Amos Oz – the New Laureate of the Franz Kafka Prize
On Tuesday, 21 May 2013, at its meeting at the headquarters of the Franz Kafka Society, the international expert jury selected the thirteenth laureate of the literary Franz Kafka Prize, namely the Israeli writer Amos Oz (Born in Jerusalem in 1939). As he informed the FKS, Amos Oz is proud and at the same time honoured that he could join his outstanding predecessors.
The international literary Franz Kafka Prize has been awarded by the Franz Kafka Society since 2001. Its laureates so far include Philip Roth, Ivan Klíma, Péter Nádas, Elfriede Jelinek, Harold Pinter, Haruki Murakami, Yves Bonnefoy, Arnošt Lustig, Peter Handke, Václav Havel, John Banville, and last year the award was accepted by Daniela Hodrová.
This year, the jury included Petr Demetz, André Derval, Marianne Gruber, Oldřich Král, Kurt Krolop, Marcel Reich-Ranicki, Lorenzo Silva, Jiří Stránský and Hans Dieter Zimmermann.They chose between twelve globally recognised figures of the contemporary literary world.
Amos Oz is a leading Israeli writer, novelist and journalist. He is a professor of literature at Ben-Gurion University in Beersheba. Having graduated from a secondary school, he lived in a kibbutz for some time; in the 1950s, he served in the Israel Defence Forces. After that, he studied philosophy and literature at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. In 1965, his first collection of short stories (Artsot ha-tan, in English Where the Jackals Howl) was published; since then, he has published a new book almost every year. Czech translations of his works include: the novel in letters Černá skříňka (1993; Black Box; in the Hebrew original Kufsa Shehora, 1987), a collection of essays and newspaper columns Mír láska a kompromis (1997; Israel, Palestine and Peace), the novel Fima (1998; Fima; Ha-matsav ha-shlishi, 1991), a story for adolescent readers Panter ve sklepě (1999; Panther in the Basement; Panter ba-martef, 1995), two novellas Až do smrti (2002; Unto Death; Ad Mavet, 1971), the novel Můj Michael (2005; My Michael; Mikhael sheli, 1968), the essays Jak vyléčit fanatika (2006; Help Us to Divorce) and the autobiographical prose Příběh o lásce a tmě (2009; A Tale of Love and Darkness; Sipur al ahava ve-hosheh). The extensive literary and journalistic work of Amos Oz has been translated into more than thirty languages; he is considered as one of the most prominent Israeli writers and intellectuals.
At the end of October, Amos Oz and his wife will come to Prague to attend the traditional ceremony in Brožík Hall of Old Town Hall, where the laureate will receive inter alia the main symbol of the prize – a bronze statuette of Franz Kafka by the sculptor Jaroslav Róna.
The partner of the Franz Kafka Society in organising the Franz Kafka Prize is the Capital City of Prague; the award ceremony regularly takes place under the patronage of the President of the Senate of the Parliament of the Czech Republic and the Lord Mayor of the Capital City of Prague. Its mission is to award artistically exceptional literary production of a contemporary author whose work addresses readers regardless of their origin, nationality and culture, like the work by Franz Kafka, one of the greatest authors of modern world literature. The Prize is presented for the entire work so far of the author, with at least two of the author’s books having to have been translated into Czech.