(born November 9, 1929)
Received this year's Nobel Prize for Literature.
October 10, 2002, the Swedish Royal Academy announced in Stockholm
that this year's Nobel Prize for Literature will be awarded to Imre
Kertész. The committee awarding the world's highest recognition
in literature has decided for the first time for a Hungarian author
to receive the Nobel Prize.
The prize will be received on December 10, 2002, at the celebration
held on the anniversary of Alfred Nobel's death, in keeping with
Imre Kertész was born in Budapest on November 9th, 1929. He was
at Auschwitz at the age of 14. In 1948 he graduated from high school
in Budapest. Between 1948 and 1950 he worked for the newspapers
"Világosság", then "Esti Budapest", in 1951 he was a factory worker,
and since 1953 he has been a freelance writer and translator.
His first novel, Sorstalanság (Fateless 1992) was published in
1975 after several years of waiting, and it eventually enjoyed great
success. The hero of the novel is an adolescent boy who became a
man through his horrible experiences in the Nazis' death camp. Kaddis
a meg nem született gyermekért (Kaddish for a Child not Born, 1990)
is both the continuation of and the answer to his first novel, as
the main character chooses a childless and thus finished fate. The
writer's main theme is the twentieth century's horrific history,
hate, genocide, and the inhumanity living within man's soul.
"Imre Kertész's work explores the question of whether individual
existence and thought are possible in an age when people live virtually
completely at the mercy of the political powers", reasoned the Academy.
"For Kertész, Auschwitz is not an accidental, exceptional event,
but rather the final and logical phase of that humiliation and destruction
into which the modern world casts human beings", the Academy continued.
The 72 year old Hungarian author, Imre Kertész, is one whose work,
especially Sorstalanság (Fateless), is also widely known abroad.
According to the Swedish Royal Academy's explanation, the prize
is being given for literary work "which is the advocate of the individual's
vulnerable experience in the face of history's barbarian tyranny".
His works include:
A nyomkereső (1977),
Kaddis a meg nem született gyermekért (1990),
(Kaddish for a Child not Born)
Az angol lobogó (1991),
("The English flag"),
A holocaust mint kultúra (1993),
("The Holocaust as Culture"),
Valaki más: a változás krónikája (1997),
("I - Another: chronicle of a metamorphosis"),
A gondolatnyi csend, amíg a kivégzőosztag újratölt (1998),
("Moments of silence while the execution squad reloads"),
His works have been translated into several languages. He himself
translates from German into Hungarian, and he has translated the
works of Freud, Hoffmannstahl, Nietzsche, and Wittgenstein, among
others, into Hungarian. In 1983 he received the Füst Milán Prize,
in 1989 the József Attila Prize, in 1992 the Soros Lifetime Achievement
Award, and in 1996 he was awarded the Márai Award. In 1997 he was
honored with the Kossuth Award. In 1995 he received the Brandenburg
Literature Award, and in 1997 he received the grand award at the
Leipzig Book Fair, primarily for his work entitled Sorstalanság.
In 1997 he received the German Linguistic and Poetic Academy's
highest award, the Friedrich Gundolf Award, for his contribution
to spreading German culture abroad. In May of 2000 he was honored
with the Herder Award, and in November of that year he was awarded
a literary award by "Die Welt", a national German weekly paper.
In 2001 he became a member of the German honor society (Pour le
Mérite), which is the highest honor an artist can be given in Germany.
And on October 9th he was honored for his life's work with the Hans
Imre Kertész feels that it is an enormous honor to be the first
Hungarian writer to receive the Nobel Prize for literature.