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John Banville wins Franz Kafka Prize

27th May 2011

Irish author John Banville has been named winner of the 2011 Franz Kafka Prize for his contribution to international literature.

The prize, launched in 2001, is given each year to a writer whose work displays 'humanistic character and contribution to cultural, national, language and religious tolerance'.

Banville, who won the Man Booker Prize for The Sea in 2005, said he was 'proud, pleased and honoured' to win the prize, despite being considered a rank outsider for this year's award.

The 65-year-old author will now be considered a strong contender for the Nobel Prize for Literature, but told the Guardian the USD 10,000 (GBP 6,000) and bronze statuette of the Kafka monument in Prague he has been given for the winning the Franz Kafka Prize will suffice.

'The majority of people who've won it didn't win the Nobel, such as Philip Roth and Haruki Murakami. But hold on, the other phone's ringing, it must be Stockholm,' he added.

Banville follows in the footsteps of Czech playwright and poet Vaclav Havel, who was awarded the prize last year in recognition of his 60-year contribution to international literature. 

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