Juan Manuel de Prada is a contemporary Spanish journalist who has become a controversial figure in the Spanish press for his strong, traditional stance on social issues in Spain. He is also a prolific author, having written a series of novels and stories, winning him critical acclaim across the world.
Juan Manuel de Prada was born in Baracaldo, Vizcaya in 1970, but spent the majority of his childhood in Zamora, which was the native territory of his parents. According to the writer in various articles and interviews, his grandfather played an important role in his education during these years. It was he who taught Juan to read and write at an early age, before he even went to school. Along with his grandfather, Juan Manuel de Prada would often go to the public library in Zamora, where he began to get a taste for literature and writing. At this early age he was reading an eclectic mix of styles and authors, from Marcel Proust to Agatha Christie.
At the age of 16, Juan Manuel de Prada wrote his first story, El diablo de los destellos de nácar, inspired by a trip he made with his grandfather, for which he won the second prize in a literature contest. In the following years, de Prada continued to write hundreds of short stories, many of which received prizes in national competitions. It was also during this time that he began translating a lot of pulp fiction novels, of which he had always been a fan.
De Prada then went to study Law at the University of Salamanca, but he always maintained his literary focus, and has in fact never worked as a lawyer. His first notable work was Coños from 1994, which was an unusual book of lyrical prose, written to pay homage to Senos by Gómez de la Serna.
The following year, Juan Manuel de Prada published El silencio del patinador, which was a collection of 12 brief stories that was very distinct from the other contemporary Spanish writers of the time. The last story of the book, Gálvez, was the starting point for de Prada's ambitious novel, Las máscaras del héroe (1996). For this novel, de Prada used a lot of literary sources and references in order to recreate Spanish bohemia from the beginning of the 20th century. His next novel, La tempestad would follow in 1997, and would win the Premio Planeta.
In 1998, the magazine, 'The New Yorker', selected Juan Manuel de Prada as one of the six most important European authors under the age of 35. From then on, de Prada has continued to write novels and stories, and has even started writing a graphic novel with Alfonso Azpiri called Penúltima Sangre.
In terms of his career in contemporary Spanish journalism, de Prada spent many years carrying out interviews with important Spanish writers, most of which were published in the book Penúltimas resistencias. Just some of the people he interviewed were Camilo José Cela, Antonio Buero Vallejo, Francisco Nieva, and Arturo Pérez-Reverte.
He also wrote for a short time for the Spanish newspaper, 'El Mundo', as well as writing for the paper 'ABC' and having a column in the magazine 'XLSemanal' called Animales de compañía. From 2007 to 2009, de Prada worked in radio, collaborating with various DJs on the channel 'Onda Cero', before getting his own opinion sections in various morning programs. He has also worked in television, directing and presenting the cultural debate program, Lágrimas en la lluvia, in 2010.
Over the years, the journalistic works of Juan Manuel de Prada have been awarded with many prizes such as the Mariano de Cavia Prize in 2006 for his work at 'ABC' and Joaquín Romero Murube Prize in 2008 for the article Resucitar en Sevilla, among many others. Futhermore, his articles have been collected in various books, meaning that you will be able to pick them up from a book shop if you ever visit Spain. He has also won many other prizes for his novels and stories.
In his journalistic articles, De Prada generally writes in a traditionalist and conservative style, and passionately defends the point of view of the Catholic Church when it comes to issues like abortion, euthanasia and homosexual marriage. He is critical of liberalism and the alienation of the individual in terms of post-modernity and capitalism. His strong stance on issues like this has made him a controversial figure in the world of contemporary Spanish journalism, but also a favorite for those who study Spanish abroad or in Spain and want to find some traditionalist views on these issues for essays.