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The Princess of Asturias Foundation

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Princess of Asturias Awards

05/22/2019

Siri Hustvedt, 2019 Princess of Asturias Award for Literature

A scholar and intellectual who addresses the fundamental issues of contemporary ethics and epistemology, as well as being known for her feminist militancy, her work has contributed to interdisciplinary dialogue between the sciences and the humanities. She has published essays and articles in academic and scientific journals, including Contemporary Psychoanalysis, Seizure: European Journal of Epilepsy, Neuropsychoanalysis and Clinical Neurophysiology

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American writer Siri Hustvedt has been granted the 2019 Princess of Asturias Award for Literature, as announced today in Oviedo by the Jury responsible for conferring said Award.

The Jury for the Award –convened by the Princess of Asturias Foundation– was chaired by Santiago Muñoz Machado and composed of Xosé Ballesteros Rey, Xuan Bello Fernández, Blanca Berasátegui Garaizábal, Jordi Gracia García, Lola Larumbe Doral, Antonio Lucas Herrero, Carmen Millán Grajales, Rosa Navarro Durán, Leonardo Padura Fuentes, Pablo Remón Magaña, Laura Revuelta Sanjurjo, Ana Santos Aramburo, Íker Seisdedos García, Diana Sorensen, Juan Villoro and Fernando Rodríguez Lafuente (as acting secretary).

This candidature was put forward by Mauro Guillén, member of the Jury for the 2019 Princess of Asturias Award for Social Sciences.

Siri Hustvedt (Northfield, Minnesota, USA, 19th February 1955), novelist, essayist and poet of Norwegian origin, graduated in History from St Olaf College, obtaining her PhD in English Literature from Columbia University in 1986 with a thesis on Charles Dickens (Figures of Dust. A Reading of “Our Mutual Friend”) in which her authors of reference already appear, including Kierkegaard, Emile Benveniste, Roman Jakobson, Mikhail Bakhtin, Freud, Lacan, Mary Douglas, Ricoeur and Julia Kristeva. An expert in neuroscience and psychoanalysis, her first publication was a poem in The Paris Review. In 1982, she published a collection of poetry, Reading to You. She met Paul Auster –2006 Prince of Asturias Award for Literature– at a poetry reading in 1981 and they were married the following year.

A scholar and intellectual who addresses the fundamental issues of contemporary ethics and epistemology, as well as being known for her feminist militancy, her work has contributed to interdisciplinary dialogue between the sciences and the humanities. She has published essays and articles in academic and scientific journals, including Contemporary Psychoanalysis, Seizure: European Journal of Epilepsy, Neuropsychoanalysis and Clinical Neurophysiology. Her collection of 32 lectures and articles delivered and published between 2005 and 2011, Living, Thinking, Looking (2012), is a sample of her profound, comprehensive scholarship in various disciplines. In this collection, she develops some of her favourite themes related to literature, philosophy, psychology, psychoanalysis and the neurosciences.

Translated into more than thirty languages, Hustvedt published her first novel, The Blindfold, in 1992 and achieved international renown with her third book, What I Loved (2003). In 2009, she published the essay entitled The Shaking Woman or A History of My Nerves. She likewise has a great interest in painting and has given talks on this subject at the Prado Museum and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, as well as publishing a volume of essays entitled Mysteries of the Rectangle: Essays on Painting (2005). Other works of hers include: The Enchantment of Lily Dahl (1996), The Sorrows of an American (2008), The Summer Without Men (2011), The Blazing World (2014), Reading to You (1982), Yonder (1998) and A Plea for Eros (1997). Her last published essay is entitled A Woman Looking at Men Looking at Women (2016).

Holder of an honorary degree from Stendhal University, Grenoble (2015), she received the 2004 Quebec Booksellers Award for What I Loved and the 2012 Gabarron International Prize for Thought and Humanities for her research work and her ideas on philosophy, neuroscience and psychology.

This year, a total of 28 candidates from 17 different countries were nominated for the award. As stated in the Regulations, the Princess of Asturias Awards are aimed at rewarding “the scientific, technical, cultural, social and humanitarian work carried out at an international level by individuals, institutions or groups of individuals or institutions”. In keeping with these principles, the Princess of Asturias Award for Literature is conferred in recognition of “the work of fostering and advancing literary creation in all its genres.”

This is the fifth of eight Princess of Asturias Awards to be bestowed this year, now in their thirty-ninth edition. The Princess of Asturias Award for the Arts went to British theatre director Peter Brook, the Princess of Asturias Awards for Communication and Humanities to The Prado Museum (Museo Nacional del Prado), the Princess of Asturias Award for International Cooperation was granted to Salman Khan and the Khan Academy, while the Princess of Asturias Award for Sports went to American skier Lindsey Vonn.

The remaining awards will be announced in the coming weeks in the following order: Social Sciences, Technical and Scientific Research and Concord.

Each of the Princess of Asturias Awards comprises a Joan Miró sculpture representing and symbolizing the Awards, a cash prize of 50,000 euros, a diploma and an insignia. The awards will be presented in the autumn in Oviedo at a solemn ceremony chaired by TM The King and Queen of Spain.

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