Innovative Hungarian writer László Krasznahorkai was last night announced as the winner of the sixth Man Booker International Prize at an award ceremony at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. Krasznahorkai was chosen from a list of ten eminent contenders from around the world.
The Man Booker International Prize, worth £60,000, is awarded for an achievement in fiction on the world stage. It is presented once every two years to a living author for a body of work published either originally in English or available in translation in the English language. It has previously been awarded to Ismail Kadaré in 2005, Chinua Achebe in 2007, Alice Munro in 2009, Philip Roth in 2011, and Lydia Davis in 2013.
Born in 1954, László Krasznahorkai gained considerable recognition in 1985 when he published 'Satantango', which he later adapted for the cinema in collaboration with the filmmaker Bela Tarr. In 1993, he received the German Bestenliste Prize for the best literary work of the year for 'The Melancholy of Resistance' and has since been honoured with numerous literary prizes, amongst them the highest award of the Hungarian state, the Kossuth Prize.
Krasznahorkai and his translator George Szirtes were longlisted for the 2013 Independent Foreign Fiction Prize for 'Satantango' and Krasznahorkai has won the Best Translated Book Award in the US two years in a row, in 2013 for 'Satantango' and in 2014 for 'Seiobo There Below' which was published in the UK on 7 May by Tuskar Rock Press.
The judging panel for the 2015 Man Booker International Prize was chaired by celebrated writer and academic Marina Warner. The panel also comprised Wen-chin Ouyang, Professor of Arabic and Comparative Literature at SOAS, University of London; acclaimed author Nadeem Aslam; novelist and critic Elleke Boehmer, who is currently Professor of World Literature in English at Oxford University; and Edwin Frank, editorial director of the New York Review Books Classics.
Announcing the winner, Marina Warner, who will be interviewing the winner at the Hay Festival on Sunday 24 May at 7pm commented:
‘Laszlo Krasznahorkai is a visionary writer of extraordinary intensity and vocal range who captures the texture of present day existence in scenes that are terrifying, strange, appallingly comic, and often shatteringly beautiful. 'The Melancholy of Resistance', 'Satantango' and 'Seiobo There Below' are magnificent works of deep imagination and complex passions, in which the human comedy verges painfully onto transcendence. Krasznahorkai, who writes in Hungarian, has been superbly served by his translators, George Szirtes and Ottilie Mulzet.’
Krasznahorkai has chosen to split the £15,000 translator’s prize between two translators, George Szirtes (who translated 'Satantango' and 'The Melancholy of Resistance') and Ottilie Mulzet (who translated 'Seiobo There Below'). Szirtes is a Hungarian-born poet who came to the UK as a refugee. He has won a number of prizes for his poetry, including the T.S. Eliot Prize. He has also translated Sándor Márai amongst others.
Ottilie Mulzet is a Hungarian translator of poetry and prose, as well as a literary critic. She has worked as the English-language editor of the internet journal of the Hungarian Cultural Centre in Prague, and her translations appear regularly at Hungarian Literature Online.
The Man Booker International Prize is sponsored by Man Group plc, which also sponsors the Man Booker Prize for Fiction. The prize is significantly different from the annual Man Booker Prize in that it highlights one writer’s continued creativity, development and overall contribution to fiction on the world stage. Both prizes strive to recognise and reward the finest modern literature.
Source: Press release