Zimbabwean writers confirm that one of the country's most prominent authors has died in exile.

The Zimbabwe Writers Association said Monday it had received "the sad news" that Chenjerai Hove died on Sunday in Norway at 59.

Memory Chirere, secretary general of the writers' organization, said Hove had a passion for peace, human rights and the dignity of all people.

An award-winning poet and novelist whose work largely portrayed the struggles of Zimbabwe's powerless groups, Hove came into conflict with President Robert Mugabe by writing newspaper columns sharply critical of the government.

He left Zimbabwe for France in 2001 at the height of Zimbabwe's political tumult, claiming he was in danger. He later relocated to Norway.