The poetry book Isoñil ja'al/ Danza bajo la lluvia , (Dance In The Rain) written in ch’ol by poet Juana Karen Peñate Montejo, won the Indigenous Literature of America Award 2020 (PLIA) that has been granted to a woman for the second year in a row.

“I feel really moved because this prize represents the reappraisal of Chol culture,” said the winner, who thanked her ancestors and recognized that her journey as a writer has been difficult because of being a woman and mainly because of her indigenous origin.

“As indigenous people, we are considered as part of the country’s decline; now, we are being given the chance to show women can contribute through writing, arts, music, and dance,” she added.

Moreover, she mentioned that “ women have contributed to countless actions to improve the country; we have done many activities without recognition or visibility in the world, we only need a space to make ourselves known.”


The award will be presented in the frame of the Guadalajara’s International Book Festival on December 4 at 17:00.

“It’s a poetry book that extols the pain left by death but also offers nods to life through a subtle poetic description. Dance in the rain is a revelation in poetry written in indigenous languages,” said the jury, that was comprised by Susana Bautista Cruz and Alejandro Sergio Aguilar.

The objective of the PLIA consists of recognizing and stimulating the literary creation of writers in indigenous languages . “We are interested in supporting initiatives that enrich cultural life and the promotion of the reading of indigenous languages,” said the PLIA’s president, poet Gabriel Pacheco Salvador, and added that “it also contributes to the conservation and promotion of the legacy and cultural wealth of indigenous peoples in the Americas.”

The eighth edition of the PLIA received 60 works, 23 of which belong to women and 37 to men from nine countries such as Peru, Colombia, Argentina, Guatemala, and Mexico.

Pacheco Salvador reminded that last year, the UN declared 2019 as the International Year of Indigenous Languages and proclaimed 2022-2032 the International Decade of Indigenous Languages “in order to draw attention to the grave loss of indigenous languages and the need to revive and promote them.”


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