Hallelujah: Leonard Cohen wins Spanish prize

Leonard Cohen

Leonard Cohen

Leonard Cohen has been awarded a prize dubbed the Spanish Nobel Prize.

The legendary singer - songwriter is this year's recipient of the Prince of Asturias Award for Letters. The prize, which will be given out at special ceremony in autumn, is worth £44,000.

The judges described Mr Cohen, 77, as a "poet and novelist" and said they were honouring him "for a body of literary work that has influenced three generations of people worldwide".

They praised his "creation of emotional imagery" and added: "The passing of time, sentimental relationships, the mystical traditions of the East and the West and life sung as an unending ballad make up a body of work associated with certain moments of decisive change at the end of the 20th and beginning of the 21st century."

The Montreal-born singer, famous for songs including Hallelujah and So Long, Marianne, studied literature at university and published his first book of poems when he was in his early 20s.

In 2006 his Book of Longing became the first poetry collection in history to top Canadian bestseller lists.

Last month Mr Cohen was awarded the Glenn Gould Prize for his contribution to music.

Last updated: 1:27pm, June 1 2011