US novelist Richard Ford wins prestigious Spanish prize

Fiona Govan
Fiona Govan - [email protected] • 15 Jun, 2016 Updated Wed 15 Jun 2016 12:20 CEST
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American novelist Richard Ford has been awarded Spain's top literature prize.


The author of the Frank Bascombe series (The Sportswriter, Independence Day and The Lay of the Land, Let Me Be Frank With You) can now add The Princess of Asturias prize to his Pulitzer and Faulkner.

The 62-year-old from Mississippi was announced as the winner of Spain’s most prestigious award on Wednesday by the jury in Oviedo.

He follows in the footsteps of John Banville, Philip Roth, Leonard Cohen, Margaret Attwood and Doris Lessing, to name but a few in the illustrious list of laureates.

"Considered by some the rightful heir to Hemingway, influenced –as he himself has acknowledged– by Faulkner and rated by Raymond Carver the best living writer in the USA, he has never accepted his work being classified as 'dirty realism', a branch of minimalism characterized by its tendency towards sobriety, precision and extreme frugality in the use of words in descriptions," said the statement from the Princess of Asturias Foundation.

"Ford does admit, however, that this label has helped him become known in Europe. His characters are often ordinary people living conventional lives who find themselves entangled in complex situations," the statement continued.

"He has consequently been accused of writing pessimistic literature and narrating emotionless stories featuring desolate, hopeless characters. However, he argues that a writer is the fruit of his own experience and that the situations and emotions he is sensitive to become the material he works with."

The award – and €50,000 prize money - will be awarded at a ceremony in Oviedo in October.

Earlier this month it was announced that Hugh Herr, a pioneer of bionic limbs who is himself a double amputee was the winner of the science prize.

While British academic Mary Beard was recognized in the field of Social Sciences.



Fiona Govan 2016/06/15 12:20

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