September 11 – September 18, 2008 Edition Estrada Prize
to Honor Spanish
Language Authors

The Aura Estrada Prize, established to honor a Spanish-language female writer, 35 or younger living in the United States or Mexico, and to be awarded biannually, will be announced in the United States at a benefit in New York City on September 18.

The prize, which will be also be officially announced with the participation of Gabriel García Márquez at a press conference at the Guadalajara Book Fair in December, and in Oaxaca, Mexico in November with a reading by Paul Auster and Siri Hustvedt, celebrates the life of Aura Estrada, an aspiring young Mexican writer who suffered a fatal accident in the waves of Mexico in the summer of 2007.

The benefit, to be held at a Greenwich Village loft, will be a benefit for the prize, which will include a grant of money, residencies in writers’ colonies such as Ucross in Wyoming, the Ledig House in upstate New York, and Santa Maddalena in Tuscany, with possibilities to publish their work in Granta en Español and other features.

A star-studded group of literary lights have donated their time and money to make this prize a permanent tribute to a multi-talented life cut short.  The benefit committee is composed of writers from all over the world, including Estrada’s teachers and mentors, Peter Carey and Colum McCann, as well as Nobel Prize winners Toni Morrison and Gabriel García Márquez, Michael Ondaatje, Annie Proulx, Sandra Cisneros, Mary Gaitskill, Zadie Smith, Edwige Danticat and Dave Eggers, among dozens of others.  Along with rare signed books, manuscripts and art that will be auctioned at the benefit and online,  people can also bid to host ‘Friend of Aura’ dinners ‘either at the top bidder’s home or at a restaurant of their choice– with such luminaries as Junot Diaz, Gary Shteyngart, Colm Toibin, Susan Choi and Jhumpa Lahiri, and many others.

About Aura Estrada

At the time of her death, Estrada was enrolled as a PhD candidate in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese Literature at Columbia University, as well as in the MFA program at Hunter College, where she began writing fiction.  Her nonfiction essays in Spanish were published in Mexico and Latin America in Letras Libres, DF, Gatopardo, Letralia, Etiqueta Negra, among others, and in English she published in Bookforum, and the Boston Review.  In 2009, a collection of her writing will be published by Almadia, a Mexico based independent publisher.

Married to the prize-winning author Francisco Goldman, Estrada was destined to become one of the leading voices of her generation.  Goldman, with the help of many leaders in the literary community, believes this prize is one way to celebrate the life of Aura Estrada. Goldman said, “This prize can help launch the careers of talented young women, who as female writers in the male-dominated literary scene of Latin America might otherwise not have the opportunity to prosper as writers. No other prize like this, for a young Spanish-language woman writer, exists.”

About the Prize

The Aura Estrada Prize is co-sponsored and supported by the Mexican Cultural Institute (New York, NY) , Fundacon Eje 7 (Mexico City), and Editorial Almadia, Lebreria Proveedora Escolar y El Fondo Editorial Ventura A.C. (Oaxaca, Mexico).  The prize has tax exempt 501©(3) status.