The Fundación José Manuel Lara was created in 1992 with the aim of developing creative, publishing and distribution activities related with cultural contents; organizing and awarding prizes; encouraging all kinds of studies, research and publications related to the social and cultural reality of Andalucía; organising cultural events and contributing towards encouraging reading.
Through it’s own website, fundacionjmlara.es, the Foundation offers comprehensive information on the activities it is running, prizes organised and a detailed list of its newest books.
- Editorial production remains one of the most important activities carried out by the Fundación José Manuel Lara, an activity that has become consolidated through an own label which combines prestige collections – especially that devoted to poetry (Vandalia) and the Biblioteca de Clásicos Andaluces – with others composed of the winning works of the literary awards in which this institution participates and specific publications associated with major cultural landmarks. The Foundation enjoys a significant presence in the national book sector and to date it has published over two hundred and twenty titlesdivulgación a través de la TV, radio e internet, utilizando, para su divulgación, sus propios medios o los pertenecientes a terceros.
Organisation of cultural events
The Foundation’s second major mission is the organisation of events, with the development of a programme of exhibitions related to a great extent, with the world of letters and arts, especially with an Andalusian theme. Drawings from the Museo de Bellas Artes in Cordoba, illustrations from Quijote originating from The Hispanic Society of America and the Calcografía Nacional, as well as an exhibition of unique copies from the Biblioteca Colombina de Sevilla make up part of its exhibitions catalogue, which has also featured photographic exhibitions such as "La Andalucía de Charles Clifford", again in collaboration with The Hispanic Society, in which a hundred images were shown of the route taken by queen Isabel II around the regions of Andalusia and Murcia in 1862, and the exhibition "Una geografía. Ocho viajes andaluces", which this year participated in the Festival Latitudes, a series of photographic exhibitions held in Huelva every year.
The Foundation continues holding series of conferences and seminars, which have allowed it to develop its work and objectives in other fields, especially the research and university spheres. In the last year it has organised conferences to commemorate the birth of Andalusian historian Antonio Domínguez Ortiz, a series that has its precedent in previous series dedicated to the bicentenary of the War of Independence in Andalusia and to major cultural figures or milestones such as Don Juan, Francisco Ayala, Luis Cernuda and the anniversary of El Quijote.
In addition, it has been collaborating for several years with the University of Cádiz, which which it organises the series called “Las dos culturas”, as well as with the El Escorial summer courses of the Complutense University, which this year have paid tribute to Manuel Vázquez Montalbán.
Since its creation, the Foundation has collaborated with many other institutions and organisations, public and private alike, who share the objectives of the conservation, promotion and dissemination of culture in all its manifestations. The Parliament of Andalusia, the Hay Festival, Andalusian town councils, the Fundación Antonio Gala, universities nationwide, financial institutions and media have all joined our new list of collaborators. It is also important to underline that with the newspaper La Razón, the Fundación Lara has held a series of meetings on a cultural theme which have brought together prominent personalities to debate on the current state of Andalusian cinema, the cultural offering in monumental cities, or the world of dance, among other subjects of interest.
Encouraging reading remains as one of the priority objectives of the Fundación José Manuel Lara. Since the year 2001 it has participated in a prominent way at the Seville Book Fair, with the presence of authors, organisation of literary conferences and cycles, and it has also opted to participate in other book fairs, such as the International Book Fair in Guadalajara (Mexico), and fairs in Malaga and Madrid.
In this same sphere of dissemination of books and encouraging reading, the Foundation has donated batches of books composed of around thirty titles to libraries and Andalusian localities with less than 5,000 inhabitants (some 350 institutions, approximately), and has launched the main library in the Seville town of Mairena del Alcor, where the Foundation’s collections have been deposited.
We must not overlook the publication of the magazine Mercurio. Panorama de libros, which has already become a reference point in the national literary sphere. With an average print-run of 50,000 copies, this free publication consists of several fixed sections: new book reviews, reports on aspects related with the world of books and interviews with prominent names in literature as well as special editions and tributes to major personalities in Spanish letters. The magazine has a web portal, www.revistamercurio.es, which facilitates access to and consultation of its most recent editions. Moreover, through its policy of awarding prizes, the Fundación José Manuel Lara carries out a comprehensive campaign of dissemination of Andalusian culture and support for the publishing sector.
Fernando Lara Novel Prize Created in 1996 in memory of Fernando Lara, the late son of Manuel Lara Hernández, who died in 1995, this prize recognises works by more prominent authors as well as those who over time have consolidated their literary career. The prize is organised with Editorial Planeta and is awarded in Seville coinciding with the holding of the Book Fair in the Andalusian capital. The prize money amounts to 120,200 euros and enjoys the collaboration of the Fundación AXA.
Manuel Alvar Prize for Humanistic Studies This prize is awarded to the best study or research work in the field of humanities that has been carried out on an aspect, dimension or personality from culture, especially if the subject is related to Andalusia. Created in the memory of a trustee of this Foundation, the related prize money is 18,000 euros and it is organised jointly with Ibercaja.
Antonio Domínguez Ortiz Biography Prize This award, created also in memory of a trustee of the Fundación José Manuel Lara, is awarded to the best work on the life of a personality whose biography or professional career has meant a contribution to culture or history, especially Andalusian culture or history. With prize money of 18,000 euros, it is also awarded in collaboration with Ibercaja.
Málaga Novel Prize In 2007 an addition to the list of accolades awarded by the Foundation was the Málaga Novel Prize, a competition organised by this Andalusian city’s Municipal Book Institute and which is co-published by the two institutions.