Hungarian fiction writer László Krasznahorkai has won the 2015 Man Booker International Prize. Krasznahorkai was presented with the £60,000 award (approximately $90,000) Tuesday evening at a ceremony in London. Kasznahorkai’s two English translators, George Szirtes and Ottilie Mulzet, will split the £15,000 translator’s prize.
The Man Booker International Prize is given biennially to honor a fiction writer who writes in English or whose work has been translated into English. This year’s judges were Nadeem Aslam, Elleke Boehmer, Edwin Frank, Wen-chin Ouyang, and Marina Warner. The finalists for the prize were César Aira, Hoda Barakat, Maryse Condé, Mia Couto, Amitav Ghosh, Fanny Howe, Ibrahim al-Koni, Alain Mabanckou, and Marlene van Niekerk.
“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,” said chair of judges Warner. “The Melancholy of Resistance, Sátántangó and Seiobo There Below are magnificent works of deep imagination and complex passions, in which the human comedy verges painfully onto transcendence.”
Born in Gyula, Hungary in 1954, Krasznahorkai has written almost a dozen novels and short story collections, and his works have been translated into German, Polish, French, Spanish, and other languages. New Directions has published English translations of five of his novels. Krasznahorkai is perhaps best known for his 1993 postmodern novel The Melancholy of Resistance, which won numerous literary prizes, including the German Bestenliste Prize and the Kossuth Prize, which is the highest award given in Hungary.
Sponsored by the London-based Man Group, the Man Booker International Prize was established in 2005 and “highlights one writer’s continued creativity, development, and overall contribution to fiction on the world stage.” The Man Group also administers the annual Man Booker Prize for Fiction. Recent winners of the Man Booker International Prize include Lydia Davis (2013), Philip Roth (2011), and Alice Munro (2009).