Canadian Jewish Poet Leonard Cohen Wins Top Spanish Prize

Cohen beat a field of 32 from countries around the world to win the Principe de Asturias Foundation prize for authors who do not write in Spanish.

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Leonard Cohen
Leonard CohenCredit: Archive

Canadian Jewish poet, songwriter and novelist Leonard Cohen has 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 writer was one of the most influential of modern times.

The jury citation praised Cohen "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."

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.

The prizes are presented by Crown Prince Felipe in the northern city of Oviedo, capital of the Asturias region.

Cohen is famous for songs such as "Hallelujah", "Suzanne" and "So Long, Marianne." He last performed in Israel in September 2009.

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