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Canadian writer Atwood to receive Franz Kafka Prize in Prague

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Prague, May 29 (CTK) – Canadian writer and activist Margaret Atwood, 77, will be the laureate of the Franz Kafka Prize this year, an international jury has decided in Prague, the organisers from the Franz Kafka Society told CTK on Monday.

Atwood will personally take over the prize at an official ceremony in the Old Town Hall in Prague in October, the organisers said.

The jury annually awards a contemporary author whose literary work is exceptional in terms of its artistic quality and it can appeal to readers irrespective of their origin, nationality and culture, similar to the works by Prague-born German Jewish writer Kafka.

Atwood has written a number of short stories, novels, books of poetry, literary studies as well as books for children.

Her debut was novel The Edible Woman published in 1969. She won the prestigious Man Booker prize for her novel The Blind Assassin in 2000.

Her probably most famous book is dystopian novel The Handmaid’s Tale (1985) that was adapted into a film (1990), an opera (2000) and a TV series (2017).

Last year, Atwood received the PEN/Pinter Prize in Britain for the courage to promote the freedom of speech. She was primarily awarded for her involvement in environmental campaigns.

Atwood, born in Ottawa, visited Prague twice as a guest to the Writers’ Festival, last time in 2008.

Some of her books, novels and collections of short stories, have been translated into Czech.

The international Franz Kafka Prize for literature has been awarded by the Franz Kafka Society since 2001. This is the only international literary award annually presented in the Czech Republic.

Its winner receives a bronze statue, which is a small version of the Franz Kafka monument in Prague by artist Jaroslav Rona. The prize also carries $10,000.

The previous laureates are U.S. writer Philip Roth, Czech Ivan Klima, Hungarian Peter Nadas, Austrian writer Elfriede Jelinek and U.S. playwright Harold Pinter who both received the Nobel Prize for Literature, Jelinek in 2004 and Pinter in 2005, Japanese writer Haruki Murakami, French poet Yves Bonnefoy, Czech-Jewish author Arnost Lustig, Austrian playwright Peter Handke, Irish John Banville, Czech writer Daniela Hodrova, Israeli Amos Oz, Chinese writer Yan Lianke and Spanish Eduardo Mendoza.

Playwright, dissident and former Czech president Vaclav Havel received the award in 2010. Last year, the prize went to Italian Claudio Magris.

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