Syrian poet Adonis awarded prestigious German prize

AP, Wednesday 31 Aug 2011

The Syrian poet, who lives in Europe but writes in Arabic, was awarded the Goethe prize this week

Adonis awarded Goethe prize

Syrian-born poet Adonis has become the first Arabic-speaking author to receive one of Germany's most prestigious literary awards, the Goethe Prize of the city of Frankfurt.

The 81-year-old Adonis accepted the award on Sunday in Frankfurt. Born Ali Ahmad Said in northern Syria, Adonis fled his homeland for political reasons as a young man. He now lives in Paris but still writes in Arabic.

The jury praised Adonis for bringing modern European ideas and critical thinking into current Arab culture by using classic poetic images based in the traditions of Arabic poets.

The Goethe Prize, worth €50,000 ($72,000), is awarded every three years on Goethe's birthday to someone whose works are deemed to reflect the spirit of the German literary giant. In a separate ceremony in Weimar on Sunday, the Goethe Institute awarded British author John le Carre, Polish publish Adam Michnik and French director Ariane Mnouchkine its highest award, the Goethe Medal.

The Goethe Medal is given to artists who support the German language in an extraordinary way. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe is considered one of Germany's greatest authors. He was born on 28 August 1749 in Frankfurt and wrote poems, plays and novels, now considered classics of German literature.

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