Carmen Mola was awarded a coveted book prize in Spain without even existing.
When the acclaimed female thriller writer’s name was announced as the winner of a Planeta literary award last weekend, three men took the stage.
Television script writers Agustin Martinez, Jorge Diaz and Antonio Mercero shocked the audience by taking the prize and revealing that they created Mola’s novels together under a pseudonym.
Mola sold over 400,000 books and was famous for writing thrillers that were adapted for TV.
One of Mola’s books, “The Girl,” was included by Spain’s Women’s Institute in a list of books from female authors that “help us understand the reality and experiences of women.”
Many people in Spain knew that Mola worked under a pseudonym, but the author’s website describes her as a university professor in her forties and a mother-of-three who greatly values her privacy.
“I don’t know if the feminine pseudonym sells more than the masculine one, I don’t have the faintest idea, but it doesn’t seem like it to me,” Mercero said in an interview with Spanish newspaper El Pais after the ceremony. “The three of us have not hidden behind a woman, but behind a name.”
Beatriz Gimeno, a writer and former head of the Women’s Institute called the three men “scammers” in a tweet.
It’s not just the name – it’s the fake profile that they’ve used to take in readers and journalists,” she tweeted.
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