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Per Olov Enquist wins Austrian literary prize

27th July 2010

Swedish author Per Olov Enquist has been awarded the prestigious Austrian State Prize for European Literature.

The 76-year-old writer, whose works include historical novels such as The Visit of the Royal Physician and The Story of Blanche and Marie, was handed the EUR 25,000 (GBP 21,000) prize by Austria's culture minister Claudia Schmied.

Schmied commented: 'Accuracy and mastership define Enquist's diverse and rich literary oeuvre, which seems to have been written effortlessly and which involves the reader in a unique way.'

Describing the author as a 'great European storyteller', the minister also claimed that Enquist's work is distinctive in combining elements of fiction, essay, autobiography and journalism.

Previous winners of the Austrian State Prize for European Literature include Harold Pinter, Simone de Beauvoir and Umberto Eco.

Last month, the USD 10,000 (GBP 6,900) Franz Kafka Prize, which was founded to recognise 'exceptional' contemporary authors, was awarded to former Czech president Vaclav Havel.

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