Canadian singer and poet Leonard Cohen won Spain's prestigious Prince of Asturias literature award on Wednesday for a body of work of "immutable merit," the jury said.
The jury decided by majority vote to confer the 2011 award for letters on 77-year-old Cohen for his writings.
Cohen's writing "has influenced three generations of people worldwide through his creation of emotional imagery in which poetry and music are fused in an oeuvre of immutable merit," the jury said in a statement."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."
Cohen left music in the 1990s and spent years in a Buddhist monastery in California, where he became a monk and took the name Jikan, which means "silence." But the musical and literary giant known for songs such as
So Long, Marianne, Suzanne
First We Take Manhattan
returned to the stage in May 2008.