Leonel Alvarado, has long been a friend and great supporter of the Living Room of the City as poet, event organiser, generous enthusiast and all-round great guy. We can now add “Twice-over International Poetry Award winner” to that list. The latest award is the prestigious Central American Literary Award Rogelio Sinán for his book Xibalbá, Texas. It tells the story of the drama faced by Central American immigrants as they journey North to the USA in search of a better life. In Mayan mythology, Xibalbá (shi-bal-bá) is the underworld or hell, which in Leonel’s book is what immigrants go through and find on their quest. Part of the book is based on research Leonel has been doing on Central American immigration.
Leonel will travel to Panama to receive his award. The book will be released in August and launched at the International Book Fair in Panama. We’re already trying to get our hands on it!
Three of Leonel’s poems are featured at the Central Library as part of the KUPU SIX series from 2013: What Stones Know; Icarus in the Backyard; and Advantages and Disadvantages of moving the TV to the Bedroom.
The award follows hot on the heels of his success last year as runner-up in Latin America’s most prestigious poetry competition for his poetry manuscript Retratos mal hablados, which received a Special Mention in the Casa de las Américas Poetry Award.