Ngugi Wa Thiongo is this year’s winner of Korea’s Pak Kyong-ni Literature Award. The award worth 100 million won (89,300 U.S. dollars) is presented by the Toji Cultural Center, the Pak Kyong-ni Literature Award Committee, Gangwon Province, Wonju City and The Dong-A Ilbo.
The Pak Kyong-ni Literature Award was started in 2011 to honor the literary spirit and achievements made by the late Korean novelist Pak Kyong-ni (1926-2008). Pak was the author of the epic novel “Toji.”
The award was won by Choi In-hoon in the first year before being opened to entries from people who weren’t just Korean. With this move, the prize became Korea’s first international literary award. Since then the winners have been distinctly non-Korean with the honours list including Ludmila Ulitskaya of Russia, Marilynne Robinson of the U.S., Bernhard Schlink of Germany, and Amos Oz of Israel.
“Ngugi Wa Thiongo is a writer who distinctively reveals different angles of the lives of people undergoing the process of globalization,” the Toji Cultural Center and the Pak Kyong-ni Literature Award Review Committee said on Tuesday to explain the reason for selecting the writer. “He is considered to be a writer who complies with the purpose of the Pak Kyong-ni Literature Award.”
“The writer deeply and fiercely examined and agonized over situations where various boundaries including the West and the Non-West, and modernity and pre-modernity overlap, while dealing with the independence war of Kenya, which became a British colony, and social issues after its independence,” the review committee said, commenting on the Kenyan writer’s literary work.
This year’s Pak Kyong-ni Literature Award was sponsored by Kumho Asiana, Maronie Books, Yonsei University, and Milim Syscon. The award ceremony will take place at the Toji Cultural Center in Wonju, Gangwon Province at 4 p.m. on October 22 during the Pak Kyong-ni Literature Festival.
Written by: James Murua