Kafkaesque award hijinks ongoing

You cannot make this stuff up. It requires multiple Kafka organizations, Kazakh embassy press services and lazy, incompetent journalists to create the right effect.

Less than a month ago I wrote about the shadowy European “Franz Kafka” Circle Prague, which seems to award its Franz Kafka Medal just before the internationally renowned Franz Kafka Society gives its annual prize hoping to ride the coattails of misunderstanding.

Apparently, it also awards its medals in the immediate aftermath of the Kafka Prize presentation as well. John Banville was probably in a taxi on the way to  the airport when it was announced that three Kazakh writers have become the Kafka Medal’s latest recipients

And what’s worse is that in the Kazakh press reports (in English, at least) this has been accompanied with a summary and even photo of the Franz Kafka Society – i.e. an organization they have nothing to do with.

If it were the first time it could be labeled an honest mistake, but it is not. The Wikipedia page of Prague-based Ukrainian purveyor of kitsch paintings Alexandr Onishenko states that he won the Franz Kafka Prize, and even has a link to the prize’s Wikipedia page that plainly indicates that he did not win it, nor could he have since it is a literary award. But he, like many, many others has actually won a Franz Kafka Medal.

In related news, John Banville gave a very interesting talk at the Franz Kafka Society that I will post something on shortly.

Photos – 1) A sculpture of you know who from the Franz Kafka Society HQ 2) Kafka’s actual library, which was given to the Franz Kafka Society by Porsche. I wonder how they got his books in the first place. Did he bequeath his manuscripts to Max Brod (to burn) but his books to Porsche? Is there a diary entry where Kafka laments that he will never let loose on the Autobahn in a black 944?

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Categories: Literary Controversy


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  1. Franz Kafka Prize goes to Czech writer Daniela Hodrová | literalab - 25/05/2012

    […] And one important note – this is the real Franz Kafka Prize, awarded annually to writers, as opposed to the “we’re trying to pass ourselves off as a prestigious literary prize” Franz Kafka Medal that I first wrote about here (Kafka awards multiplying like cockroaches) and again here (Kafkaesque award hijinks ongoing). […]

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