One of Spain’s Most Celebrated Female Authors Turned Out to Actually Be 3 Men

Agustín Martínez, Jorge Díaz and Antonio Mercero came forward after “Carmen Mola” won a coveted €1 million literary prize.
Dipo Faloyin
London, GB
October 18, 2021, 10:58am
Jorge Diaz, Agustin Martinez and Antonio Mercero
Jorge Diaz, Agustin Martinez and Antonio Mercero. Photo: Kike Rincon/Europa Press via Getty Images

One of Spain’s most popular female authors is actually three men. 

The revelation came after “Carmen Mola,” who has sold over 400,000 books, won the €1 million (about £845,000) Planeta literary prize and writers Agustín Martínez, Jorge Díaz and Antonio Mercero came forward to collect the coveted award. 

It was widely known in Spain that Mola – famous for penning thrillers that have been adapted for TV – was working under a pseudonym, but the author’s website promoted the writer as a 40-something university professor and mother-of-three who greatly valued her privacy. Spain’s Women’s Institute has included Mola’s “The Girl” in a list of books from female authors that “help us understand the reality and the experiences of women.”

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In reality, it was a fictional bio concocted to protect the anonymity of three established male authors and scriptwriters. 

In an interview with Spanish newspaper El Pais following the ceremony, Martínez, Díaz and Mercero denied that they made a conscious effort to hide behind a woman’s name to sell books. They chose the name Carmen after “a minute and a half of throwing around names of men, women, foreigners,” Martinez claimed. 

“I don't know if the feminine pseudonym sells more than the masculine one, I don't have the faintest idea, but it doesn't seem like it to me,” Mercero added. "The three of us have not hidden behind a woman, but behind a name.”

The authors also claimed that if they knew their trilogy would become so successful they would have chosen a more appropriate pseudonym, but before they knew what was happening, Díaz said, “Carmen Mola” had “turned into a wave we could not get out of.”

As the authors claim they did not put much thought behind creating Mola, many within Spain’s literary world see years of a deliberate campaign to use Mola’s peculiar biography to sell books. “It’s not just the name – it’s the fake profile that they’ve used to take in readers and journalists,” tweeted the writer and former head of the Women’s Institute Beatriz Gimeno. “They are scammers.”