Top Japanese author Haruki Murakami wins Princess of Asturias literature award in Spain

BESTSELLING Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami has won this year’s Princess of Asturias Award for literature.

The Princess of Asturias Award jury praised the ‘uniqueness’ of the 72-year-old Kyoto-born writer’s essays, short stories and novels, which have been translated into more than 40 languages and sold millions of copies.

The €50,000 award is one of eight prizes covering the arts, communication, science, and other areas that are handed out annually by the Asturias foundation in an awards ceremony every October in Oviedo.

The jury highlighted Murakami’s ‘ability to reconcile Japanese tradition and the legacy of Western culture in an ambitious and innovative narrative’.

It said his work expressed some of the great themes and conflicts of our time, including ‘loneliness, existential uncertainty, dehumanisation in big cities and terrorism’.

Murakami has written several dozen books and has also translated works by authors such as Raymond Carver, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Truman Capote, J. D. Salinger and John Irving.

One of his first major successes was with ‘Norwegian Wood’ in 1987, which sold more than 10 million copies and was translated in some 35 languages.

Other major novels include ‘Kafka on the Shore’, ‘IQ84’ and ‘After Dark’.

His short story, ‘Drive My Car’ inspired Japanese director Ryusuke Hamaguchi’s Oscar-winning film of the same name.

Murakami was chosen from among 37 candidates of varying nationalities with previous winners including Ireland`s John Banville and U.S. writer Richard Ford.

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