The Paraninfo


Plaza de Cervantes

2.1.3 Cervantes Prize for Hispanic Literature

The annual awarding of the Premio Cervantes, the Spanish literary equivalent of the Nobel Prize, takes place in the Paraninfo of the old Complutense University on the 23 of April, the birthday of native son Miguel de Cervantes.

On this occasion, the old city dresses up to receive illustrious cultural representatives from Spain and Latin America in the most important holiday dedicated to books and reading –a celebration of a common language, Spain’s greatest cultural legacy.

Starting with the first winner of the Cervantes Prize, poet Jorge Guillén in 1976, until 1998, when the winner was Cuban writer Cuillermo Cabrera Infante, many illustrious writers have been so distinguished, among them Jorge Luis Borges, Rafael Alberti, Octavio Paz, Camilo José Cela, and Francisco Ayala.

The stately old building is dressed up to relive old glories, when its classrooms were filled with the brightest lights of the Spanish language and literature.

In this way, Alcalá de Henares has become the capital of the language, a well-deserved recognition for its invaluable contribution oto world literature as the cradle of one of the most illustrious writers –along with Shakespeare- of all time, the unforgettable author of the immortal Don Quijote de la Mancha, Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra.


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