Canada's Leonard Cohen wins Spanish literary prize

Wed Jun 1, 2011 11:55am EDT
 
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MADRID (Reuters) - Canada's Leonard Cohen won Spain's top award for authors who do not write in Spanish for his decades of exploring great human issues in song and verse.

The jury of the Principe de Asturias Foundation said the 76-year-old singer-songwriter, poet and novelist was one of the most influential writers of modern times.

He won "for a literary work which has influenced three generations around the world by creating a sentimental imagery in which poetry and music are melded into an unchanging worth," the jury citation read.

Cohen beat a field of 32 from countries including Argentina, France, Austria, Mexico and Britain. Past winners include German Nobel Laureate Guenther Grass and U.S. playwright Arthur Miller.

The Asturias Foundation awards eight prizes every year for fields ranging from science to the arts. Winners are due to collect 50,000 euros ($71,870) each at the awards ceremony in October, and a statue by catalan artist Joan Miro.

(Reporting by Raquel Castillo; writing by Martin Roberts)

 
<p>Canadian singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen (L) performs at the Coachella Music Festival in Indio, California April 17, 2009. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni</p>