• Kyodo


Novelist Masatsugu Ono has won the prestigious Akutagawa Prize for up-and-coming authors, while the Naoki Prize for popular fiction has gone to writer Kanako Nishi, the selection committee said Thursday.

Ono, a 44-year-old associate professor at Rikkyo University and a native of Oita Prefecture, won the 152nd prize for his work “9 Nen Mae no Inori” (“A Prayer Nine Years Ago”), which depicts the sentiment of a single mother who returns to her hometown with her little son after parting from a Canadian man.

Nishi, 37, who was born in Tehran and brought up in places including Osaka and Egypt, was awarded the prize for “Saraba!” (“Farewell!”), the story of a man born in Iran who suffers, recovers and grows while moving from Iran to Osaka, Egypt and Tokyo.

The awards will be presented at a ceremony in Tokyo in mid-February, with each author receiving ¥1 million in prize money.

The Akutagawa Prize was founded in 1935 in memory of renowned Japanese novelist Ryunosuke Akutagawa, while the Naoki award, also created in 1935, is named after popular writer Sanjugo Naoki.

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