An acclaimed female author from Spain was recently revealed to be three men writing under a pseudonym. One of Spain's most popular crime writers, Carmen Mola, was awarded a million euros for winning the 2021 Premio Planeta literary prize. But when her name was announced at the glitzy awards ceremony on Friday, three men went onstage to receive the prize, reports The Guardian.
Jorge Diaz, Agustin Martinez, and Antonio Mercero are all accomplished writers in their own right. The three men, who have worked as scriptwriters for several television shows, came together to write novels under the pseudonym Carmen Mola.
The three deny that they chose a female pseudonym in order to sell more books. "We didn't hide behind a woman, we hid behind a name," Mr Mercero told a Spanish newspaper, according to The Wrap. "I don't know if a female pseudonym would sell more than a male one, I don't have the faintest idea, but I doubt it."
The three presented Ms Mola as a mother of three and a university professor who wrote violent, grim books in her free time. The contrast between her personal life and public persona contributed to publicity for her books, Spanish media observed. "It hasn't escaped anyone's notice that the idea of a university professor and mother of three, who taught algebra classes in the morning then wrote ultra-violent, macabre novels in scraps of free time in the afternoon, made for a great marketing operation," Spanish paper El Mundo said in an article.
Critics of Jorge Diaz, Agustin Martinez, and Antonio Mercero have pointed out that the three used a female front for years, even giving interviews under the name.
"Beyond the use of a female pseudonym, these guys have been answering interviews for years," tweeted former Head of the Women's Institute Beatriz Gimeno. "It is not only the name, it is the fake profile with which it has taken readers and journalists. They are scammers."