Grupo Planeta

Sección Fundación JM Lara

Promotion of Hispanic culture with the accent on Andalusia

The Fundación José Manuel Lara was created in 1992 to develop cultural activities of creation, publishing and communication, to award literary and essay prizes, to contribute towards encouraging reading, to organise cultural events and to promote all kinds of studies, research and publications that are related with the social and cultural reality of Andalusia.

Through its own website, fundacionjmlara.es, the Foundation offers comprehensive information on the activities that it undertakes, the prizes it organizes and a detailed list of all its newest book and publishing releases.

Publishing activity

The publishing project of the Fundación José Manuel Lara, which commenced in 2002, reflects a commitment to society, authors and culture combined with a wish to disseminate the cultural heritage of Andalusia and, especially, its literature. The Vandalia collection disseminates contemporary poetry with criteria of quality and openness towards all the aesthetic currents of Andalusian poets, without overlooking works by Spanish writers from other regions or by Latin American authors. Biblioteca de Clásicos Andaluces offers a selection of the literary heritage of Andalusia in critical editions with strict philological standards. Meanwhile Ciudades Andaluzas en la Historia rescues, with literary expertise and a desire to inform, studies on the most important Andalusian towns and cities at their time of greatest historical significance. Furthermore, the Foundation has an extensive catalogue of publications on artistic and literary research, dissemination and creation produced by prestigious specialists. In addition, the winning works of the different literary prizes organised by the Foundation go on to form part of its publishing catalogue.

Prizes

The Foundation organises various prizes, such as the Manuel Alvar Prize for Humanistic Studies and the Antonio Domínguez Ortiz Prize for Biographies, which it awards jointly with the Fundación Cajasol. With Editorial Planeta, it awards the Fernando Lara Prize for Novels; together with the Málaga Municipal Book Institute, the Málaga Prize for Novels, and with the City Council of Seville, the Hermanos Machado Ibero-American Prize for Poetry.

Encouraging reading, libraries and Mercurio magazine

The encouragement of reading is one of the priority objectives of the Fundación José Manuel Lara. In addition to a prominent presence at the Seville Book Fair, with the presence of authors and literary lectures, it also participates in other events such as the International Book Fair of Guadalajara (Mexico) or the book fairs of Madrid, of Málaga and of other cities in Andalusia.

Meetings with writers, presentations of literary new releases and participation in lecture sessions and courses – such as the Hay Festival and university summer courses – have also favoured greater closeness between the world of books and their readers. It is important to mention the activities designed for a younger audience, such as the Mi libro preferido competition, which is held at state secondary schools all over Andalusia, and the reading encouragement programme implemented at education centres located in neighbourhoods at risk of social exclusion. 

The Foundation has donated sets of thirty titles to libraries in Andalusian localities with fewer than 5,000 inhabitants and has supported the setting up of the José Manuel Lara Public Library of Mairena del Alcor in Seville, which since 2009 has held the Foundation’s library collections, as well as hosting writing workshops and reading clubs. Furthermore, it organises a complete programme of activities at the Editor José Manuel Lara Library in Alcalá de Guadaíra, and has participated in the creation of the Centro de la Cultura Escuelas Nuevas in El Pedroso, also in the province of Seville. 

With an average print run of 50,000 copies, free distribution and its own website, the magazine Mercurio has become a reference point in the national literary arena. In addition to reviews of new book releases, it includes reports on the books sector, along with interviews and recognitions of prominent names in Spanish letters. Its website, www.revistamercurio.es, facilitates access to and consultation of its latest issues.

Exhibitions and cultural events 

The Foundation organises or collaborates in the organisation of exhibitions with themes especially related with Andalusia and with the world of letters and arts. Among these, highlights have included exhibitions on the collection of drawings held by the Fine Arts Museum of Córdoba and another on unique rare books from the Biblioteca Colombina in Seville. Among the photographic exhibitions, it is worth highlighting The Andalusia of Charles Clifford, with images originating from The Hispanic Society of America which show the tour of Isabel II around the regions of Andalusia and Murcia in 1862; the exhibition with catalogue produced in house of Una geografía. Ocho viajes andaluces, and the exhibition on the brilliant photographer Rafael Sanz Lobato, in collaboration with Seville City Council.

A series of lectures, conferences and seminars – whether organised in house or in collaboration – have allowed us to remember and highlight figures such as Andalusian historian Antonio Domínguez Ortiz and writers Francisco Ayala, Luis Cernuda, Jaime Gil de Biedma and Manuel Vázquez Montalbán, as well as commemorate events such as the bicentenary of the Peninsular War in Andalusia and the holding in Cádiz of a special session of the Spanish Royal Academy. Furthermore, it organises Poesía en Vandalia, an annual meeting which brings poets from all over Spain to Seville. Its collaboration with other institutions and public and private organisations, as well as financial institutions and the media, allows the Foundation to expand its activities in many events with a cultural theme.

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