FPdGi Awards

Veterinarian and writer María Sánchez Rodríguez, 2021 FPdGi Arts and Literature Award

The winner was chosen for “her work as a poet, writer and activist in defence of rural culture, and particularly the forgotten role of women in the countryside”. The winner’s name was announced this morning during a virtual event.


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Field veterinarian and writer María Sánchez Rodríguez has won the 2021 Princess of Girona Foundation Arts and Literature Award. The winner’s name was announced today during a virtual event attended by HM the Queen of Spain.

A jury of experts, meeting online this morning, praised María Sánchez’s work as “a poet, writer and activist in defence of rural culture, and particularly the forgotten role of women in the countryside”. In addition, they highlighted that “her work as a vet has given her a deep connection with the environmental and social heritage of rural life, which she has been able to transmit with a personal and strong poetic voice”.

The jury was chaired by publicist Luis Bassat, and also made up of journalist and filmmaker Luis Alegre; visual artist Lita Cabellut; journalist Montserrat Domínguez; artistic director of the Liceu Opera House in Barcelona Víctor García de Gomar; cinema producer Luis Manso and architect and 2015 FPdGi Arts and Literature Award winner Olga Felip, who acted as secretary to the jury.

In a message delivered during the event, after learning of the Foundation’s Award, María Sánchez appeared thrilled. “This Award is a recognition of my work and of me, both as a field vet and as a writer. It raises awareness of the rich culture and living heritage that we have in our rural areas”, said Sánchez, who added that she was delighted “to join the family of Foundation Award winners”.

This year, the winner announcement tour the Princess of Girona Foundation uses to promote its educational transformation and professional development programmes, as well as to present the winners of its Awards, has been reinvented to adapt to the COVID-19 health crisis. The first stop on the tour was held in a 100% online format, available to watch on the Foundation’s website and YouTube channel.

Winner’s biography
María Sánchez (Córdoba, 1989) is a field veterinarian and writer. She currently works with native breeds at risk of extinction, advocating alternative forms of production and of connecting with the land. She regularly appears on radio and in digital and print media talking about literature, feminism, extensive livestock farming and the rural culture and environment. She coordinates different projects, such as Almáciga, an open and collaborative vocabulary bank from our rural areas in the different languages found across Spain that are in danger of being lost forever. 

As a literary author, her poems have been translated into Portuguese, English, French, Romanian and Polish. She has won various prizes, among them the Spanish Institute of Youth’s National Youth Award for Culture for having contributed to “raising awareness in an exemplary and innovative way of the need to maintain country ways of life” with her poetry. With her books Cuaderno de campo (La Bella Varsovia, 2017), Tierra de mujeres (Seix Barral, 2019) and Almáciga (GeoPlaneta, 2020), the author has opened up new narratives that highlight the value of our rural areas. 

Dialogue between the Award winners and HM the Queen of Spain
Before the name of the 2021 Arts and Literature Award winner was announced, HM the Queen talked with four of the young people who have already been recognised with this honour in previous editions and who have, in recent years, evolved from being emerging talent to become established artists in their fields. Participating in this conversation were painter Hugo Fontela (2014 Arts and Literature Award), writer Elena Medel (winner in 2016), singer Soleá Morente (2018) and theatre director Rafael R. Villalobos (2019). The four winners agreed on the importance of defending the cultural sector, which has been hard hit by the pandemic. They also explained how they have adapted to the new context, remembering the months of lockdown and reflecting on the future of culture. 

The event also included a debate on the role of future teachers and the new forms of learning. It also hosted the finale of an entrepreneurial challenge for young people.

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