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Haruki Murakami takes his name out of the running for alternative literature Nobel

Haruki Murakami takes his name out of the running for alternative literature Nobel
Japanese author Haruki Murakami has said said he doesn't want to be considered for the New Academy Prize, a Swedish literary award established as an alternative to the Nobel Prize for literature. (Ole Jensen / Corbis)

This year there won’t be any Nobel Prize in literature, and Japanese author Haruki Murakami wants to make sure he’s not in the running for its alternate, for which he’d been named a finalist.

Murakami said he doesn't want to be considered for the New Academy Prize, a Swedish literary award established as an alternative to the Nobel Prize for literature, the Guardian reports.

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Murakami was one of four writers on the shortlist for the New Academy prize, which was created by Swedish literary figures to fill in the gap left by the absent Nobel Prize in literature this year. In May, the Swedish Academy announced it would not be awarding the Nobel Prize for literature this year following a sexual abuse scandal involving the husband of an academy member.

On Saturday, the New Academy wrote on Facebook that Murakami called his nomination for the award "a great honor," but reported that the novelist said "his preference is to concentrate on his writing, away from media attention, and asked that his nomination be withdrawn.” The Japanese author concluded by wishing the New Academy success with the prize.

That leaves three nominees for the award: English novelist Neil Gaiman, Canadian novelist Kim Thúy and Guadeloupean-French author and scholar Maryse Condé.

Murakami is one of Japan's most popular authors, both in his home country and abroad. Known for books including “The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle,” "Norwegian Wood," "Kafka on the Shore" and “1Q84,” his latest novel, “Killing Commendatore," is scheduled for publication in the United States in October.

Murakami is often mentioned as a possible winner of the Nobel Prize for literature, although he has said he's not interested in that honor, telling the New Yorker in 2012, "No, I don't want prizes. That means you're finished." He’ll appear at the New Yorker Festival in October in conversation with the magazine’s fiction editor, Deborah Treisman; the event is sold out.

The New Academy consists of more than 100 Swedish cultural figures and was founded by Swedish journalist Alexandra Pascalidou. According to its website, it was established "to warrant that an international literary prize will be awarded in 2018, but also as a reminder that literature should be associated with democracy, openness, empathy and respect.”

The New Academy will announce the winner of the New Prize in Literature on Oct. 12 and hold a ceremony to honor the author in December — after which it will dissolve itself.

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