Miguel Barnet is awarded the National Heritage Prize 2023

Miguel Barnet is awarded the National Heritage Prize 2023
Fecha de publicación: 
28 December 2023
Imagen principal: 

Cuban writer and ethnologist Miguel Barnet received on Tuesday the National Cultural Heritage Award 2023 for Lifetime Achievement, a distinction that recognizes his extensive work in research and preservation of identity values. Barnet, the jury acknowledged, received the award for his dedication to the rescue and promotion of Cuba’s heritage and the most autochthonous elements of the nation’s culture.

With his work «Biography of a Maroon», published in 1966, the prominent intellectual gave voice to the more than one million African slaves and forcibly transferred to Cuba, and for the contribution of those who in the continent led the struggles for independence and cultural resistance.

He is also a politician and one of Cuba’s most internationally successful storytellers, and his work has been translated into several languages. In 1994 he won Cuba’s National Literature Prize.

From a very young age he was linked to important personalities of Cuban ethnology, among them, Argeliers León, he also collaborated with Alejo Carpentier in the National Printing House of Cuba and with Nicolás Guillén in the National Union of Writers and Artists of Cuba, of which he is founder and vice-president by election.

Barnet specialized in ethnological research and in aspects of the transculturation of African religions in Cuba and the Caribbean.

He wrote screenplays for several film documentaries, as well as the Cuban feature films «Gallego», based on his novel of the same name, and was co-screenwriter of «La Bella del Alhambra», awarded at the Havana Film Festival and inspired by his novel «Canción de Rachel».

The film received the Goya Award in Spain in 1990 for Best Foreign Spanish Language Film.

He has lectured at universities in Europe, the United States, Latin America and Africa.

Eight other prominent Cuban cultural figures, including film critic Luciano Castillo, director of the Cinemateca de Cuba and nominated by the Cuban Institute of Cinematographic Arts and Industries, were also nominated for the National Cultural Heritage Award.

The news was delivered by the president of the National Council of Cultural Heritage, Sonia Vírgen Pérez, at which time the poet and essayist also evoked the imprint in his work of the founders of Cuban thought, from José Agustín Caballero and Félix Varela to José Martí and Fernando Ortiz.

Barnet recalled Argeliers León, one of his mentors, as well as «the toques, prayers and chants of the practitioners of popular religions and rumberos that he heard as a child in a plot of land in El Vedado,» a press release describes.

As part of his extensive research work, the intellectual also promoted the international program the Slave’s Route, sponsored by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, together with his museum, which is located in the San Severino Castle in the Cuban city of Matanzas.

Add new comment

This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Enter the characters shown in the image.