LONDON (AP) – Mexican writer Valeria Luiselliâ€™s novel â€œLost Children Archiveâ€ won the Rathbones Folio Prize for literature on Monday at a ceremony held online because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Luiselli beat finalists who included Zadie Smithâ€™ and Ben Lerner to win the 30,000 pound ($35,000) prize. Founded in 2013 to rival the prestigious Booker Prize, the Folio award is open to fiction, nonfiction and poetry published in Britain.
Luiselliâ€™s third novel and her first written in English, â€œLost Children Archiveâ€ weaves together a familyâ€™s American road-trip with the stories of migrant children along the Mexico-U.S. border.
Poet Paul Farley, who chaired the three-member judging panel, said the book was â€œa road trip, a documentary, a portrait of a family and of the American borderlands, and a journey into the idea of home and belonging.â€
A planned ceremony at the British Library in London was scrapped to conform with public health recommendations to reduce the number of people sickened with COVID-19. Instead, the announcement was streamed online and broadcast on BBC radio.
Speaking from her home in New York, Luiselli said she welcomed the prize as a sign that people were keeping faith in books, even in strange and worrying times.