Canadian singer Leonard Cohen has won a Prince of Asturias award, one of eight given annually in Spain for achievement in the arts or sciences.

Cohen will be awarded the Letters prize from the Prince of Asturias foundation for his poetic gifts and thought-provoking songs, a jury announced Wednesday.

"Considered one of the most influential authors of our time, his poems and songs have beautifully explored the major issues of humanity in great depth," the jury said in its citation.

Montreal-born Cohen is known for his songs, including Suzanne and Hallelujah, which have been covered by dozens of influential artists.

His books include poetry collections Let us Compare Mythologies and Flowers for Hitler, and novels The Favourite Game and Beautiful Losers. Earlier this year he issued a compilation book Poems and Stories.

Now 76, Cohen won the Glenn Gould Prize earlier this year, a Canadian award for achievement in the arts. He also is an Officer and Companion of the Order of Canada.

The Asturias prize, with a 50,000-euro ($69,600 Cdn) cash award and a statue designed by Joan Miró, will be presented to Cohen in Spain in the fall.

The Asturias awards are given annually "to reward the scientific, technical, cultural, social and humanistic work performed at an international level by individuals, institutions or groups of individuals or institutions."

Canadian writer Margaret Atwood won the Letters prize in 2008. It also has gone to writers such as Ismail Kadare, Arthur Miller and Paul Auster.

Bob Dylan has won an Asturias prize for his contribution to the arts.