The chair of judges interviews the winner of the £60,000 2015 Prize, who was announced on 19 May in London.
Born in 1954, László Krasznahorkai gained considerable recognition in 1985 when he published Satantango, which he later adapted for the cinema in collaboration with the filmmaker Bela Tarr. In 1993, he received the German Bestenliste Prize for the best literary work of the year for The Melancholy of Resistance and has since been honoured with numerous literary prizes, amongst them the highest award of the Hungarian state, the Kossuth Prize.
Krasznahorkai and his translator George Szirtes were longlisted for the 2013 Independent Foreign Fiction Prize for Satantango and Krasznahorkai has won the Best Translated Book Award in the US two years in a row, in 2013 for Satantango and in 2014 for Seiobo There Below. Seiobo There Below was published in the UK on 7 May by Tuskar Rock Press.
The judging panel for the 2015 Man Booker International Prize was chaired by celebrated writer and academic Marina Warner. The panel also comprised Wen-chin Ouyang, Professor of Arabic and Comparative Literature at SOAS, University of London; acclaimed author Nadeem Aslam; novelist and critic Elleke Boehmer, who is currently Professor of World Literature in English at Oxford University; and Edwin Frank, editorial director of the New York Review Books Classics.
The judges said of Krasznahorkai’s work: ‘In László Krasznahorkai’s The Melancholy of Resistance, a sinister circus has put a massive taxidermic specimen, a whole whale, Leviathan itself, on display in a country town. Violence soon erupts, and the book as a whole could be described as a vision, satirical and prophetic, of the dark historical province that goes by the name of Western Civilisation. Here, however, as throughout Krasznahorkai’s work, what strikes the reader above all are the extraordinary sentences, sentences of incredible length that go to incredible lengths, their tone switching from solemn to madcap to quizzical to desolate as they go their wayward way; epic sentences that, like a lint roll, pick up all sorts of odd and unexpected things as they accumulate inexorably into paragraphs that are as monumental as they are scabrous and musical.’
Announcing the winner, Marina Warner commented: ‘Laszlo Krasznahorkai is a visionary writer of extraordinary intensity and vocal range who captures the texture of present day existence in scenes that are terrifying, strange, appallingly comic, and often shatteringly beautiful. The Melancholy of Resistance, Satantango and Seiobo There Below are magnificent works of deep imagination and complex passions, in which the human comedy verges painfully onto transcendence. Krasznahorkai, who writes in Hungarian, has been superbly served by his translators, George Szirtes and Ottilie Mulzet.’
This year’s lecture is given by the Nobel Prize-winning economist, author of The Idea of Justice and Identity and Violence – The Illusion of Destiny. Chaired by Nik Gowing.
In this first of Hay Festival's 2014 sessions celebrating the 450th birthday of the playwright, the Renaissance scholar explores Shakespeare’s relationship with the Islamic world in the history plays and in his tragedies.
Third tribute in Segovia to Roberto Bolaño, the Chilean writer and poet who settled in Spain, by an outstanding trio. The facts speak for themselves: Juan Vicente Piqueras, recipient of the Loewe, Machado and José Hierro de Poesía awards; José Manuel Benítez Ariza, also novelist and columnist, as well as poet, with more than a dozen published books; and Jesús Aguado, winner of the Hiperion de Poesía award in 1990.
Co-organised and produced by AC/E (Acción Cultural Española)
Art is not always just for art’s sake: it has long been used as way of exploring, communicating and engaging people as well as bringing people together. Writers Mahfouz, Sheers and Brigstocke, and Cape Farewell director Buckland, discuss vision, ethics, imagination and integrity. They are joined by Mark Shorrock from the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon, who is unveiling the first of two international art commissions.
The winner of the 2014 Wellcome Book Prize introduces his wise and compassionate book Far From The Tree: A Dozen Kinds of Love. Ten years in the writing, it tells the stories of parents who not only learn to deal with their exceptional children but also find profound meaning in doing so. Chaired by Hay Festival President Stephen Fry.
Cloudy with a chance of compost – forecasting the circular economy with the New Weather Institute. Author and campaigner Andrew Simms talks to author and journalist David Boyle and Carl Nichols, Head of WRAP Cymru.
What does it take to start a small rural business? Discover how to turn talent into turnover with advice from three successful entrepreneurs: Business Manager at Women in Rural Enterprise (WiRE) Fiona Davies, home textile designer Jan Constantine and Hay’s own Athene English of The Great English Outdoors.
Our healthcare system has been one of the bedrocks of British identity since its introduction by Aneurin Bevan in 1948. It employs 1.2 million people and treats one million people every 36 hours in England alone. It is free at the point of delivery to all UK residents. The Consultant Neurologist proposes reforms for a sustainable future. O’Sullivan’s book Is It All in Your Head? True Stories of Imaginary Illness won the 2016 Wellcome Book Prize. Chaired by Julian Huppert.
The iconoclastic writer and director of the classic Withnail & I returns to London in a decade-long examination of the most provocative murder investigation in British history. He finally solves the identity of the killer known as Jack the Ripper.
Paris at the time of the French Revolution was the world capital of science. Its scholars laid the foundations of today’s physics, chemistry and biology. They were true revolutionaries, agents of an upheaval both of understanding and of politics. The Eiffel Tower, built to celebrate the Revolution’s centennial, saw the world’s first wind tunnel, first radio message and first observation of cosmic rays. Perhaps the greatest Revolutionary scientist of all, Antoine Lavoisier founded modern chemistry and physiology, transformed French farming, and hugely improved the manufacture of gunpowder. His political activities brought him a fortune, but in the end led to his execution. The judge who sentenced him claimed that “the Revolution has no need for geniuses”. Chaired by Dan Davis.
WINNER OF THE 2014 BOLLINGER EVERYMAN WODEHOUSE AWARD FOR COMIC FICTION
A fabulous comedy from the bestselling author of the Patrick Melrose novels, who presents a wickedly entertaining insight into a sniping world of literature, celebrity culture and ambition, explored through the judges and contenders of the Elysian Prize for Literature.