May 19, 2015 / 8:59 PM / 5 years ago

Hungary's Krasznahorkai wins Man Booker International Prize

BUDAPEST (Reuters) - Hungarian writer Laszlo Krasznahorkai has won the Man Booker International Prize for what the judges said were “magnificent works of deep imagination and complex passions, in which the human comedy verges painfully onto transcendence”.

Krasznahorkai, 61, won the prestigious 60,000-pound ($90,000) prize for works that include “The Melancholy of Resistance”, “Seiobo There Below” and “Satantango” and was chosen from among ten contenders.

“Laszlo Krasznahorkai is a visionary writer of extraordinary intensity and vocal range,” writer and academic Marina Warner, who chaired the panel, said as she announced the winner at an award ceremony in London on Tuesday.

He creates scenes that are “terrifying, strange, appallingly comic, and often shatteringly beautiful”, she said, noting that Krasznahorkai was “superbly served” by his translators, George Szirtes and Ottilie Mulzet.

Krasznahorkai gained recognition in 1985 when he published “Satantango”, which he later adapted for a 1994 film with Hungarian filmmaker Bela Tarr, an seven-hour-plus epic about the decline of communism in Eastern Europe shot in black and white.

“I seriously reckon that there is a very advanced sphere of literature, high literature so to speak, that serves as a force against decay,” Krasznahorkai told Hungarian daily newspaper Nepszabadsag in a May 13 interview.

The Man Booker International Prize 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.

Irish novelist Colm Tóibín said in 2010, “For him, the sentence is an act of pure performance – a tense high-wire act, a piece of grave and ambitious vaudeville performed with energy both comic and ironic.”

“Prose for him is a complex vehicle moving through a world both real and surreal with considerable precision and sharpness,” he said, according to Krasznahorkai’s website.

In 1993, Krasznahorkai received the German Bestenliste Prize for the best literary work of the year for “The Melancholy of Resistance” and is also the recipient of Hungary’s highest literary award - the Kossuth Prize.

Editing by Louise Ireland

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