GUADALAJARA, Mexico (AFP) — Three Nobel laureates threw their support Monday behind a prize to be awarded to Spanish-language women writers 35 or younger living in the United States or Mexico.
Gabriel Garcia Marquez from Colombia, Toni Morrison from the United States and Seamus Heaney from Ireland offered their support for the Aura Estrada Prize in memory of a Mexican writer who died in 2007 at age 30.
The authors won Nobel awards in literature in 1982, 1993 and 1996 respectively.
"Good causes must be supported. This prize has my full support," Garcia Marquez said as he announced the award at the Guadalajara Book Fair in western Mexico.
The first Aura Estrada Prize will be awarded at the book fair in 2009.
The award targets "women 35 years old or younger who are beginning their literary career and live in Mexico or in the United States, writing a fiction or non-fiction essay, short story or novel in Spanish," said Mexican writer Gabriela Jauregui.
Due to taxation concerns, the prize will only be awarded to women living in the United States and Mexico, "but since many young people from Colombia, Argentina and other Latin American countries study there, the prize is somehow open to all," said Estrada's widower, Franscisco Goldman.
The winner will receive 12,000 dollars and win two-month residencies at three writers' colonies: Ucross in Wyoming, Ledig House in New York, and Santa Maddalena in Tuscany, Italy.
Funding for the prize came from cash donations by such writers as Salman Rushdie. Others, including Italy's Umberto Eco, donated original manuscripts for auction.
Garcia Marquez donated a signed and illustrated copy of his autobiography "To Live to Tell It" that he hopes to auction for at least 2,500 dollars, Goldman said.
Dinners with a famous writer in New York are also being auctioned for at least 1,000 dollars, Goldman added.
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