Mexican journalist and author Elena Poniatowska (C) stands with King of Spain Juan Carlos (L) and the Queen Sofia during the awarding ceremony of the Cervantes Prize in Alcala de Henares, Spain, April 23, 2014. The King of Spain Juan Carlos I awarded Mexican journalist and author Elena Poniatowska the 2013 Cervantes Prize, the Spanish-speaking world's highest literary honor, on Wednesday. (Xinhua/Xie Haining)
MADRID, April 23 (Xinhua) -- Mexican journalist and writer Elena Poniatowska on Wednesday received the prestigious Cervantes Prize for literature in a ceremony attended by King Juan Carlos of Spain at the historic University of Alcala.
The ceremony for the Cervantes Prize, named after Miguel Cervantes, the most famous writer in Spanish history and the author of the celebrated 'Don Quixote," is always held on April 23, to coincide with St George's day, a day on which book stalls are set up in streets all over Spain to help promote literacy and reading.
It is considered to be the Nobel Prize for Spanish literature and carries with it a financial award of 125,000 euros (172,700 U.S. dollars).
Poniatowska used her acceptance speech to pay homage to the Colombian author, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, who died last week.
"With (his book) '100 Years of Solitude,' he gave wings to Latin America and that great flight has lifted us up and it has allowed flowers to grow from us," she said.
The Mexican who is descended from the last King of Poland, described herself as a "reporter," who likes to "look beyond simple life and to look into other lives," and said she considered herself to be a "feminine Sancho Panza."
Sancho Panza was one of Cervantes' most famous creations, the servant of the knight Don Quixote, but while Quixote was quite often drawn into flights of fancy, Poniatowska said that like Sancho, she was drawn towards "normal and common pathways."
Poniatowska will donate her prize money to a Mexican foundation aimed at promoting culture in her homeland.