Photo: Ernesto Cardenal
Nicaragua’s Ernesto Cardenal was announced in Madrid Thursday as the winner of the Queen Sofia Ibero American Poetry Prize, presented every year to a living author deemed to have made an important contribution to the cultural legacy of Spain and Latin America.
Established 21 years ago, the prestigious award that bears the name of Spain’s queen is accompanied by 42,100 euros ($55,700).
Besides his being a poet, the 87-year-old Cardenal is a Catholic priest who served as culture minister in the Sandinista regime that followed the ouster of the Somoza dictatorship.
His past literary honors include the Pablo Neruda Ibero American Poetry Prize.
The choice of Cardenal for this year’s Queen Sofia Prize breaks the institution’s unwritten rule that the award should alternate between Spanish and Latin American poets.
The 2011 prize went to Cuba’s Fina Garcia Marruz.
“It was not just” that “someone so significant for 20th century poetry” as Cardenal should be excluded from consideration “for extra-literary reasons,” prize juror Luis Antonio de Villena said after Thursday’s announcement at the royal palace in Madrid.