Carlos Pascual wins prize for best short story collection of the year

Novo Mesto – Carlos Pascual, a Mexican author who has been living in Slovenia for years, has won the Novo Mesto Prize for the best collection of short stories of the year for his work Nezakonita Melanholija (Unlawful Melancholy). The collection plays with the concept of the chronicle genre in an ingenious way, according to critics.

The prize was conferred by the Goga publisher in Novo Mesto yesterday evening. This marks the first time the winner was not born in Slovenia, said Goga, which had aimed to push boundaries by considering and short-listing for the first time authors who live and write in Slovenia but were not born there.

Unlawful Melancholy, published by LUD Šerpa, includes autobiographical stories that span years and take place both in Mexico and Slovenia as well as passages dedicated to history and geography, excerpts from biographies of other artists, the author’s reflections, and features of gonzo journalism and essays, among others.

This fusion distances itself from moralistic analyses or judgements, simply putting into words moments of being and capturing the reader’s attention, said the jury, adding that poetic segments in the book were rare but all the more powerful because of that.

The collection was translated into Slovenian by Pascual’s wife, Mojca Medvedšek, as he wrote the stories in his native tongue. This is his third book that has been translated into Slovenian.

Pascual, born in 1964, is also a poet, essayist, playwright and screenwriter. He has established Pocket Teater Studio in Ljubljana, an independent studio for the development of intimate theatre.

Last year, the prize went to Sergej Curanović for his literary debut, titled Plavalec (The Swimmer). The prize has been launched by Goga and the Association of Slovenian Literary Critics to draw attention to Slovenia’s quality short stories.