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Francisco Umbral

Prince of Asturias Award for Literature 1996

The members of the Jury for the 1996 Prince of Asturias Award for Letters, Mr. Andrés Amorós, Mr. Luis María Anson, Mr. Felipe Benítez Reyes, Mr. Pedro Casals, Mr. Antonio Colinas, Mr. Rafael Conte Oroz, Mr. Antonio Gallego Morell, Mr. Víctor García de la Concha, Mr. Miguel García Posada, Mr. Fernando G. Delgado, Ms. Almudena Grandes, gathered in Oviedo under the presidency of Mr. Fernando Lázaro Carreter and with Mr. José María Martínez Cachero acting as secretary, in view of the candidates proposed, with a great number of writers of the highest quality, have started the meeting by debating the criteria which should guide them in their task and have unanimously adopted the following:

  1. In accordance with the bases of the announcement, the Prince of Asturias Award for Letters should be granted to a writer whose work "stands for a significant contribution to the enrichment of the common language of the Hispanic nations".
  2. The Jury has deemed it convenient to grant this Award to a creative writer.
  3. The Jury has agreed to concentrate on the examination of the writers who are in the midst of full creative activity, with a piece of work under way.
  4. The Jury has agreed by majority to grant the 1996 Prince of Asturias Award for Letters to Mr. Francisco Umbral, a lively and controversial example of complete dedication to literature. His writing is perpetual and has favoured, in many of his narrative fiction books, the subjects of personal and historic memory. A prominent essayist, a brilliant literary journalist who has turned the daily column into a permanent lesson on verbal art, Francisco Umbral is one of the foremost prose writers of the Spanish Language in the XX century with his excellence of style, forged in a Castilian which is both classic and modern at the same time, capable of lyrical flight and of the most forceful satire, which has renewed our literary language.

Oviedo 10th May 1996

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