Japanese children’s book author Nahoko Uehashi was named this year’s recipient of the 2014 Hans Christian Andersen Author Award for her contribution to children’s literature. This prestigious international award, named after one of the greatest children’s book writers of all time, is the highest accolade for this genre, probably comparable to the Nobel Prize.
Uehashi is well-known for her Kemono no Soja (“Beast player”) and Moribito (“Guardian”) series, both locally and internationally, with her work having been translated in other languages. The cultural anthropologist’s works speaks of themes like conflicts between ethnic groups and nations. She was informed by the Japanese Board on Books for Young People that she won the award and expressed her joy at the recognition given to her by an international award-giving body. “I have wanted my books to be read by both children and adults alike, so I am very happy to learn that my stories pulled at the heartstrings of readers overseas,” she said.
She is only the second Japanese recipient of the award, the first one being Michio Mado back in 1994. The Andersen Awards are given by the International Board on Books for Young People and each year, they choose one author and one illustrator to receive the accolade. Japan has also had two illustrator awardees, Suekichi Akaba and Mitsumasa Anno, in 1980 and 1984, respectively.
[ via Asahi Shimbun ]