The Mexican writer, journalist and essayist Elena Poniatowska was awarded the prestigious Premio Cervantes (Cervantes Prize) on Tuesday, which carried a cash award of 125,000 euros (168,750 U.S. dollars).
The award was considered the "Nobel Prize" of Spanish literature and named after the writer of the famous Don Quixote. Poniatowska becomes the fourth woman to win it, following Maria Zambrano (1988), Ana Maria Matute (2010) and Dulce Maria Loynaz (1992).
The jury made of nine members, among them the last two winners of the Prize, Caballero Bonald (2012) and Nicanor Parra (2011) as well as Jose Manuel Blecua, the Director of the Spanish Royal Academy, made the award for Poniatowska's "brilliant literary trajectory in diverse genera, her special manner in narrative and her exemplary dedication to journalism, her outstanding work and her firm compromise with contemporary history."
Poniatowska has written a series emblematic works which describe the "20th century from an integrated and international projection and her personality is one of the most powerful voices in Spanish literature in these days."
Poniatowska has received other awards for her writing and won the Premio Alfaguara in 2011 for her novel "The Skin of heaven," (La Piel del Cielo). All of her works are related with present day Mexican life.
She was born in Paris in 1932. Aged 21 she launched a new style of journalism by mixing literature and information in the newspaper "Excelsior," and was the first woman to receive a National Journalism Prize in 1978.
She has written over 40 novels, with her standout works being "Hasta no verte Jesus mio" (Until I don't see you my Jesus) and The Skin of Heaven.
She will receive her award on April 23, 2014, an anniversary of the death of Miguel de Cervantes.