The Princess of Asturias Award for Literature has gone to the Spanish/Cuban novelist and journalist Leonardo Padura. There were 27 nominations from around the world for the prestigous award which has been won in the past by people of the stature of writer John Banville, Leonard Cohen and dramatist Arthur Miller.
The president of the jury, Dario Villanueva Prieto who is the director of the Spanish Academy outlined the reasons for the jury’s choice.
“The vast work of Leonardo Padura, which crosses all genres of prose, highlights a resource which characterizes his literary work and that is the interest in listening to people’s voices and lost stories from others,” he said.
Leonardo Padura, who was born in Havana is perhaps best known in the English speaking world for his quartet of detective novels – The Four Seasons featuring lieutenant Mario Conde.
He started his professional life as a journalist completing his first short story in 1983, he continued for another six years as a journalist reporting on a wide range of cultural and historical topics. It was that work which gave him he believes the necessary experience to embark on his quartet of detective novels.
He once said that the book The Count of Monte Christo was the one novel which changed his life as it turned him into a reader.
He completed his quartet of novels in 1998 and since then his pen has worked across a number of genres including writing movie scripts.
Once asked when he knew he was going to be a writer he said it was when he realised he wasn’t going to get anywhere as a baseball player.