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Chilean poet awarded prestigious Spanish literature prize

(Xinhua)

08:20, April 25, 2012

MADRID, April 23 (Xinhua) -- Felipe de Bourbon, the Prince of Asturias, on Monday presented the prestigious Premio Cervantes literature prize to Chilean poet Nicanor Parra in a ceremony held in the University of Alcala de Henares near Madrid.

Parra, 97, won the award for his "life dedicated to poetry, and the creation and investigation of new poetic language." Since he was unable to travel and collect the award in person, it was received by his grandson Cristobal Ugarte.

Parra is the son of a peasant mother and a father who was a professor and musician. After initially teachings maths, at age 30, he began to dedicate his life to writing. He is thought of as the creator of "anti-poetry," publishing numerous works and also being shortlisted on more than one occasion for the Nobel Prize in literature.

The Premio Cervantes literature prize commemorates the day Cervantes, who wrote Spain's most famous novel Don Quijote, died. Coincidentally, it is the same day the famous English playwright William Shakespeare died.

The award coincides with the celebration of Book Day in Spain. April 23 is also St George's Day or San Jordi in Catalonia. In the Catalan region of north-east Spain, there is a tradition of presenting a book and a red rose on this day.

This year's award was presented by Prince Felipe since his father King Juan Carlos II is recovering from a hip replacement operation after a controversial hunting trip to Botswana.

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