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2015 Man Booker International Prize Questionnaire: László Krasznahorkai

By Eric M. B. Becker

László Krasznahorkai was born in 1954. He 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 Foreig 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 Down Below, both published by New Directions.

Words without Borders: For those who will read you in the English translation, what advice would you give?

László Krasznahorkai: There isn't any special advice, just maybe this one: if you feel you need some advice to read my books, please, don't read them. I don't believe in books which readers need to be told how to read.

WWB: Could you talk about the writers who influenced you?

LK: Without Franz Kafka, I wouldn't have become a writer; without Homer and Dante, I couldn't enjoy any literary work; without Samuel Beckett and Thomas Bernhard, I would never have had the feeling that a writer must break with the habit of writing as soon as possible.

WWB: What writers would you recommend English-language readers should pay attention to? 

LK: Kafka, Homer, Dante, Beckett and Bernhard, again and again.


YOU MAY ALSO LIKE: László Krasznahorkai's "El último Lobo" (WWB's August 2009 Issue)

More interviews with 2015 Man Booker International Prize finalists

Published May 13, 2015   Copyright 2015 Eric M. B. Becker

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