/ 18 October 2002

Nobel cheat

The allegations, made by Tomas Garcia Yebra, include not just Cela’s recent works, but stretch back to his early classics. Cela died in January at the age of 85.

Cela’s novels The Cross of Saint Andrew and Mazurka for Two Dead Men, which won him, respectively, Spain’s $390 000 Planeta Prize and Spain’s National Literary Prize, had plots and characters supplied by ghostwriters. Cela then transformed the material into his own prose style. “Cela was a great prose writer with an exquisite style, but plots and arguments were not his strong point,” said Yebra.

Yebra, a journalist, made his discoveries while researching a book on Cela. The Cross of Saint Andrew was the biggest cheat of all, he claims. A storyline and the main characters were lifted from an unpublished novel that was also entered for the competition. — Â