Department |BOOKS IN SPANISH
The Premio Alfaguara 2017
The 2017 recipient of the prestigious
Premio Alfaguara literary award, a prize
awarded to a previously unpublished
work written in Spanish, is Ray Loriga of
We talk with Cala about his new book that emphasizes finding a balance in life
By Leylha Ahuile
Ismael Cala: CNN Host
Turned Life Strategist
Despierta con Cala ( Wake Up with Cala), the new book by Ismael Cala, explores the quest for bal- ance in life. Released in March, the book is already #9 on NPD
BookScan’s bestseller list of books in Spanish. In
June of last year, Cala announced his departure
from his television program, Cala Presenta (Cala
Presents), one of the most popular shows on CNN
en Español, which aired in the U.S. and Latin
America. Since leaving CNN, Cala has become a life
strategist and international lecturer. He has continued presenting the segment “Despierta con Cala”
(“Wake up with Cala”) on Despierta América ( Wake
Up, America), which airs on Univision. His latest
book, published by Aguilar, an imprint of Penguin
Random House Grupo Editorial, includes many of
the reflections Cala shares on the show. PW spoke
with Cala from India, where he is guiding a group
on an inspirational tourism trip covering visits to
Delhi, Mumbai, Varanasi, the Taj Mahal, and the
sacred Ganges River.
Since your last book, La vida es una piñata (Life Is a Piñata),
you have left CNN to become a life strategist. Was this
change part of your own awakening and when did this
awakening process begin?
Yes, I have experienced my own awakening throughout the
years. It has been a process of constant learning. Leaving CNN
en Español was part of that process. I felt that it was time to
reinvent myself (again), to try to reach new heights. But as I
look back, I can see that I have always tried to inspire people
through social media, even when I lived in Cuba. Even though
I was not conscious of it, I believe that I was already a life
In your book, Despierta con Cala, you talk
about balancing key aspects of one’s life.
How can others get started?
Despierta con Cala is a book that explores the fundamental aspects of our lives and the search for
balance. I wrote it thinking about those who
believe that they have a long way to travel, those
who came to this world conscious of the responsibility of taking control of their own decisions. I
suggest we transform ourselves into jugglers and
artists, since I see life as the game of constantly walking
a tightrope. If we look down, we feel terrified of the
abyss, as we become aware that we could fall into it.
What do you think has created this imbalance?
Have we become too materialistic?
In the book I discuss the seven pillars of our lives:
mind and spirit, health and body, love and romantic
relationships, family and home, friends and social
life, finances, and time for yourself. Our challenge is
to balance them and transform ourselves into artists.
It is obvious we are living in times of excessive materialism. This is the reason why both in my book and in everything I do, my message is to invest more in life experiences than
in material possessions.
What are you working on now?
At this time I am answering this interview from India, where I
am with an extraordinary group of 50 people to celebrate our
second Cala Mundos (Cala Worlds). In 2017, I will host conscious journeys to places like Tierra Santa, Riviera Maya, and
Costa Rica. We are also planning the Despierta con Cala tour,
which will include conferences in dozens of U.S. and Latin
American cities. I have plenty of ideas for new books, but they
don’t have calendar dates yet. ■
Spain. The announcement was made in
Madrid last month. Loriga won for his
novel Rendición (Surrender), which was
chosen from among 665 manuscripts,
significantly fewer than were submitted
in previous years. Loriga will receive
$175,000 along with the publication
and distribution of the book in Spain,
Latin America, and the U.S. by Alfaguara.
The jury described the novel as “a
Kafkaesque, Orwellian story about
authority and collective manipulation....
Without falling into idealism, and
through a humble, thoughtful voice with
unexpected bursts of humor, the author
constructs a luminous fable about exile,
loss, parenthood, and affection. The plot
of Rendición surprises us on every page