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Atwood nets prestigious Spanish literary prize

Spain has named writer Margaret Atwood winner of one of the country's most distinguished arts prizes, sometimes likened to the European country's version of the Nobel Prize.

Spain has named writer Margaret Atwood winner of one of the country's most distinguished arts prizes, sometimes likened to the European country's version of the Nobel Prize.

The Canadian literary icon was named winner Wednesday of the Prince of Asturias Prize for Letters.

In its citation, the jury praised Atwood for penning "outstanding literary work that has explored different genres with acuteness and irony."

The jury also chose Atwood "because she cleverly assumes the classic tradition, defends women's dignity and denounces social unfairness."

The 68-year-old Atwood — arguably Canada's best-known author internationally — has won a myriad of top literary honours, including the Booker Prize for her novel The Blind Assassin in 2000. Her writing spans adult and children's fiction, non-fiction, poetry and criticism.

Past winners of the Prince of Asturias Prize for Letters include Arthur Miller, Doris Lessing and Gunter Grass.

The Prince of Asturias Awards are presented each fall in Oviedo, the capital of the Asturias region in northern Spain.

The annual honours celebrate accomplishments in the arts, science, communications, public service and sports. Eight winners each year receive 50,000 euros (about $79,000 Cdn), a diploma, an insignia and a sculpture by Catalan artist Joan Miro.

With files from the Associated Press

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