NEWS IN SPAIN: Catalan poet awarded Reina Sofia prize in Spain

THE Catalan poet Joan Margarit Lleida has been awarded this year’s Reina Sofia prize for Ibero-American Poetry.

At a ceremony hosted at the Royal Palace in Madrid, Spain on Friday, November 22, the 81-year-old poet was handed the 28th edition of the coveted award, which was made public in May. Queen Sofia personally handed the award to Lleida alongside José Guirao, the Minister of Culture.

Lleida thanked the jury, adding that poetry and music are perhaps “the main tools of consolation that human beings have in solitude”. He then recited some of his poems in both Catalan and Spanish.

The Ibero-American Poetry Award is awarded by the National Heritage and the University of Salamanca, and is the most important prize awarded to poets from Ibero-America. Its purpose is to distinguish the entire work of an author who, because of their literary value, is considered to be an important contributor to the cultural heritage of this community.

The award comes just after a week that Lleida was announced to have won this year’s Cervantes Prize, Spain’s highest literature honour. We at Euro Weekly News understand that there may have been some confusion on other press platforms about the award which was won yesterday, which we can confirm was in fact the Reina Sofia prize.

Lleida, who is also an architect, has published more than 20 volumes of poetry, mainly in Catalan, winning several awards for his work, including the Pablo Neruda Prize in Chile.

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Isha Sesay