Amin Maalouf Wins Spain’s Prestigious ‘Prince of Asturius’ Award

Francophone Lebanese author Amin Maalouf has won Spain’s prestigious Prince of Asturias literature award, the Asturias foundation announced.

Maalouf, the 61-year-old author of Samarkand and The Crusades Through Arab Eyes, beat 26 other contenders that included Portugal’s Nobel-winning author Jose Saramago and much-lauded Canadian author Alice Munro. The prize is 50,000 euros.

Maalouf was a journalist in Lebanon in the early 1970s, working for An Nahar, and—who knows—might have become a great Arabic-language writer. But, soon after the civil war broke out, Maalouf moved to Paris with his family.

Maalouf is also a fascinating blogger, although his blog has been on hold this year, apparently because of the author’s health problems.

Many of Maalouf’s books (all but one or two) are available in English. Almost all of them have been translated into Arabic, as well. (Thanks to Gaelle for the link.)