Canadian writer Margaret Atwood has won the 2008 Prince of Asturias Award
for Letters, the jury said Wednesday in Oviedo, northern Spain.
"We decided to bestow the award on Margaret Atwood for her outstanding
literary work that has explored different genres with acuteness and irony,
and because she cleverly assumes the classic tradition, defends women's
dignity and denounces social unfairness," the jury said.
The poet, novelist and literary critic was born in 1939 in Ottawa. She
received international recognition with her novel "The Edible Woman" (1969),
followed by "Surfacing" (1972-1973), "Lady Oracle" (1977), "Life Before Man"
(1980), "Cat's Eye" (1988) and "The Robber Bride" (1993).
Atwood is considered to be the greatest living Canadian writer and one of
the most eminent voices in the current scene. She offers in her novels a
politically committed, critical view of the world and contemporary society,
while revealing extraordinary sensitivity in her copious poetic oeuvre, a
genre which she cultivates with great skill. The plot of her novels usually
focuses on the figure of women.
The literature award attracted 32 candidates from 24 countries this year. It
is one of the eight that the Prince of Asturias Foundation gives out yearly
since 1981. Other categories include scientific research, sports, arts and
humanities. Each carries a 50,000-euro (77,00 U.S. dollars) cash stipend, a
sculpture by Catalan sculptor Joan Miro, a diploma and an insignia.
The awards will be presented in a ceremony presided over by the Prince of
Asturias this fall in Oviedo.