Rogelio Rodriguez, 74, has won Cuba’s 2020 National Book Critics Circle Award for a book that examines Chinese influence on Cuban literature.

Published under the title

The Chinese Trace in the Cuban Literature

, Rodriguez’s award-winning work provides readers with an in-depth analysis on how novels portray China’s intangible cultural heritage like

My Uncle, the Employee

by Ramon Meza, and

Paradiso

by Jose Lezama Lima.

The author, also president of the Cuban Academy of the Spanish Language and senior professor at the University of Havana, said “Chinese descendants have substantially contributed to enhancing historical links that unite the two countries.”

His literary essays have gained popularity among writers, critics and university students interested in getting insights into different processes and tendencies in the history of the island’s national literature.

“Our literature has not only portrayed China through literary characters and symbols but also through a fluent dialogue with Chinese customs and traditions embedded in the very heart of the Cuban people,” he said.

He also praised the “very positive” steps China has taken to promote Spanish language learning among its population as a “clear proof of Chinese government’s will to strengthen bilateral relations with Latin America and Caribbean countries.”

“Cuba could become a platform to increase dialogue between Chinese people and the Spanish speaking world,” he said.

“I have never been there but I would love to,” said Rodriguez.

An author of a dozen books and a columnist for national and international magazines, he has also done research on exchanges between Chinese and Cuban people by late 1990s.

The writer is now working on a reviewed edition of his book, which will include new findings of the study he has conducted while sheltering in place during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hosted by the Cuban Book Institute, the contest for the National Book Critics Circle Award is held annually to recognize the most relevant literary works released by the country’s publishing houses throughout the year and to promote creative writing nationwide.

This year’s book award ceremony will take place during the 30th Havana International Book Fair this year, though the date for the event has yet to be confirmed.