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French writer Pierre Michon receives Franz Kafka literary prize

Prague, Czech Republic – French author Pierre Michon was awarded the prestigious Franz Kafka literary prize during a ceremony held in Prague, on Tuesday.

Pierre Michon, most famously known for his 1984 novel ‘Small Lives’ (‘Vies minuscules‘), was nominated in June as the 19th recipient of the Franz Kafka Prize, one of the most prestigious literary awards in the Czech Republic given by the Franz Kafka Society in cooperation with municipal authorities from the Czech capital.

The goal of the award is to spotlight “artistically exceptional literary creation of contemporary authors” whose work and novels bear the mark of Prague-born writer Franz Kafka.

Michon’s latest book,  ‘Habiter une oeuvre‘, was published in France last year. His other notable novels include ‘Masters and Servants’ (1990), ‘Rimbaud the Son’ (1991), ‘The King of the Woods’ (1996) and ‘The Eleven’ (2009).

Michon, 74, is the second Frenchman to receive the award after Yves Bonnefoy in 2007.

Reacting to the news, he said: “What about this wonderful surprise? Thank you all from the bottom of my heart […] To tell you that to see me succeed to Vaclav Havel, Nadas, Jelinek, Handke and Magris, and especially to Roth and Yan Lianke, gives me a lot of pride, perhaps even vanity”.

Previous recipients of the award include world-famous writers and novelists like Philip Roth (2001), Ivan Klima (2002), Haruki Murakami (2006), Peter Handke (2009), Vaclav Havel (2010) and Margaret Atwood (2017).

Last year, poet, journalist and translator Ivan Wernisch became the fifth Czech national to receive the Franz Kafka Prize since the award’s inception in 2001.

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