Phillip Roth, the well-known US author of ‘Goodbye, Columbus’ and the Pulitzer-prize winning ‘American Pastoral’, has beaten out 23 contenders to win the 50,000 euro cash prize otherwise known as the Prince of Asturias literature award.
The judging panel claimed to be particularly compelled by Roth’s "fluid, incisive writing."
"Characters, events and plots form a complex view of contemporary reality torn between reason and feeling, such as the sign of the times and the sense of unease about the present," the panel’s statement read
"The narrative work of Philip Roth forms part of the great American novel, in the tradition of John dos Passos, Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, William Faulkner, Saul Bellow or Bernard Malamud."
Upon receiving the prestigious prize, Roth paid tribute to his "dear friend" Carlos Fuentes, the Mexican writer and polemicist who sadly passed away last month
. Fuentes was himself a past recipient of the same prize, having won it in 1994.
"Carlos was a dear friend of mine and a generous colleague for many decades and, of course, he was among the greatest novelists writing in Spanish in our era," Roth said
"I wish he were alive so that I could hear his mellifluous voice at the other end of the phone offering me congratulations in his courtly way."
He also stated
that he was "delighted" to have won the award, and said he was "thrilled that the jury should have found [his] work worthy of such an honour."
Roth’s career began in 1959, when he published his first novel, ‘Goodbye, Columbus’, to much critical acclaim. The book went on to win the U.S. National Book Award for Fiction, but it wasn’t until 1969 that he truly received the attention of the public, after his third published novel, ‘Portnoy’s Complaint’, a controversial and humorous depiction of a Jewish bachelor which was banned in some libraries in the United States was declared a "prohibited import" in Australia.
Since then, Roth has become a highly acclaimed author that continues to receive awards and recognitions for his large body of work. A two-time recipient of the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle award, and the 1997 Pulitzer Prize, it appears that this latest award is just the most recent addition to Roth’s widely spread and critically acclaimed writing career. In winning it, he joins other renowned authors such as Peru’s Mario Vargas Llosa, Germany’s Gunter Grass and Canada’s Margaret Atwood.