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20 May 2015

LISTEN: László Krasznahorkai’s acceptance speech for the 2015 Man Booker International Prize

"I'd like to thank Jimi Hendrix."

By New Statesman

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:

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