The Franz Kafka Prize

Award Profile:

The Kafka Prize is designed to honor writers whose works "appeal to readers regardless of their origin, nationality and culture." The award itself is named after one of the most famous novelists and short story writers of the early 20th century, Prague-based author Franz Kafka. Today, Kafka stories such as "The Metamorphosis", "The Judgment", and "A Hunger Artist" are widely-anthologized and widely-read, and Kafka's admirers include both non-specialist readers and professional critics.

Though Kafka's dark, ironic vision of society isn't shared by all the winners of the Franz Kafka Prize, the award honors the spirit of clear communication and literary craftsmanship that motivated much of Kafka's writing.

Today, the Kafka Prize is accompanied by a monetary award worth $10,000. The award is given out every year by Prague's Franz Kafka Society, and recognizes lifetime achievement in literature rather than a single book.

Notable Kafka Prize Winners:

The first recipient of the Kafka prize was American novelist Philip Roth, who garnered the award in 2001. Since then, the award has been granted to some of the most respected writers in world literature, including John Banville, Harold Pinter, and Haruki Murakami.

Though a prestigious honor in its own right, the Kafka Prize is also regarded as a stepping stone to older and more established literary awards. When Amos Oz won the 2013 Kafka Prize, the LA Times ran the headline "Amos Oz wins Kafka Prize—could the Nobel be next?" Yet there is no easy way to tell the relationship between the Kafka Prize and other awards.

Though Philip Roth has won both the Kafka Prize and the International Man Booker Prize, he is still considered a long shot for the Nobel Prize in Literature. And Kafka Prize-winner Haruki Murakami was long regarded as the favorite for the 2012 Nobel—though that year's award ultimately went to Chinese novelist Mo Yan.