László Krasznahorkai accepts the 2015 Man Booker International Prize. Photo:Getty/Stuart C Wilson
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LISTEN: László Krasznahorkai's acceptance speech for the 2015 Man Booker International Prize

"I'd like to thank Jimi Hendrix."

László Krasznahorkai, the acclaimed Hungarian novelist and screenwriter, gave an extraordianry speech last night after winning the 2015 Man Booker International Prize. He told the audience at the award ceremony at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London:

Ladies and gentlemen, this is a big surprise for me. But sure as sure, I have written something. [Laughter] Because my English is not so good, and I cannot improvise. Ladies and gentlemen thank you, thank you jury, and my thanks to you - the reader. 

The list of thanks that follows is strange, witty and heartfelt, including:

To Max Sebald, the marvellous writer and friend, who is no longer among the ranks of the living, as he gazed for too long at one single blade of grass in the meadow.

You can listen to his full speech below:

 

Krasznahorkai gave similarly enigmatic answers to the press after the awards:

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Cabinet audit: what does the appointment of Karen Bradley as Culture Secretary mean for policy?

The political and policy-based implications of the new Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport.

The most politically charged of the culture minister's responsibilities is overseeing the BBC, and to anyone who works for - or simply loves - the national broadcaster, Karen Bradley has one big point in her favour. She is not John Whittingdale. Her predecessor as culture secretary was notorious for his belief that the BBC was a wasteful, over-mighty organisation which needed to be curbed. And he would have had ample opportunity to do this: the BBC's Charter is due for renewal next year, and the licence fee is only fixed until 2017. 

In her previous job at the Home Office, Karen Bradley gained a reputation as a calm, low-key minister. It now seems likely that the charter renewal will be accomplished with fewer frothing editorials about "BBC bias" and more attention to the challenges facing the organisation as viewing patterns fragment and increasing numbers of viewers move online.

Of the rest of the job, the tourism part just got easier: with the pound so weak, it will be easier to attract visitors to Britain from abroad. And as for press regulation, there is no word strong enough to describe how long the grass is into which it has been kicked.

Helen Lewis is deputy editor of the New Statesman. She has presented BBC Radio 4’s Week in Westminster and is a regular panellist on BBC1’s Sunday Politics.