Murakami joins ranks of Rowling, Rushdie in winning Danish literary prize

AFP-JIJI, JIJI

Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami has won Denmark’s top literary award, the Hans Christian Andersen Literature Award, following in the footsteps of such writers as J.K. Rowling and Salman Rushdie.

The award, named after Denmark’s famous fairy tale creator, comes with a check for 500,000 kroner ($71,400). It is unrelated to the Hans Christian Andersen Award, another international recognition given to authors and illustrators of children’s books.

In a decision announced Tuesday, the jury honored Murakami’s “bold mix of classic narrative, pop culture, Japanese tradition, dreamlike realism and philosophical debate.”

The 66-year-old, whose books have sold in the millions, has a cult following for his intricately crafted tales of the absurdity and loneliness of modern life, and peppers his work with references to pop culture.

With works including “Kafka on the Shore” and “Norwegian Wood,” he has repeatedly been tipped as a future Nobel laureate and has already received a number of other awards, including the Franz Kafka prize in 2006.

The prize-giving ceremony is scheduled to take place in Odense, Andersen’s hometown, October next year.

It has previously been awarded to Paolo Coelho in 2007, J.K. Rowling in 2010, Isabel Allende in 2012 and Salman Rushdie in 2014.