Born in 1923, Vitale is the last surviving member of a Uruguayan art movement known as the “Generation of 45” and currently lives in the United States.
Spain established the Miguel de Cervantes Prize, named after the famous author of 'Don Quixote', in 1975. It is considered to be “the most prestigious and remunerative award given for Spanish-language literature” by the Encyclopedia Britannica.
The jury said Vitale was awarded the prize for her poetry, literary criticisms and translations, adding that her language was “one of the most remarkable and well-known in Spanish poetry, at the same time intellectual and accessible, universal and personal, transparent and profound.”
She is the fifth woman to win the prize.
“I never expected to win the prize, it's absolutely bewildering,” she told AFP. “It's a surprise… an excess of generosity from Spain.