Irene Solà’s “When I Sing, Mountains Dance” wins Nota Bene Prize for Catalan Literature

Irene Solà’s novel When I Sing, Mountains Dance has won the 2023 Nota Bene Prize, a £1,500 prize for books that have received organic, word-of-mouth recognition from readers. 

The novel, translated from Catalan by Mara Faye Lethem, is described as an “experimental and lyrical exploration of sorrow, and a paean to Catalan culture and landscapes”.

The judging panel, which included authors Kit de Waal and Nadifa Mohamed, praised the book’s “ingenuity, lyricism, and innovative style”. They said: “This is a novel that will stay with you long after you finish reading it. It is a powerful and moving exploration of grief, loss, and the power of nature.”

Solà is a Catalan writer who is known for her experimental and lyrical style. Her previous novels include The Angels of Fire and The Book of Salt. She is also a playwright and screenwriter.

The Nota Bene Prize is awarded by the independent bookstore chain Wordery. It was founded in 2021 to celebrate books that have been “discovered and loved by readers”.

In a statement, Solà said: “I am delighted that When I Sing, Mountains Dance has been awarded the Nota Bene Prize 2023. I was living in London when I wrote this novel, so this prize feels very special.”

She added: “I hope that this prize will help to introduce more people to Catalan literature.”

The book is available to buy from Wordery and other retailers.


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