American writer Jonathan Franzen received the first Carlos Fuentes Medal from the late Mexican writer's widow, Silvia Lemus, during the opening ceremony of the 26th Guadalajara International Book Fair.

Starting with this year's fair, the medal will be awarded to all the writers chosen to open the Literary Salon at the book fair in Guadalajara, the biggest event of the year for the Spanish-language publishing industry.

"This is a fair for both books and literature," Guadalajara International Book Fair president Raul Padilla said.

Franzen, who was born on Aug. 17, 1959, in Western Springs, Illinois, writes for The New Yorker and has published several critically acclaimed novels.

"I had the good fortune of meeting him (Fuentes) before his death. This means a lot to me personally," the writer said during Sunday's event.

Franzen is the author of "The Corrections" (2001), which won a National Book Award, and "Freedom" (2010), as well as the essay collection "Farther Away" (2012), which discusses contemporary life and his friendship with writer David Foster Wallace, who committed suicide in 2008. EFE