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INTERNATIONAL distinction

Peri Rossi, 67, who said her objective in "Play Station" was to offer a critique of contemporary society
27.11.08 - 12:54 -

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Uruguayan native becomes first woman to win Loewe poetry prize
Cristina Peri Rossi, who beat 897 entrants from 29 countries to win the prize, is congratulated by Enrique Loewe of the Spanish fashion house Loewe. EFE / Sergio Barrenechea
Uruguay-born writer Cristina Peri Rossi on Wednesday became the first woman to be named the winner the Loewe Foundation International Poetry Prize, with her book "Play Station."
The distinction, one of the most prestigious of its kind, is accompanied by a 20,000-euro cash award.
The jury, which selected the winner from among 36 finalists, was presided over by Victor García de la Concha, director of the Royal Spanish Academy, and also included Francisco Brines, José Manuel Caballero Bonald, Antonio Colinas, Jaime Siles, Vicente Valero and Luis Antonio de Villena.
During the course of her long and distinguished literary career, Peri Rossi, 67, who said her objective in "Play Station" was to offer a critique of contemporary society that is filled "with humor, cynicism and irony," has gained recognition as one the most important poets and novelists in the Spanish language.
"The whole book is collection of poems about my experience and my life. It's a compilation, a collection of anecdotes about writers and situations and injustices that I've experienced in recent years," the writer, who acknowledged entering the contest "for the money," told Efe after the jury's announcement was made.
Peri Rossi, who said she wants to be "a quality writer who wins prizes," penned "Play Station" while recovering from a serious automobile accident that had left her bed-ridden for an extended period of time.
The author, now living in Spain, said that although she does not believe in men's or women's literature she still finds it "a little odd" that a prize "as important as the Loewe had never before had a female winner."
The Madrid-based Loewe Foundation has awarded this poetry prize annually since 1988.
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