Canadian novelist Margaret Atwood awarded the Príncipe de Asturias prize for literature
Margaret Atwood, (Ottawa, Canadá, 1939), novelist as well as ecologist, feminist and poet has been awarded the Príncipe de Asturias prize for literature. She has beaten other important novelists – the Albanian Ismail Kadaré, the British novelist Ian McEwan and the Spaniard Juan Goytisolo – who were among the 32 names put forward from 24 countries around the world.
The jury for the prestigious prize justified its decision due to the ‘splendid literary work’ by Atwood, ‘which has explored different genres using both wit and irony and because she has defended the dignity of women and denounced social injustice intelligently in a classic tradition’.
Atwood, who won the Booker Prize in 2000, offers a committed a critical view of the world and contemporary society through her novels while maintaining an enormous sensitivity in her poetry, something which she does very well.
She obtained international recognition with the publication of her novel the Edible Woman (1969) which was followed by Surfacing (1972), Lady Oracle (1976), Life Before Man (1980), Cat’s Eye (1988) and The Robber’s Bride (1993). Central themes in her books usually feature women, maturity and the changes in sexual roles. Her candidature for the Principe de Asturias prize was proposed by Rogelio Blanco, the general director of the Book, Archives, and Libraries of the Spanish Ministry of Culture.
The other candidates for the prize which did not make the shortlist mentioned earlier were Jorge Semprún, Andrés Trapiello, Eduardo Galeano (Urugay), Haruki Murakami (Japan), the poet Alí Ahmad Said (Albania), Ko Un (Korea), Antonio Tabucchi (Italy) and Richard Ford (American).
During the process of selecting the shortlist and ultimately the prize winner the debate over whether only Spanish speaking novelists should be considered arose once again.
The last Spanish speaking novelist to be awarded the Principe de Asturias prize for Literature was the Guatemalan Augusto Monterroso in 2000.
Other Principe de Asturias prizes also awarded this year have been given for International Cooperation, the Arts, Technical and Scientific Research, Communication and Humanities and Social Science. Prizes for Sport and Harmony will be awarded in September.