Still touring and still a mesmerising artistic presence (and in Australia as recently as late 2010), Leonard Cohen‘s achievements have been recognised by him winning Spain’s prestigious Prince of Asturias Award for Letters, beating off competition from literary heavyweights such as novelist Ian McEwan as well as Canadian author Alice Munro. The jury announced their decision in Oviedo on Wednesday, June 1.
The jury praised Cohen’s “body of literary work that has influenced three generations of people worldwide through his creation of emotional imagery in which poetry and music are fused in an oeuvre of immutable merit”, adding that his “poems and songs have beautifully explored the major issues of humanity in great depth.”
The Prince of Asturias Foundation hand out eight awards each year across a variety of disciplines, including the sciences, technology, culture and so forth.
In admiring Cohen they continued, “The passing of time, sentimental relationships, the mystical traditions of the East and the West and life sung as an unending ballad make up a body of work associated with certain moments of decisive change at the end of the 20th and beginning of the 21st century.”
He was also awarded the Glenn Gould Prize this year, the award handed out only every three years in memory of the great Canadian pianist. Cohen also received a Lifetime award at the Grammys in 2010, and is a Grand Officer of the National Order of Quebec as well as an Officer and Companion of the Order of Canada, and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2008.