Frank O'Connor short story award goes to Japanese author


A Japanese author has won the world's biggest short story prize, scooping €35,000 for his latest collection at a ceremony in Millennium Hall, in Cork, last night. Haruki Murakami was presented with the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award for his recently published volume of stories Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman.

Better-known as a novelist, Murakami was born in Kyoto in 1949 and now lives near Tokyo. His work has been translated into 38 languages.

He achieved worldwide recognition with his novel Norwegian Wood, and has had success with fantastical fables such as the Wind Up Bird Chronicle.

Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman is his third collection of short stories to be published in English. It brings together 35 stories written over three decades and contains the full menagerie of Murakami motifs: cats, ghosts, a monkey who steals people's names, and a great deal of spaghetti.

Murakami was chosen as winner by a five-member jury chaired by writer Tom McCarthy, who was programme director of Cork 2005.

The jury also included Irish writer Claire Keegan, English author Toby Litt, German poet and author Silke Scheuermann and American literature scholar Dr Maurice A Lee.

The jury described Murakami as a "master craftsman of prose fiction". Murakami's translator, Jay Rubin, collected the award on his behalf.

The other authors shortlisted were Irish writer Philip Ó Ceallaigh; American author Rachel Sherman; Swiss novelist Peter Stamm; novelist and Whitbread winner Rose Tremain; and Nepali-born, US-based writer Samrat Upadhyay.