Venezuelan poet Rafael Cadenas is the winner of this year’s Cervantes Prize, the most prestigious award in Spanish literature.
"Due to his vast and extensive literary work, the jury recognises the importance of a creator who has made poetry a reason for his own existence and has taken it to heights of excellence in our language," said Spain’s Culture Minister Miquel Iceta at a press conference on Thursday announcing the decision.
"His work is one of the most important and demonstrates the transformative power of words when the language is elevated, when it is taken to the edge of its creative possibilities," continued Iceta.
Born in Barquisimeto, northwest Venezuela, in 1930, Cadenas, an essayist and an essential author of Latin American poetry in recent decades, has received numerous awards for his works, including Venezuela's National Prize for Literature(1985), the Prize of Romance Languages in Mexico (2009) and the García Lorca Prize in Spain (2015).
The Cervantes Prize, the most prestigious for literature in Spanish, is endowed with a 125,000-euro (almost 127,000 dollars) purse.
Since its establishment in 1976, the award has gone to authors such as Jorge Luis Borges, Mario Vargas Llosa, Camilo José Cela, Álvaro Mutis, Eduardo Mendoza, Carlos Fuentes or Sergio Ramírez.
A ceremony honouring the winner and prize takes place on April 23, the day of the death of Miguel de Cervantes, at the University of Alcalá de Henares, hometown of the author of Don Quixote de la Mancha. The winner receives the award from the hands of the King and Queen of Spain, Felipe VI and Letizia.