Amos Oz wins Kafka Prize – could the Nobel be next?

Amos Oz
Israeli writer Amos Oz has been named winner of the Franz Kafka Prize for Literature 2013.
(Attila Kisbenedek / AFP/Getty Images)

Israeli author Amos Oz has been named the recipient of the prestigious Franz Kafka Prize, selected by an international jury from a short list of 12 globally recognized writers.

The $10,000 prize, awarded by the Franz Kafka Society in the Czech Republic, recognizes an author’s entire body of work, and rewards those whose “work addresses readers regardless of their origin, nationality, and culture, like the work by Franz Kafka.” Their books must also have been translated into Czech.

Because of its international scope and recognition of a lifetime body of work, the prize could be seen as pointing the way to the winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature. The 2004 and 2005 Kafka winners -- Elfriede Jelinek and Harold Pinter, respectively -- did just that. Other recipients, including Haruki Murakami, Philip Roth and John Banville, have been considered Nobel contenders. Oz is the 13th laureate of the Kafka prize, which began in 2001.

Born in Jerusalem, Oz studied at Hebrew University there before publishing his first book of short stories in 1965. He has since published a new book almost every year, most recently the novel “Between Friends” and the nonfiction book “Jews and Words.” His work has been translated into more than 30 languages. 


With a recent tweet from the Swedish Academy announcing that the final five contenders for the next Nobel Prize in Literature had been selected, speculation about the shortlist has begun. Oz is again considered a candidate, as he’s rumored to have been for several years already. The British bookmaker Nicer Odds currently has him at +2,600, tied with Cormac McCarthy and Thomas Pynchon.

According to the Kafka Society, Oz and his wife will travel to Prague to receive his price, and a bronze statuette of Franz Kafka, at an award ceremony in October.


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