After more than twenty years as a leading candidate, Chilean Communist poet Pablo Neruda has won the Nobel Prize for Literature.
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Background: After more than twenty years as a leading candidate, Chilean Communist poet Pablo Neruda has won the Nobel Prize for Literature. The Swedish Academy announced its choice yesterday (21 October) in Stockholm. Mr. Neruda's Communist views are believed to have cost him the prize in the past, but critics of the Academy say that his current status as Chilean Ambassador to Paris has given him the added degree of "respectability" that the academy wanted. In a half-century of writing, Mr. Neruda has had well over 300 editions published around the world and his works have been translated into 81 languages. The post is extremely popular in the Soviet Union where he won the Stalin Peace Prize in 1950.
Mr. Neruda was born in Southern Chile in 1904. His family was poor and he took to writing poetry at an early age. By the age of twenty he had begun to build up a reputation as one of the finest lyric poets in the Spanish language. His open political stance and strong feeling for the plight of the underprivileged Latin American man are strong elements in his works. In addition to his political works, Neruda has also written some of the most tender and intimate love poetry in the language.
Mr. Neruda held a press conference at the Chilean embassy in Paris yesterday (21 October). He told reporters in French that if his prize, through its cultural and intellectual impact brought about a supporting element to transformations, progress, and the struggle for justice and dignity in Chile then he would be happy. He stated that all of his works have been devoted to the struggle of his people and that if he could make another contribution he would be very glad.