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Austrian writer Christoph Ransmayr wins 12th Pak Kyongni Prize

By Hwang Dong-hee

Published : Sept. 22, 2023 - 16:03

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Christoph Ransmayr (Toji Cultural Foundation) Christoph Ransmayr (Toji Cultural Foundation)

Austrian writer Christoph Ransmayr has been selected as the recipient of the 12th Pak Kyongni Prize, the award’s organizers said Wednesday.

This year, a total of 37 nominees were chosen through four rounds of preliminary screening from among 234 novelists from around the world. In June, four writers -- Ransmayr, Cormac McCarthy, Margaret Atwood and Antonio Lobo Antunes -- were nominated as the finalists.

The 69-year-old Austrian writer won global recognition with his novel “The Last World” (1988), a rewrite of the Roman poet Ovid’s "Metamorphoses," winning major European literary awards

Other major works include “The Terrors of Ice and Darkness” inspired by sketches and records of the North Pole expedition, “The Flying Mountain,” “The Dog King“ and “Atlas of an Anxious Man.”

The annual award is an international literary award based in South Korea, established in 2011 to honor the literary legacy of novelist Pak Kyong-ni (1926-2008), renowned for her epic saga “Toji (The Land).” The 16-volume series tells the story of five generations of a wealthy Korean family from South Gyeongsang Province, through the end of the Joseon Dynasty, Japanese occupation and independence. Pak wrote the story from 1969 to 1994.

Pak Kyongni Prize aims to recognize novelists worldwide who have significantly influenced the course of literature while preserving its intrinsic value, according to the Toji Cultural Foundation.

The prize comes with a certificate of merit, a plaque and a cash prize of 100 million won ($76,400).

The 12th Pak Kyongni Prize is co-hosted by the Toji Cultural Foundation and Wonju City.

Previous recipients include inaugural winner Choi In-hoon, author of “The Plaza,” Bernhard Schlink from Germany, Amos Oz from Israel, Ngugi wa Thiong'o from Kenya, Richard Ford from the US, Ismail Kadare from Albania and Yun Heung-gil from Korea. Last year, Lebanese-French writer Amin Malouf received the award.

The awards ceremony will be held in Seoul on Nov. 2.