Criteria: The prize is presented for the entire work so far of the living author, with at least two of the author’s work translated into the Czech language.
Nomination of the prize is accorded exclusively to the international jury, from the sphere of literary science and history.
The basic criterion is the quality and exclusivity of the artwork, its humanistic character and contribution to cultural, national, language and religious tolerance, its existential, timeless character, its generally human validity and its ability to hand over a testimony about our times.
It does seem a little odd that an award would be set up representing an author who in so vehemently hating his own work he wanted them to be burnt upon his death. I cannot help but wonder what Mr Kafka, no question one of the most important German language writers to date, would think of his namesake prize.
And so the thirteenth and newest laureate of the international literary award then, as we found out at the end of May, is the Israeli writer Amos Oz. Regarded as one of Israel’s most prominent writers, intellectuals and journalists, he is a well deserved recipient of the Franz Kafka Prize. People unfamiliar with him may be surprised to find out how prolific he indeed is, having been published in some 41 languages, and publishing almost a new book or essay collection every few years since 1965.
The Franz Kafka Prize will be yet another trophy to add to his already astounding collection of awards, some of which include: the Legion of Honour, the Goethe Prize, the Israel Prize, the Ovid Prize and the Primo Levi Prize. His most famous work is his brilliant semi-autobiographical work, A Tale of Love and Darkness. The 41st-greatest Israeli of all time has no doubt cemented his literary legacy as one of the strongest contemporary writers in Europe – and one cannot help but wonder if Stockholm are taking note.
The Kafka prize has gathered quite a lot of literary prestige in recent years, no thanks to their ‘Nobel bingo’ of 2004, 2005 where their awarding of the prize, to Elfriede Jelinek and Harold Pinter, foreshadowed the Nobel prize winners in those same years. Although that may not seem impressive statistically, it is quite a feat when you look at it. Further investigation into the award’s laureates have revealed a consistently high standard including writers who have long been in the, supposed, Nobel-running: Peter Nadas, Phillip Roth and Haruki Murakami as examples. The mission of the prize has always been to ‘evaluate the artistically exceptional literary creation of contemporary authors’ – a mission that has largely been fulfilled with each successive award since 2001.
Besides a monetary reward of $10,000 and a diploma, Oz will also receive a bronze statuette – modelled on the Franz Kafka monument in Prague, sculpted by Jaroslav Róna. The prize ceremony will take place in the Prague Old Town Hall’s Brožik Hall, near the end of October, coinciding with the Czech State Holiday.
Dates of first published are listed, regardless of reprint or cover-edition