Spanish poet and novelist Jose Manuel Caballero Bonald, known for the powerful streak of non-conformism that infuses his works, has been awarded the 2012 Cervantes Prize for helping "enrich the Hispanic literary legacy," the jury said.
Dario Villanueva, jury president for the Spanish-speaking world's most important literary award, hailed the 86-year-old native of Jerez de la Frontera as a "teller and creator of stories and master in the use of language" and stressed his strong ties with Latin America.
In addition to living in that region, he has maintained constant contact with Spanish-language literature in Latin America and is appreciated by "Spanish speakers and Spanish readers on the other side of the ocean," Villanueva said.
The jury president said poetry was Caballero Bonald's first calling and noted that the writer continues to produce works in that literary form and "maintains a presence in our poetic repertoire."
He also was one of Spain's leading novelists of the 1950s and 1960s, mainly devoting his work to Spain's social situation in that era.
His works include the poetry collection "Manual de infractores" (Offenders' Manual), which stands as a call for dissent, rebelliousness and non-conformism.
In another of his books of poetry, "La noche no tiene paredes" (The Night Has No Walls), the author upholds the virtue of doubt, telling Efe in an interview that a person "who has no doubts, who is sure of everything, is the closest thing there is to an imbecile."
Other works of poetry by Caballero Bonald, who has described that art form as "a sort of defense against the offenses of life," include "Las adivinaciones," "Memorias de poco tiempo," "Anteo," "Las horas muertas" (winner of the 1959 edition of Spain's Critics' Prize), "Pliegos de cordel" and "Descredito del heroe" (winner of the Critics' Prize in 1978).
He has typically been lumped in with the so-called Generation of 1950 along with Jose Angel Valente, Claudio Rodriguez, Jaime Gil de Biedma, Angel Gonzalez and Francisco Brines, but Caballero Bonald resists such labels and says they serve only to help historians in putting together literary encyclopedias.
The author said in an interview, however, that members of that group had a common cause in their opposition to the 1939-1975 dictatorship of Gen. Francisco Franco and "a similar tendency toward the sizable consumption of alcoholic beverages."
His novels include "Dos dias de septiembre" (Two September Days), winner of the Biblioteca Breve Award in 1961; and "Agata, ojo de gato" (Cat's Eye Agate), for which he was awarded the Critics' Award in 1975.
The Cervantes Prize, regarded as the Spanish-speaking world's equivalent of the Nobel Prize in literature, carries a cash award of 125,000 euros ($162,000).
Past winners include Mexico's Carlos Fuentes and Octavio Paz, Argentina's Jorge Luis Borges and Ernesto Sabato and Peru's Mario Vargas Llosa. EFE