror. Preserving the irony, sensuality and playful experiences are the tasks of resistance,” Villoro said on receiving the prize on Saturday.

In accepting his prize, Mexico City-born Villoro noted that his mother was Yucatecan, and visiting Mérida was a trip to his homeland.

“I do not receive the award as a certificate of what we already did, but as a stimulus to try to deserve it,” said the writer said he would be donating his prize money, 150,00 pesos, to the indigenous communities of Chiapas.

Villoro, 59, has written features, essays, short stories, novels and children’s literature.

The writer spoke of the need for literature, recalling poet and essayist Jose Emilio Pacheco, who died in 2014 and described Mexico as a nation plagued by poverty and corruption.

The 5th Yucatan International Book Fair was organized by the Autonomous University of Yucatán with support from state and federal agencies, along with several corporate sponsors. It continues until Sunday at the Siglo XXI Conference Center.

With information from FILEY. Read more: Latin American Herald Tribune

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