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Leonard Cohen receives Prince of Asturias award

2nd June 2011

Leonard Cohen has received the 2011 Prince of Asturias award, one of Europe's most prestigious literary prizes, in recognition of his contribution to literature and the wider arts.

The Canadian singer and poet was chosen for a body of work of 'immutable merit', the judging panel revealed, claiming the 77-year-old's fusion of poetry and music helped to inspire millions of people across the globe.

'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,' the judges stated.

After giving up music to become a Buddhist monk in the 1990s, Cohen returned to the stage in 2008 with a new collection of writings based on his experiences and influences at the monastery.

Last year, the Prince of Asturias award for literature was won by Amin Maalouf, in recognition of his 50-year body of work.

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