Barcelona (AFP)

Spanish writer Javier Cercas on Tuesday won the 68th Planeta Prize, the most richly endowed prize for literature in the Spanish language, for his novel "Terra Alta", reporting on the investigation of a police officer in Catalonia after the deadly attacks on August 2017.

This novel "tries to be the epic of a man in search of his place in the world", explains the author, who preceded his compatriot Manuel Vilas and his novel "Alegria".

In "Terra Alta", the main character is Melchor Marin, a former detective who became a hero during the double Islamist attack on the car ram - which left 15 dead and more than 120 wounded on 17 and 18 August 2017 in Barcelona and Cambrils - and who must solve a triple homicide.

"The novel tries to be a reflection on some issues that interest me and which, unfortunately, are very fashionable lately: the value of law, the possibility of justice, the legitimacy of revenge ..." said Javier Cercas at the award ceremony in Barcelona.

At the same time, the center of the capital of Catalonia was on Tuesday night the scene of urban guerrilla scenes on the second day of protests against the conviction of nine separatist leaders for their role in the 2017 secession attempt.

The political situation in Catalonia is present in the background of the story of Javier Cercas, who is personally very critical of the Catalan independence movement.

The mix between reality and fiction is one of the distinctive features of the work of this writer born in Extremadura, a region in southwestern Spain, who has since grown to four years old in Girona, bastion of Catalan nationalism.

His novels, translated into some thirty languages, have been widely acclaimed internationally. In 2001, he gained notoriety with his fourth novel "Soldiers of Salamis", adapted to the cinema and recounting his investigation of the writer Rafael Sanchez Mazas, one of the founders of the Falange, who escaped the firing squad of the troops defeated republicans who fled to the French border during the Spanish Civil War.

His novel "Anatomy of a moment" was dedicated "Book of the year 2009" by the newspaper El Pais.

Last year, this prize, worth 601,000 euros, was awarded to Santiago Posteguillo with the novel "Yo, Julia", based on the life of the Roman empress Julia Domna.

This year, 564 manuscripts, the majority of which came from Spain, were in the running. Famous Planeta laureates include Peruvian Nobel laureate Mario Vargas Llosa.

© 2019 AFP