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Time Out to Celebrate Art

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Yesterday was a road-trip day. Two hours to Pinar del Rio and returning at night on the asphalt highway that separates that city and noisy Havana. The wind blowing in the window tangling my hair, the wrenching of my neck every time the car hit a pothole, and the fright of that the dark, wet highway, dotted with police checkpoints. But these were only temporary discomforts, forgotten when I recall Katrina's patio packed with members and friends of the magazine Coexistence. Last night they announced the results of the contest organized by that publication, which awarded prizes in the categories of essay, audiovisual script, poetry, fiction and photography.

Reinaldo and I were part of the jury, along with Angel Santiesteban, and Orlando Pardo Lazo. In the afternoon we deliberated over the texts and images we had been evaluating separately for weeks, some of them coming under pseudonyms taken from Greek mythology. When we opened the envelope with the real names of the contestants. We were happy to know that among the winners were not only well-known authors, but young people as well who, for the first time, had submitted their work in a contest. Around nine at night we announced the winners, in the only piece of patio that Urban Reform hadn't confiscated from Karina's family. In front of the wall built months ago by the administrators, phrases with the character of a chisel rang out, like a drill that can go through any wall. For a couple of hours it was as if the ugly wall of bricks and sheets of zinc wasn't there at all, as if we had razed it with our words.

Winners of the Coexistence contest:

Best Book of Stories: Francis Sanchez Rodriguez for The Exit.
Best Essay: Dimas Castellanos Marti for Utopia, Challenges and Difficulties in Today's Cuba.
Best Book of Poetry: Pedro Lazaro Martinez Martinez for This is not a poetic art...
Best Audiovisual Script: Henry Constantin Ferreiro for When the Other World Ends.
Best Photographic Triptych: Angel Martinez Capote for Impotence.