The jury awarded the prize to the Japanese writer for “building a bridge between east and west”.
Artur Mas delivers the award to Haruki Murakami
The President of the Government of Catalonia, Artur Mas, has presented the twenty-third Premi Internacional Catalunya to the Japanese writer Haruki Murakami at a ceremony held in the Sant Jordi Hall at the Palau de la Generalitat. Mr Mas declared that “where a writer and a country’s literature excel most is in transforming reality, our day-to-day experience, into lasting dreams”. The President reminded listeners of the tribute paid to the Japanese people on Saint George’s Day this year to show solidarity with the victims of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan.
In his speech Haruki Murakami made various references to the earthquake his country had suffered and the tsunami which followed it. He announced that he would donate the monetary value of the award (80,000 euros) to victims of the earthquake and the accident at the Fukushima nuclear power plant. "I am profoundly grateful to the Catalan people and the Government of Catalonia for giving me this opportunity," he said.
The jury announced the winner on March 18, describing him as "an outstanding figure in world literature" who has "built a literary bridge between east and west, bringing the two worlds together: the levity of taoism and the assimilation of cultural trends and traditions from abroad".
The annual awards were introduced by the Government of Catalonia in 1989 and are intended to recognise the work of those who have contributed to developing cultural, scientific and human values around the world. The prize consists of 80,000 euros and the statue La clau i la lletra (The Key and the Letter) by Antoni Tàpies. Last year's winner was former US president Jimmy Carter.