Killing Commendatore (Murakami) - Author Bio

Author Bio
Birth—January 12, 1949
Where—Kyoto, Japan
Education—Waseda University
Awards—(see below)
Currently—lives near Tokyo

Haruki Murakami is a contemporary Japanese writer. Murakami has been translated into 50 languages and his best-selling books have sold millions of copies.

His works of fiction and non-fiction have garnered critical acclaim and numerous awards, both in Japan and internationally, including the World Fantasy Award (2006) and the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award (2006), while his oeuvre garnered among others the Franz Kafka Prize (2006) and the Jerusalem Prize (2009). Murakami's most notable works include A Wild Sheep Chase (1982), Norwegian Wood (1987), The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle (1994-1995), Kafka on the Shore (2002), and 1Q84 (2009–2010). He has also translated a number of English works into Japanese, from Raymond Carver to J. D. Salinger.

Murakami's fiction, often criticized by Japan's literary establishment as un-Japanese, was influenced by Western writers from Chandler to Vonnegut by way of Brautigan. It is frequently surrealistic and melancholic or fatalistic, marked by a Kafkaesque rendition of the recurrent themes of alienation and loneliness he weaves into his narratives. He is also considered an important figure in postmodern literature. Steven Poole of The Guardian praised Murakami as "among the world's greatest living novelists" for his works and achievement.

In recent years, Haruki Murakami has often been mentioned as a possible recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature. Nonetheless, since all nomination records are sealed for 50 years from the awarding of the prize, it is pure speculation. When asked about the possibility of being awarded the Nobel Prize, Murakami responded with a laugh saying "No, I don't want prizes. That means you're finished.

Recognition / Awards
1982 - Noma Literary Prize for A Wild Sheep Chase.
1985 - Tanizaki Prize for Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World.
1995 - Yomiuri Prize for The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle.
2006 - World Fantasy Award for Kafka on the Shore.
2006 - Franz Kafka Prize
2007 - Kiriyama Prize for Fiction
2007 - honorary doctorate, University of Liege
2008 - honorary doctorate, Princeton University
2009 - Jerusalem Prize
2011 - International Catalunya Prize
2014 - honorary doctorate, Tufts University

The Jerusalam Award is presented a biennially to writers whose work deals with themes of human freedom, society, politics, and government. When Murakami won the award in 2009, protests erupted in Japan and elsewhere against his attending the award ceremony in Israel, including threats to boycott his work as a response against Israel's recent bombing of Gaza. Murakami chose to attend the ceremony, but gave a speech to the gathered Israeli dignitaries harshly criticizing Israeli policies. Murakami said, "Each of us possesses a tangible living soul. The system has no such thing. We must not allow the system to exploit us."

Murakami donated his €80,000 winnings from the Generalitat of Catalunya (won in 2011) to the victims of the earthquake and tsunami, and to those affected by the Fukushima nuclear disaster. Accepting the award, he said in his speech that the situation at the Fukushima plant was "the second major nuclear disaster that the Japanese people have experienced... however, this time it was not a bomb being dropped upon us, but a mistake committed by our very own hands." According to Murakami, the Japanese people should have rejected nuclear power after having "learned through the sacrifice of the hibakusha just how badly radiation leaves scars on the world and human wellbeing." (Adapted from Wikipedia. Retrieved 8/19/2014.)

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