MADRID (AP) -- Albanian author Ismail Kadare has been awarded Spain's Prince of Asturias literature prize for 2009.

Praising Kadare as a "universal voice against totalitarianism," prize organizers highlighted "the beauty and underlying social commitment of his literary creativity."

The award Wednesday is one of eight Asturias prizes bestowed each year in areas such as the arts, the sciences, international cooperation and communication.

Born in Gjirokaster, Albania, Kadare's writings first attracted attention during the years of Enver Hoxha's repressive communist regime. He gained international fame on being granted political asylum in France in 1990.

His works include "The General of the Dead Army, "The Palace of Dreams" and "The Concert."