Poet Ko Un has been selected as the recipient of the 2011 America Award to be given by the U.S. Contemporary Arts Educational Project, the renowned poet said Monday.
The 78-year-old poet said he was notified last month that he had been picked as the award winner. The America Award has been presented annually since 1994 to those who devote their lives to world literature.
The previous 17 recipients include Nobel Prize laureate Harold Pinter of England, Austrian Peter Handke and Syrian poet Adonis.
Ko is the first Asian to receive the award.
He said that the award was a recognition of his lifelong works, including ‘Maninbo (Ten Thousand Lives).’
‘Maninbo’ is the masterpiece of Ko’s writing career. It began during his imprisonment in the 1970s military regime and was completed last year with 30 volumes of 4,001 poems.