Three Men Pretended To Be a Female Author and Won Coveted Prize

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In what seems more like fiction than fact, a group of three men who pretended to be a single female author won a major book prize for their work.

On Friday, writers Agustín Martínez, Jorge Díaz, and Antonio Mercero stepped up to accept the lucrative Planeta prize in Spain for their work together as the author “Carmen Mola.” Dubbed “Spain’s Elena Ferrante,” the three men wrote under the name to craft a career as a crime thriller writer and developed many narratives including the character Elena Blanco, reports The Guardian.

The character is a detective and “a peculiar, solitary woman, lover of grappa, karaoke, classic cars, and all-terrain sexual relations.”

“A vulnerable policewoman, who stays on the force to remind herself that in her life there is one unsolved case that she has been unable to close,” reads a description of her via the book The Gypsy Bride by publisher Penguin Random House.

Prior to their reveal at the Planeta awards, Mola was identified solely as a "Madrid-born author" on the website for her agent and was “shown” often in photographs as an indecipherable woman looking away from the camera. Many were shocked at the revelation, which the men argue was a “good marketing operation.”

In an interview with Spain's El Mundo newspaper, the men reportedly said: "It is not lost on anyone that the idea of a university professor and mother of three, who teaches algebra classes in the morning and, in the afternoon, writes novels of savage and macabre violence has been a good marketing operation."

The trio won the Planeta, and its subsequent €1,000,000 allocation, for their historical thriller titled The Beast. The work is set during a cholera epidemic in Madrid in 1834 and centers around a serial killer who dismembers girls.

The Planeta prize has been awarded by Spanish publisher Grupo Planeta since 1952 and is the most valuable literary award in the world for an author or book.

Tags: author, Pop Culture

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Written By

Rose Low

Rose Low is a writer based in New York, with a background in social media strategy and reporting. She has a Masters from NYU and a love for romantic comedies. See Full Bio

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