05. 20. 2015. 10:04

Booker Prize 2015 goes to László Krasznahorkai

László Krasznahorkai was announced last night 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.

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.

The judges said of Krasznahorkai’s work:

“In László Krasznahorkai’s The Melancholy of Resistance, a sinister circus has put a massive taxidermic specimen, a whole whale, Leviathan itself, on display in a country town. Violence soon erupts, and the book as a whole could be described as a vision, satirical and prophetic, of the dark historical province that goes by the name of Western Civilisation. Here, however, as throughout Krasznahorkai’s work, what strikes the reader above all are the extraordinary sentences, sentences of incredible length that go to incredible lengths, their tone switching from solemn to madcap to quizzical to desolate as they go their wayward way; epic sentences that, like a lint roll, pick up all sorts of odd and unexpected things as they accumulate inexorably into paragraphs that are as monumental as they are scabrous and musical.”

Announcing the winner, Marina Warner commented:

“László 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).

Links to some of our previous articles on Krasznahorkai:

- A short story from Seiobo There Below, translated by Ottilie Mulzet (this story was picked up by The Guardian after publication on HLO)

- A review on Seiobo There Below by Ottilie Mulzet

- A review on Animalinside by Ottilie Mulzet

- A review on Satantango by Tim Wilkinson

- East meets East: an essay by Diana Vonnák

- The Chinese journeys of László Krasznahorkai: an essay by Ottilie Mulzet

- An interview from 2007 by Tibor Keresztury and Judit Székely

- An interview from 2012 by Gabriella Nagy

- Lonely cedar. Krasznahorkai 60. An essay by Tibor Keresztury

Tags: László Krasznahorkai