The Kingdom of Redonda

Redonda is a tiny, uninhabited island in the Caribbean. Fantasy author M.P. Shiel claimed that his father, Matthew Dowdy Shiell, arranged for his first male child to be crowned King of Redonda. Queen Victoria supposedly allowed him to use the title of king so long as the kingdom did not secede. The kingship passed eventually to poet John Gawsworth, who sold it several times. When Javier Marias, the Spanish author, portrayed Gawsworth in a positive light in his novel All Souls, one reigning king, Jon Wynne-Tyson, abdicated and bestowed the kingship on Marias.

Marias has proven a delightful and opportunistic monarch. His small publishing outfit is called Reino de Redonda, and he has bestowed titles on the following personages:

Pedro Almodóvar (Duke of Trémula), António Lobo Antunes (Duke of Cocodrilos), John Ashbery (Duke of Convexo), Pierre Bourdieu (Duke of Desarraigo), William Boyd (Duke of Brazzaville), Michel Braudeau (Duke of Miranda), A.S. Byatt (Duchess of Morpho Eugenia), Guillermo Cabrera Infante (Duke of Tigres), Pietro Citati (Duke of Remonstranza), Francis Ford Coppola (Duke of Megalópolis), Agustín Díaz Yanes (Duke of Michelín), Roger Dobson (Duke of Bridaespuela), Frank Gehry (Duke of Nervión), Francis Haskell (Duke of Sommariva), Eduardo Mendoza (Duke of Isla Larga), Ian Michael (Duke of Bernal), Arturo Pérez-Reverte (Duke of Corso), Francisco Rico (Duke of Parezzo), Sir Peter Russell (Duke of Plazatoro), Fernando Savater (Duke of Caronte), W. G. Sebald (Duke of Vértigo), Luis Antonio de Villena (Duke of Malmundo), and Juan Villoro (Duke of Nochevieja).

The aforegoing dukes and duchesses judge an annual literary prize. Past winners (who receive money and a duchy) include: J.M. Coetzee (Duke of Deshonra), Alice Munro (Duchess of Ontario), and Ray Bradbury (Duke of Diente de Leon).