Atwood receives Franz Kafka Prize in Prague


Prague, Oct 17 (CTK) – Canadian writer and activist Margaret Atwood, 77, expressed her great admiration for writer Franz Kafka when she received the international prize bearing his name at the Old Town Hall in Prague on Tuesday.

This Prague-born German Jewish writer, who formed the modern novel and short story, was her first literary love, she said.

The Franz Kafka Prize is the only international literary award presented in the Czech Republic.

This year’s laureate, Atwood, has written a number of short stories, novels, books of poetry, literary studies as well as books for children.

Her debut was The Edible Woman, a novel 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 in 1990, an opera in 2000 and a TV series in 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 were translated into Czech.

The Franz Kafka Society has annually bestowed its prize since 2001 on contemporary authors whose literary works are exceptional in terms of artistic quality and can appeal to readers irrespective of their origin, nationality and culture, similar to the works by Kafka (1883-1924).

The 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 prize in 2010. Last year, it went to Italian Claudio Magris.