Chaos at Spanish award ceremony: Famous writer turns out to be pseudonym for 3 men

Carmen Mola, a well-known female novelist, was a pen name for three male authors. The audience was informed of this while watching the Planeta Literature Prize award ceremony.

Three guys came on stage as the organizers of the Spanish literary prize intended to give out the award and the accompanying prize money of one million euros to the Spanish writer Carmen Mola. These guys have deceived readers and journalists by adopting a fake persona, they are fraudsters, says the Spanish literary world.

Carmen Mola has already gotten a lot of acclaim, but it has now been revealed that three males are hidden behind this feminine alias. For years, Agustin Martnez, Jorge Daz, and Antonio Mercero worked as screenwriters for different television shows, and together they created this non-existent Spanish writer. The three guys revealed their real identities to the world during the Planeta Prize award event for the first time.

On Carmen Mola’s website, the writer is characterized as a “Madrid-born novelist” who works behind a pseudonym in order to stay unknown. She has been likened to the renowned Italian author Elena Ferrante. Mola’s website description includes a sequence of pictures of an unnamed lady looking away from the camera.

Marketing trick

In previous interviews with Spanish media, Martínez, Díaz, and Mercero had presented the “writer” Mola as a female university professor living in Madrid with her husband and children.

Authors Agustin Martinez, Jorge Diaz and Antonio Mercero receive prizes for the pseudonym Carmen Mola
Authors Agustin Martinez, Jorge Diaz, and Antonio Mercero receive prizes for the pseudonym Carmen Mola. ©EPA

Mola’s novels usually revolve around the character of Detective Elena Blanco. The publisher describes Blanco as a “peculiar and lonely woman” and a lover of “grappa, karaoke, expensive cars and sex in SUVs”.

However, the book that won the Planeta award was not a story about the main character Blanco. Titled ‘The Beast’, the book is a historical thriller set during a cholera epidemic in 1834. The thriller revolves around a serial killer who is hunted by a journalist, a police officer, and a young woman.

Mola’s novels are known to be very gory and graphic. In the past, the Spanish media have often described the contrast between Mola’s life as a married university professor and the violent nature of her books. So this turned out to be a marketing ploy. The comments of the Spanish newspaper El Mundo read as follows: ‘It has not escaped anyone’s attention that the idea of a university professor and mother of three, who teaches math in the morning and writes novels with savage and macabre violence in the afternoon, has been a good marketing operation.’

“Scammers”

The news has also angered many literary colleagues. Beatriz Gimeno, a Spanish politician, and writer criticized Martínez, Díaz, and Mercero on Twitter: “Besides using a female pseudonym, these gentlemen have spent an awful lot of time on fake interviews. It’s not just a name, it’s a completely fake profile that they have used to bring in readers and journalists. They are scammers.”

In 2020, a regional branch of the Women’s Institute included Mola’s work as part of a selection of “feminist literature”, alongside, among others, the Canadian poet Margaret Atwood and the Spanish writer Irene Vallejo. The fact that Carman Mola, of all people, turns out to be a marketing ploy by three male authors is a bad thing for a lot of people.

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