Winners of Spain's 2021 Premio Planeta award, who go by the pseudonym Carmen Mola
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The Spanish literary realm got an unexpected jolt Friday after the winner of the coveted Planeta literary book prize, Carmen Mola, was forced to come out and reveal her true identity to be a pseudonym under the guise of three men.

According to The Guardian, the famed Spanish thriller writer, known for her ultra-violent crime stories has been compared to Italy’s acclaimed novelist Elena Ferrante. The famed crime author was awarded the esteemed Planeta literary prize for her book titled “The Beast”.

Much to the shock of guests during the glitzy event that was attended by Spain’s King Felipe and Queen Letizia, television scriptwriters Antonio Mercero, Agustin Martinez and Jorge Diaz took to the stage to claim the prize and revealed their identity. The trio, who are in their 40s and 50s, have also published novels under their real names and have worked with a few TV series including “Blind Date” and “Central Hospital”.

When they came together as Carmen Mola, they presented author as a married university professor who lives with her husband and children in Madrid. In the author’s official website, Mola is portrayed with a series of photos of an unidentified woman. The writers said they chose to remain anonymous in their bid to “protect a settled life that has nothing to do with literature”.

Not all literary figures were thrilled about the shocking revelation. Self-described writer-feminist and former director of the Women’s Institute of Spain, Beatriz Gimeno criticized the male writers on social media. Gimeno labeled the men as scammers as she pounded on the fact that they consciously built up a fake profile to lure readers and journalists.

When asked if they chose a female pseudonym to help sell the books, Mercero replied, “We didn’t hide behind a woman, we hid behind a name. I don’t know if a female pseudonym would sell more than a male one, I don’t have the faintest idea, but I doubt it.”

However, Spanish paper El Mundo was quick to notice the marketing genius behind a mother of three, who teaches algebra classes and writes macabre novels in between her free time.

The winning book is about a serial killer who dismembers his young female victims during the a cholera epidemic set in 1834. It is not the usual Mola literary fare that revolved around the character of female detective Elena Blanco who is described by its publisher, Penguin Random House, as a "peculiar and lonely woman" who was very much into grappa, karaoke and sex in SUVs.

Winners of Spain's 2021 Premio Planeta award Jorge Diaz, Antonio Mercero and Augustin Martinez
(From 2nd-L) Winners of Spain's 2021 Premio Planeta award Jorge Diaz, Antonio Mercero and Augustin Martinez receive the trophy for their novel "La Bestia", written under the pseudonym Carmen Mola during the ceremony of the 70th edition of the "Premio Planeta" award, in Barcelona on October 15, 2021. Photo by Josep Lago/AFP via Getty Images

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