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The Princess of Asturias Foundation

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Laureates  

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Paul Auster

Prince of Asturias Award for Literature 2006

Paul Auster - novelist, poet and scriptwriter - (Newark, New Jersey, USA, in 1947), after graduating from Columbia University in English and Comparative Literature, he lived three years in France between 1971 and 1974, where he undertook a whole range of jobs, translated Mallarmé, Sartre, Simeon and others, and wrote poetry and one-act plays. Back in New York, Auster did translations and began to public reviews, poetry and essays in the likes of the New York Review of Books and Harper´s Saturday Review. He became well-known as a writer when he published his autobiography, The Invention of Solitude (1982), and his reputation increased with the publication of the three novels of the New York Trilogy (1985-1986)containing City of Glass, Ghosts and Locked Room. His next novel was In the country of Last Things (1987), which was followed by others, including Moon Palace (1989) and The Music of Chance (1990). The latter was made into a film by Philip Haas. Paul Auster has worked as a scriptwriter in The Music of Chance (1993) and Smoke (1995), as a co-director in Blue in the Face (1995) and as a director in Lulu on the Bridge (1998).

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A prolific and extremely successful author, his bibliography has been translated into thirty-five languages and includes Leviathan (1992), the Red Notebook (1993), Mr. Vertigo (1994) Timbuktu (1999), the autobiographical essay Hand to Mouth: a Chronicle of Early Failure (1997), the Book of Illusions (2002) Oracle Night(2003) and Brooklyn Follies (2005). He has also penned poetry books, such as White Spaces (1980), Fragments from Cold (1988) and Unearth (1974), as well as the Art of Hunger (1992), a collection of articles and essays on French, English and American literature. His story the City of Glass was re-published in 1993 in a version that was adapted by illustrated by Paul Karasik and ilustrated David Mazzuscheli. He began to shoot his second solo feature film, the Inner Life of Martin Frost, in Portugal in May 2006.

Auster is a defender of freedom and refuses to visit countries “that do not have democratic laws”. He has refused to travel to China and, in protest over the more than one hundred journalists and writers who had been imprisoned, rejected the invitation he received from Turkey on the occasion of the publication of Winter Diary there.

Paul Auster has received a range of accolades, including the Morton Dauwen Zabel Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters (1990), France´s 1993Prix Médicis for the best novel by a foreign author, for Leviathan, and the Independent Spirit Award for the best original script, for Smoke (1995). He won the 2000 "Archbishop Juan de San Clemente Literature Prize" for Timbuktu. He won the Madrid Booksellers´ Guild´s Award for Best Book of the Year in 2003 for the Book of Illusions, and two years later took the Which Book Award voted by the readers of the magazine of the same name for Oracle Night. He was also appointed Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters of France (1992), Officier in 1998, and Commander in 2005 and holds an honorary degree from the National University of General San Martín (2014).

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