Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Murakami Wins the Andersen Literature Award

This is a slightly delayed post about Haruki Murakami's winning the H.C. Andersen Literary Award, which was announced on November 17th. The H.C. Andersen Literature Award is a Danish prize established in 2010. It is given every two years to authors whose works resemble Andersen's work. (It should not be confused with the H.C. Andersen Award, or Medal, given to authors of children's literature). The previous winners include Paulo Coelho, J.K. Rowling, Isabel Allende and Salman Rushdie.

On the official H.C. Andersen Award webpage we find the following explanation:
The purpose of the award is to pay tribute to Hans Christian Andersen’s influence on authors all over the world by choosing recipients whose work can be attached to Hans Christian Andersen’s name and life’s work – for instance through genre-based likenesses or artistic storytelling qualities. The chosen authors must, as it has been expressed, be at swan level with Hans Christian Andersen.
According to the article on Yahoo News, the jury honored Murakami for his "bold mix of classic narrative, pop culture, Japanese tradition, dreamlike realism and philosophical debate." The award ceremony will take place in October 2016 in Odense, Andersen's hometown.

This success, it must be said, owes in great measure to the fine translations of Mette Holm, Murakami's Danish translator. Mette has been working on Murakami for a number of years. (See the covers of her last four Danish versions of Murakami.)  A very versatile translator, Mette has also done works by Hiromi Kawakami, Kirino Natsuo, Banana Yoshimoto, Ryu Murakami, Kenzaburo Oe, Jiro Taniguchi and Taichi Yamada.  

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