Your Source for NPR News & Music
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Carmen Mola was a popular Spanish novelist. Three male writers made her up

Sometimes the truth is stranger than fiction. It certainly was in Spain last week.

During an event to award the country's prestigious Planeta literary prize, the famed but reclusive crime novelist Carmen Mola was actually revealed to be the creation of three male writers.

Antonio Mercero, Agustín Martínez and Jorge Díaz not only created a series of highly successful novels in Mora's name, but also invented the author herself.

Mola — or rather the trio behind the pseudonym — won the prize for the novel The Beast, though the author is perhaps best known for the Inspector Elena Blanco series. The award for first prize was 1 million euros, or roughly $1.2 million.

Mola had been called the "Spanish Elena Ferrante," a reference to the pseudonymous and highly popular Italian author behind My Brilliant Friend and other novels. The publisher Penguin Random House described Mola as "crime literature's boldest and most enigmatic author."

But the three writers decided it was time to come clean that Mola was a fiction herself.

"Carmen Mola is not, like all the lies we've been telling, a university professor," Díaz said, according to a report in the Financial Times. "We are three friends who one day four years ago decided to combine our talent to tell a story."

Mercero, Martínez and Díaz are TV screenwriters, the Spanish newspaper El Mundo reported.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit