AN 81-year-old Catalan poet has been awarded Spain’s most prestigious literature prize.
Joan Margarit won the annual Miguel de Cervantes award which has a prize pot of €125,000.
But Margarit may be less than impressed he has won a literature trophy, having previously said ‘?poetry is not literature; it’s another thing.’
The octogenarian poet and architect published his autobiography To have a house you have to win the war earlier this year.
He has described the book as ‘the epilogue of my complete work.’
Announcing the prize winner, Minister of Culture Jose Girao, described Margarit as ‘a great poet in Spanish and Catalan’ who was ‘worthy of the prize.’
The award’s jury said the Catalan poet was deserving of the accolade ‘for his poetic work of deep transcendence and lucid language, always innovative.’
“[His work] has enriched both the Spanish language and the Catalan language and represents the plurality of the peninsular’s culture in one dimensional universal mastery,” it said.
Margarit wrote only in Spanish until 1981, when he switched entirely to Catalan. Since the 1990s he has written in both languages.
Recently, he spoke publicly in support of Catalan autonomy. “It is the only language, or one of the few intellectual languages, ??without a State,” he said.
Margarit will be officially presented with the award on April 23 next year at Alcala University in Madrid.