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This year's sixth Prince of Asturias prizewinner, for letters, is Canadian Margaret Atwood.

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This year's sixth Prince of Asturias prizewinner, for letters, is Canadian Margaret Atwood.

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In the twenty eight years of the Asturias prize it has been won by writers like Eco, Sontag, Arthur Miller or Fuentes, Grass, Lessing, and Vargos Llosa to name a few.

It’s exhalted company, and along with the prestige of an award in the gift of Spain’s Crown Prince Felipé goes a Jean Miro statue and fifty thousand euros.

Margaret Atwood was born in nineteen thirty nine and began writing full time in nineteen seventy two, three years after “The Edible woman” brought her international renown.

Her novels are very filmable, but no-one would accuse “The handmaid’s tale” or “The blind assasin” of being shallow reads, and she may even be remembered more for her poetry, which she has written since her nineteenth year.

Atwood is a prolific writer who rarely seems to flag, and in recent years in collections like “Morning in the burned house” she’s looked at the clash of Canada’s cultures and languages with the same energy and insight that she’s previously used on individuals, and men and women.