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Last Updated: Monday, 1 December, 2003, 10:59 GMT
Brazilian writer wins book prize
Rubem Fonseca (l) and Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Fonseca (L) is congratulated by author Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Brazilian author Rubem Fonseca has won a leading Latin-American literary award - the 2003 Juan Rulfo Literature Prize.

Fonseca received his prize from Columbian writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez in a ceremony at Guadalajara, Mexico.

Fonseca, aged 78, has written acclaimed novels such as The Prisoners and The Dog Collar.

He is rarely seen in public, but said he decided to collect the award in person when he learned that it would be presented by Garcia Marquez.

Fonseca said he was "honoured and happy" to win, but had not planned to attend the ceremony because of his fear of large crowds.

He recalled Garcia Marquez telling him about the first time he read Pedro Paramo, the most famous work by Mexican author Juan Rulfo - after whom the awards are named.

He said the book and other works in the magical realism style by Rulfo influenced Garcia Marquez and Fonseca in countless ways.

Fonseca completed what is widely considered his most famous work, Agosto, in 1990. It tells the story of the frantic political and social climate in Brazil after the death of President Getulio Vargas in 1954.

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