Argentine poet Juan Gelman has received the Cervantes Prize, the Spanish-speaking world's highest literary honour.
Gelman, who receives 90,000 euros with the award, is considered Argentina's poet laureate. His prolific work addresses among other issues the pain of loss under military juntas that ruled his country in the 1970s and 80s.
Gelman's son and daughter-in-law were killed during the dictatorship. Gelman spent years tracking down a granddaughter born of that marriage and raised in adoption. The dictatorship also forced him into exile in Europe.
King Juan Carlos bestowed the Cervantes Prize medal on the 77-year-old poet at a ceremony today at the university in Alcalá de Henares, birthplace of Don Quixote's author.
The Argentine poet Juan Gelman, who wrote about the pain of loss under his country's military juntas, has won the Cervantes prize, the Spanish-speaking world's top literary award.
The $133,000 (£64,000) award was announced by the Spanish culture minister Cesar Antonio Molina.
Gelman, 77, has published more than 20 books of poetry since 1956, and is widely considered to be Argentina's leading contemporary poet. His poems address his Jewish heritage, family, Argentina and his painful experience as a political activist during his country's 1976-83 "dirty war" against leftist dissent, an ordeal that led to his fleeing Argentina for Europe.
Gelman's son and daughter-in-law vanished as part of the crackdown during Argentina's military dictatorship. In 2001, he managed to track down a granddaughter who was born in captivity and adopted by a military family from Uruguay.
Victor Garcia de la Concha, president of the Spanish Royal Academy and a member of the Cervantes jury, said Gelman's work "toys with the musicality and rhythm of words" while showing a strong social and political commitment. "He has been committed to poetry since he was a young man," said Molina, the culture minister. "He has poetry in his bones."
Gelman's works include "The Game We're Playing" and "Under Someone Else's Rain." In 2000, Gelman also received one of the most important literary awards in the Spanish-speaking world, the Juan Rulfo Award.
Last year's Cervantes Prize was awarded to Spanish poet Antonio Gamoneda. Previous winners include Jorge Luis Borges of Argentina, the Peruvian-born novelist Mario Vargas Llosa and Carlos Fuentes of Mexico.