US author Siri Hustvedt wins top Spanish award

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US writer Siri Hustvedt on Wednesday was awarded Spain’s prestigious Princess of Asturias prize for literature for her work which the jury said was among “the most ambitious on today’s literary scene.”

“Employing a feminist perspective, she addresses a variety of the facets that sketch a convulsive, disconcerting present. Furthermore, she does so using fiction and the essay, as an intellectual concerned with the fundamental issues of contemporary ethics,” the jury said in a statement.

The 64-year-old is the author of a book of poetry, three collections of essays, a work of non-fiction, and six novels, including the international bestsellers “What I Loved” and “The Summer without Men.” Her works have been translated into over 30 languages.

“I’m a little nuts, I am working like a maniac to get it in before I die,” she said during an interview published in March in British daily newspaper The Guardian.

Born in a small town in southern Minnesota to a Norwegian mother and an American father, Hustvedt has said she caught the writing bug as a teenager when her family spent a summer in Reykjavik, Iceland and she spent her days reading the classics.

“I feel really happy and honoured to receive the Princess of Asturias Award. I also feel surprise, amazement and gratitude,” she said in a statement.

Hustvedt is married to US writer Paul Auster, who she met in 1981 at a poetry reading in New York. Auster won the Asturias prize for literature in 2006. Other recent winners of the award include US novelist Richard Ford, Israeli writer Amos Oz and Canada’s Margaret Atwood.

The $56 000 award for literature is one of eight prizes handed out yearly by a foundation named after Spain’s Princess Leonor.

Other categories include the arts; British theatre director Peter Brook won it this year, sports and international cooperation.

The awards are handed out in October in the northern Spanish city of Oviedo, capital of the Asturias region, in a ceremony broadcast live in Spanish television.

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