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Thursday, 17 May, 2001, 14:02 GMT 15:02 UK
Nobel laureate denies plagarism
Camilo Josť Cela
Cela refused to comment outside the court
Nobel-winning novelist Camilo Josť Cela has denied accusations that he plagarised a little-known work in order to win a lucrative literary prize.

Fellow Spanish writer Carmen Formoso Lapido has taken Cela to court on the grounds that a novel she wrote in the 1990s is the basis for Cela's book La Cruz de San Andres (The Cross of St Andrew).

La Cruz de San Andres won Spain's top literary award - the Planeta - in 1994.

Formosa, a retired teacher, claims that she entered her novel Carmen, Carmela, Carmina for the same prize.

Cela bibliography in translation
Pascual Duarte's Family, 1942
The Hive, 1951
Mrs Caldwell Speaks to her Son, 1953
Journey to the Alcarria, 1948
Avila, 1952
Madrid, 1967

Her prosecution claims Planeta, the publishing company which runs the prize, passed on the book to Cela to help him with his novel.

'Fallacy'

Barcelona based Planeta admits that there are siimilarities in the main plotlines of the books.

Both describe how practising black magic affects the lives of a group of women in Franco-era Spain.

But they deny that this constitutes plagarism.

Cela, speaking outside the Barcelona court where the trial is taking place, described the accusations as a "fallacy".

The complaint was originally rejected by a low level court but on appeal the Barcelona Provincial Court agreed to process it saying they detected "evidence of crime".

Cela, who is now 84, was born in Galicia in northwest Spain.

He fought and was badly wounded in the Spanish civil war, an experience that is said to colour his writing.

The novel that made is his name is The Family of Pascual Duarte, published in 1942, a powerful, sometimes gruesome book.

It was censored and banned in Franco's Spain but is one of the best known works of Spanish literature.

Cela won the Nobel prize for literature in 1989.

He now lives in Guadalajara, a small town 55 km northeast of Madrid.

Cela has published some 70 books, including ten novels, about 20 collections of stories, travel writing and essays.

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