Spanish novelist wins Asturias prize

Oviedo (Spain), June 6 (IANS/EFE) Spanish novelist Antonio Muñoz Molina has been named as this year’s recipient of Spain’s Prince of Asturias Award for Literature, beating out countryman Luis Goytisolo, Ireland’s John Banville and Japan’s Haruki Murakami.

The 57-year-old writer and former director of the Cervantes Institute in New York was honoured for “the depth and brilliance with which he has narrated relevant fragments of his country’s history, crucial episodes of the contemporary world and meaningful aspects of his personal experience”, the jury said Wednesday.

Muñoz Molina is the author of works including “Invierno en Lisboa” (Winter in Lisbon), which earned him the Critics Award and the National Narrative Prize in 1988; and “El jinete polaco” (The Polish Horseman), for which he was awarded the Planeta Prize and the National Narrative Prize in 1991 and 1992, respectively.

The author, who began his career as a columnist and is a full member of the Royal Spanish Academy, also won France’s Prix Femina for best foreign novel in 1998 for “Plenilunio” (Full Moon).

He became the first Spanish-speaking author to win the Prince of Asturias Award for Literature since Guatemala’s Augusto Monterroso in 2000.

Past winners of this prize include American novelist Philip Roth (2012), Canadian poet and singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen (2011), and late Mexican novelist Carlos Fuentes (1994).

The literature prize was the fifth of eight awards bestowed thus far in 2013.

Earlier this year, the arts prize was conferred on Austrian filmmaker Michael Haneke, the social sciences prize went to Dutch sociologist Saskia Sassen, the communication and humanities award was bestowed on American photographer Annie Leibovitz and the prize for technical and scientific research was awarded to physicists Peter Higgs and François Englert and the European Organization for Nuclear Research.

Along with a cash prize of 50,000 euros (about $65,400) and a sculpture by Joan Miro, each award recipient gets a diploma and an insignia bearing the Prince of Asturias Foundation’s coat of arms.

The prizes, which Spain’s Crown Prince Felipe will hand out at a ceremony in the fall in the northern city of Oviedo, are regarded as the Ibero-American world’s equivalent of the Nobels.



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