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Romanian poet Ana Blandiana wins 2024 Princess of Asturias Award for Literature

Ana Blandiana looking at window.
Ana Blandiana looking at window. Copyright Por Vioricapatea - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0
Copyright Por Vioricapatea - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0
By Euronews
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In selecting her as the winner the Asturias jury highlighted Ana Blandiana's "indomitable poetry" with which she has shown an "extraordinary capacity for resistance in the face of censorship."

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Ana Blandiana has won the Princess of Asturias Foundation's coveted Literature prize at a ceremony broadcast live from the north-western Spanish town of Oviedo.

The annual award recognises "the work of cultivating and perfecting literary creation in all its genres".

The president of the jury, Santiago Muñoz, declared that Blandiana was selected for being "a radically singular creator", whose writing, "combines transparency and complexity, raises fundamental questions about the existence of human beings in solitude and society in the face of nature and history".

Blandiana, according to the jury, "has shown with her indomitable poetry an extraordinary capacity for resistance in the face of censorship."

Cult status in Europe

Her first book of poems was published in 1964 and she became an established poet in the same decade with the works 'The Vulnerable Heel' and 'The Third Sacrament'.

Blandiana has since developed cult status in Europe and her work has been translated into more than twenty languages. 

Born in Timisoara in 1942, Blandiana is also known for her political activism. Following the 1989 Revolution in Romania she founded a campaign promoting the elimination of the country's communist legacy and lobbied for the creation of an open society. 

She is a founding member and president of the Civic Alliance Foundation since 1994, an apolitical movement counteracting the impact of 50 years of communism in Romania. 

The Princess of Asturias Award echoes the broad consensus of critics, who highlighted that the author (essayist and politician as well as poet) embodies "the conscience and testimony of her time, the emblematic opposition to the regime and the fight against censorship", while offering "a reflection on artistic creation and the human condition".

Previous winners include Haruki Murakami, Philip Roth, Anne Carson, Leonardo Padura, and Antonio Muñoz Molina, among others. A total of 38 candidates from 21 nationalities competed for the prestigious award in this year's edition.

Commenting on her win, Blandiana said "It is difficult for me to express my emotion and gratitude for the great honour that the Princess of Asturias Award represents for me." 

"Thank you for the echo that your prestigious prize will give to my ideas and my poems and that it will amplify them in the conscience of Spanish readers all over the world", added the author.

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